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Planned Parenthood Warns That Defunding Will Create Healthcare Vacuum

Sarah Boden/IPR
Planned Parenthood clinic in Des Moines

The Republican-controlled Iowa statehouse aims to limit abortion access by cutting off public funding to Iowa’s 12 Planned Parenthood clinics, which serve a reported 26,000 patients.

Lawmakers say they’ll fund sexual and reproductive healthcare services provided by organizations other than Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. But the healthcare organization said in a conference call this morning this will create a vacuum for critical services.

"Planned Parenthood is the leading expert in sexual and reproductive healthcare," says Rachel Lopez, public relations manager for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. "Contraceptives and reproductive and sexual health are different from a lot of other healthcare needs in that they are frequently more emergent...meaning they require more immediate care."

Lopez adds that only two percent of services provided by Iowa Planned Parenthoods are abortion-related, and that any public funding it receives goes to directly to non-abortion, reproductive healthcare services. None of the tax dollars can go to paying for clinic overhead or medical equipment.

Another abortion-related statehouse bill Planed Parenthood opposes would allow a woman to sue her doctor for emotional distress caused by an abortion. The legislation also states that a woman would be able to seek damages, even if she signed a consent form prior to her abortion.

"It's a vehicle to line the pockets of lawyers," says Lopez. "It would set a dangerous precedent that could have lasting and resounding repercussions throughout the medical community, reaching far beyond its extremists and misguided intentions."

A 2008 task force from the American Psychological Association conducted a review of research on the mental health effects of abortion. It found no indication that the risk to women who have first-trimester abortions is greater than the risk to women who carry unplanned pregnancies to term.