Gov. Terry Branstad recently recommeneded that Iowa reject $3 million in funding from the federal government for family planning services. There seem to be many misconceptions about what this means.
The federal government grants funding for family planning, to Iowa which we match at 10 percent. This funding allows Iowans to sign up for a waiver program to get free contraception, Pap smears and STI testing only, no abortions are funded by this program. The “problem” is that the federal government says that the state cannot mandate what provider an Iowan chooses to go to. Many, but not all, choose Planned Parenthood. So refusing this funding (and Gov. Branstad stated last week we have a $100 million deficit!) just because a patient may choose Planned Parenthood is unacceptable.
So not only are we slashing services for thousands of Iowans, the state is mandating where a person can and can’t receive care. Low-income Iowans should have a choice of the provider they think is best, just like everyone else. Cutting this funding will only result in a rise in abortions when low-income Iowans cannot get affordable family planning. So the proposal is to siphon off funding from elsewhere even though we have a deficit. In many areas Planned Parenthood is the only clinic that provides these vital services. Men and women will just have to go to their dentist for family planning as suggested by the alternative list that recently was shared. Iowans deserve better.