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Bill That Diverts Funds From Planned Parenthood Moves From Iowa Senate To House

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Sarah Boden/IPR
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From left to right, Reps. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames), Kevin Koster (R-Ankeny) and Shannon Lundgren (R-Peosta).

The Iowa House Human Resources Committee will likely soon vote on a bill from the state Senate that takes away public family planning money from organizations that provide abortions. The legislation most affects 12 Planned Parenthood clinics.  

No state or federal dollars pay for abortion services. But people who want to defund organizations like Planned Parenthood argue that giving any public funding to these clinics still indirectly promotes abortion.

Laura Limmex of Ankeny says she opposes abortion, after having a horrible experience at age 16.

"I was never given information about what would happen during the procedure," says Limmex. "And once prepped, a doctor who never introduced himself, told me to simply tell him when I felt a pitch. I panicked." 

Other women testified about how Planned Parenthood provides excellent, affordable healthcare that they say is irreplaceable. 

Dr. Amy Bingaman is an obstetrician and gynecologist at Unity Point Clinics. She says if patients are no longer able to go to Planned Parenthood, they’ll have a difficult time finding others providers because doctors like her are already booked months in advance.

"If you call my office today to schedule an appointment with me, my first available is July 11," says Bingaman. "I only see one new patient a day. I am not a clinic-only practice, as I also have to cover a very busy labor and delivery, as well as the operating room. I have many patients on a waiting list to see me sooner."

Because the legislation only targets family planning funding, Planned Parenthood will still be able to receive patients from the general Medicaid population. However national lawmakers in the Republican-controlled Congress are also considering barring Medicaid payments from going to healthcare organizations that provide abortions.