November 19 2017

Planned Parenthood to close 4 Iowa clinics after funding cut

November 19 2017, 07:00 | Rex Rios

ACLU Planned Parenthood file lawsuit over new Indiana abortion law File

ACLU Planned Parenthood file lawsuit over new Indiana abortion law File

This is the direct result of a horrifying move by Congressional Republicans just two months ago, when Vice President Mike Pence giddily cast the deciding vote to break a stalemate in the Senate that allows states to defund Planned Parenthood by refusing to reimburse abortion providers through Medicaid. We will continue to serve patients at eight health centers across the state. In 2015, Planned Parenthood served 80 percent or more of patients seeking family planning services by a publicly funding provider in three out of the four counties where centers are now closing.

The closures will likely happen in September and would leave Planned Parenthood with two clinics in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe.

The measure is the latest effort by Republicans nationally to halt the flow of public money to Planned Parenthood, a 100-year-old nonprofit that provides birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screenings and other services at hundreds of clinics in almost every state.

The other centers closing are in Keokuk, Sioux City and Burlington. It does provide birth control and testing for pregnancy and STDs. Chris Hall and Rep. Tim Kacena called the closing of the Sioux City clinic "troubling", saying it means almost 5,000 women in the area will "lose access to critical health care services like cancer screenings and birth control".

"Imposing the cumbersome process specifically on the physician to review this information and to execute this affidavit when there are no other medical procedures - even surgical procedures in hospitals - that require this is irrational and violates both equal protection and due process", court documents said.

"If it weren't for that moment of her confirming what was the best explanation that I could come up with for what was happening to my body, I don't know if I would have been able to advocate for myself to find a doctor to treat me", she said.

Under federal law, Medicaid beneficiaries are entitled to "free choice of provider", which means states can not exclude Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from family planning programs that operate using Medicaid dollars. De Baca called the new policy an "extremist" attack that will harm "an untold number of Iowans".

The clinic served 488 patients previous year, providing birth control, abortions, physical exams and other services. "Our first thought on every step was how it will impact our patients".

About 30 clinic staffers are expected to be affected by the closures.

The clinic closures come at a crucial time for women seeking access to reproductive health care in the USA, and particularly in Iowa.

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives included such a defunding measure as part of the American Health Care Act, the bill aimed at replacing Obamacare.

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