Planned Parenthood of the Heartland officials and supporters of the organization delivered petitions with more than 8,000 signatures to Republican leaders in the legislature today.
The activists are urging legislators to table a bill that would ban most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. A separate still-expected proposal would cut off state funding of family planning and cancer screenings Planned Parenthood provides Iowa Medicaid patients.
Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa, spoke during a statehouse rally.
“We’re here today because in this year’s legislative session we have seen an unprecedented level of attacks against reproductive and sexual health here in Iowa,” de Baca said.
According to de Baca, taxpayers say $7 for every $1 invested in the Iowa Family Planning Network. Planned Parenthood is the primary network provider currently and de Baca said Medicaid patients who use the service get contraceptives and avoid unintended pregnancies.
“I want to say thank you to all our supporters and to those elected officials who have continued to show up, to speak out and to fight back against lawmakers bent on turning back the clock on reproductive health care in Iowa,” de Baca said, to applause from the rally crowd, many of whom were wearing pink.
The Planned Parenthood petitions were delivered to the offices of the top two Republicans in the legislature. Neither met with the activists and neither offered a comment in response to the petitions. Republican supporters of the move to “defund” Planned Parenthood say other health care clinics can provide prescriptions for contraceptives and conduct reproductive health screenings for Medicaid patients.
Earlier today, The Family Leader hosted a religious service in the capitol rotunda.
Bob Vander Plaats, the group’s president and CEO, said it was “an opportunity” during Christianity’s “Holy Week…for us to bless the staff and elected officials serving us at our State Capitol.”