A regional chapter of a national reproductive-rights group gives Iowa a fair grade for ensuring woman can make choices about their fertility and childbearing. Brenda Kole, regional organizer for “NARAL Pro-Choice America,” says the report “grades” each on the status of reproductive rights, and summarizes laws that deal wtih women’s health and reproductive choices. This is the 14th annual state-by-state report NARAL’s done on the status of women’s reproductive rights. Rather than data on birth-control use and abortions, Kole says the group uses information at hand. She says they look at existing as well as proposed laws regarding reproductive choice in the state, the makeup of state legislatures, and the executives like governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. The group’s expanded its focus decades after it originally formed to advocate making abortion legal, before the Supreme Court’s Roe versus Wade decision. She says it was to promote policies that make abortion less necessary, saying “We believe that abortion should be safe, that it should be legal — but it should be rare.” She says that’s why access to information, accurate sex-ed and birth control are also priorities of NARAL today. One factor considered in ranking the states is the distance a woman must travel to get medical care that includes birth control or abortion. Kole says women who live in Des Moines, Iowa City or Cedar Rapids have relatively easy access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood, the Emma Goldman Clinic or other women’s health centers, but women in Kossuth County, for example, or northwestern Iowa can have a tough time finding such health services. Kole says in a small rural community a woman may feel she has to go out of town for care to protect her privacy from gossip. Iowa’s grade improved slightly this year to a “C” although nationally states averaged a D-minus in the review by the group. To see the report and other information surf to www.prochoiceamerica.org/whodecides