Activists protest outside of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s Rosenfield Clinic in Des Moines, IA.
Photo credit: Shane Vander Hart
Activists protest outside of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s Rosenfield Clinic in Des Moines, IA.
Photo credit: Shane Vander Hart

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced on Wednesday that they closed their clinic located in Bettendorf, Iowa after 18-years of operation. They announced the Bettendorf clinic would close, along with the Burlington, Keokuk, and Sioux City clinics last May.

The closing, the abortion giant said in a press release on Wednesday, was due to “defunding by extreme Iowa lawmakers.” Last May former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill last week that reallocated over half of state funding away from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood of the Heartland to federally qualified health centers.

“Gov. Kim Reynolds and anti-woman lawmakers forced us to make some extremely difficult changes this year in order to continue providing care for as many patients as possible. It is as devastating today as it was last spring to announce that we are no longer able to serve our patients in Bettendorf,” Suzanna de Baca, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said in released statement.

“It is absurd that politicians have forced women to travel hours out of their way in order to access basic health care. They attempted to feed Iowans this lie that there are plenty of other places to go for the same care – but women know the truth. Since 1999, thousands of women in the Quad Cities have chosen Planned Parenthood because we offer a standard of expert, nonjudgmental care unmatched by other providers,” de Baca added.

“While politicians may have abandoned women in Iowa, Planned Parenthood never will,” de Baca said. “We will persist in providing high quality reproductive and sexual health care – no matter what.”

Since 2010 Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has closed 20 clinics. Iowa’s largest abortion provider still has clinics in Ames, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines (two locations), Iowa City, and Urbandale.

de Baca’s claim rings hollow when you consider the sheer number of Federally Qualified Health Centers and other providers who are equipped to provide health care and do so beyond distributing birth control pills, giving pregnancy tests, and doing pap smears.

According to the HRSA Data Warehouse, there are 8 federally qualified health centers in the Quad Cities alone, with three of those located on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River (not including a dental clinic) and 15 in Eastern Iowa. According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, there are 14 federally qualified health care (FQHC) centers operating in 91 service sites serving 179,599 Iowa residents per year.  That is just community health centers.  This doesn’t include pregnancy centers provide prenatal care, ultrasounds, and childbirth classes, among other services to women facing unplanned pregnancies, empowering them with life-affirming options. There are now just 9 Planned Parenthood clinics none of whom provide mammograms.  In contrast, there are 30 centers that are members of Free Clinics of Iowa.  Also the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services list 152 rural health clinics in Iowa.

Women in Eastern Iowa don’t have to drive hours for quality care. They may have to drive to receive an abortion which is not health care.

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