Iowa Defunded Planned Parenthood And Guess What They Got More Of?
In 2017, the state of Iowa decided to defund Planned Parenthood. At the time, state lawmakers pushing for the bill claimed that allowing Planned Parenthood to accept Medicaid reimbursements for things that were not related to abortion "freed up" funds for abortion. And no, they did not have to explain how that was supposed to work given that doctors make less from Medicaid than from private insurers.
As a result, four Planned Parenthood clinics closed that very day.
At the time, forced birth enthusiasts like Maggie DeWitte of Iowans for Life insisted that Iowa didn't need Planned Parenthood, as surely all of the other "qualified health centers" would step up and fill the void.
We would say the services and care provided by Planned Parenthood in the state of Iowa were not what women and families deserved. We have said from the very beginning that there are many, many other qualified health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women.
If all went according to plan, we should assume that there are now fewer abortions in Iowa. We should see that Planned Parenthood is no longer rolling around in all that sweet, sweet Medicaid reimbursement money and is thus unable to dole out free abortions to anyone who wants them like they never used to, and those patients who used to go to Planned Parenthood for their reproductive health needs have found even better care at the other "qualified health centers." Right?
Not so much. In fact, abortions have actually increased over the past four years since Iowa defunded Planned Parenthood.
The number of abortions performed in Iowa climbed nearly 14% in 2020, after jumping 25% the previous year, new state data show.
Iowa had seen years of steady declines in abortions before 2019. But that trendline has changed.
The state saw 4,058 abortions performed in 2020, up from 3,566 in 2019 and 2,849 in 2018, the new numbers show.
The new data were shared with legislative staff Thursday by the Iowa Department of Public Health. [...]
The new statistics mean that Iowa's abortion rate has shot up a total of 42% between 2018 and 2020. Over the previous decade, the number had dropped 56%.
Oh wow, who could have guessed that would happen, except for literally anyone capable of understanding the principle of cause and effect.
It's fairly clear what happened. Decreased access to Planned Parenthood led to decreased access to birth control which then led to more unplanned pregnancies, which in turn led to more abortions. Duh. It's almost as if there was a lot of crossover between people who used Medicaid for reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood and people who cannot afford to take care of a child.
Well, it's clear to us, anyway. It's not so clear to our old friend Maggie DeWitte of Iowans For Life, who is pretty sure that all of the abortion-havers were just personally inspired by the Iowa Supreme Court.
"Access is not an issue," she said.
Instead, DeWitte blamed the rise in abortions on a 2018 decision by the Iowa Supreme Court, which declared for the first time that the Iowa Constitution protects abortions as a fundamental right.
"When you create a fundamental right, that means you can't regulate abortions in any way," she said. "Our hands are tied."
The court's 2018 decision came in a challenge to a law that would have required a 72-hour waiting period before women could receive an abortion. That requirement never went into effect, but DeWitte said the justices' decision sent a message that abortion is OK.
"People look to the law to determine what to believe," she said.
Oh yeah. Surely loads of people, teenagers in particular, said to themselves, "You know what? Never mind taking some of this birth control I definitely have access to — the Iowa Supreme Court said that abortion is a fundamental right, so I'm just gonna hold off and get an abortion later, because boy is that ever convenient." This is a way that normal human beings think and process information all of the time.
Look, I get it. It is as much about the journey for them as it is about the destination, and if the way to have fewer abortions is to fund Planned Parenthood, have comprehensive sex education in schools, and adopt the kind of social and economic reforms that would make having a kid a more affordable thing for people to do ... they literally just do not want it. They want it their way or no way at all, even if it doesn't actually produce the results they want and in fact does the opposite.
Similarly, one of the big claims about Planned Parenthood is that they are motivated by greed and actually want people to get abortions because there is so much money in it for them. One would think that if that were the case, they would be thrilled with the results of this legislation in Iowa and be looking to replicate it in other states. Curiously, they are not doing that.
It's almost as if all they want, all those of us who support reproductive rights want, is for people to have control over their own bodies and decide when and if they want to have children themselves.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse