Abortion opponents in the Iowa legislature have added language to a budget bill that will divert more federal funds away from Planned Parenthood because the organization performs abortions.
Under the bill, Planned Parenthood would no longer be eligible for grants for sex education programs. That follows last year’s legislation banning family planning grants for abortion providers.
If the new legislation becomes law, the health care provider would lose approximately $130,000 from the federal Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention program.
The ban is attached to the appropriations bill for Health and Human Services
“I have to say I am so disappointed,” said Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames. “Scientific sex education is one of the most important things we can do in terms of reducing abortions.”
Abortion opponents in the House have repeatedly offered legislation to take away pregnancy prevention grants for abortion providers.
Their bill this year again failed to advance, so the ban was added to the budget bill as the legislative session draws to a close.
“I understood it would go into a budget bill,” said Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, one of the authors of the original bill that failed to advance. “I’m pleased to see that.”
Salmon called it a conflict of interest for abortion providers to conduct sex education classes.
“Non-abortion providers would do a better job,” Salmon said.
However, the federal grants which are administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health are tied to a specific curriculum that all grantees must follow.
“The department does enforce compliance,” said Iowa Family Planning Council Executive Director Jodi Tomlonovic. “We think this is unwarranted.”
Wessel-Kroeschell expressed concern about grants going to pregnancy prevention programs that may not be scientifically based.
“I have a constituent who contacted me when her sex education program told her that withdrawal was a way to prevent pregnancy,” Wessel-Kroeschell said.
GOP dominated panels in both the House and Senate approved the bill. It awaits full debate in the House and Senate.
Planned Parenthood plans a rally at the capitol on Friday protesting passage this week of a bill banning most abortions in Iowa, as well as the sex education funding ban.
“On the heels of passing the most extreme abortion ban in the nation, GOP leadership now also seeks to ensure Iowans struggle to access not just family planning and OB/GYN care, but even the basic information about their bodies,” said Erin Davison-Rippey, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.