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Government

Lawmaker says Iowa GOP wants to make it easier to get a machine gun than a Pap smear

The Iowa State House cupola on Thur. Mar 11, 2016. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
The Iowa State House cupola on Thur. Mar 11, 2016. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Legislation to defund Planned Parenthood is being pushed by lawmakers who “never had a Pap smear or used a tampon,” a Democratic opponent of Senate File 2 said Monday.

The Republicans co-sponsoring the bill that would cut Planned Parenthood funding by about $3 million “want to make it easier to get a machine gun than a Pap smear,” Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, told about 70 people, including eight lawmakers, at a Moral Mondays gathering at the Capitol. She was referring to SF 108, a proposal from Sen. Jason Schultz. R-Schleswig, to remove prohibitions on the ownership of a variety of weapons, including machine guns and short-barreled shotguns.

Schultz and Petersen are both members of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that will consider the defunding proposal at a hearing at 11:30 a.m. in Room 22 of the Capitol Tuesday. Sen. Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, is the third member.

The Planned Parenthood proposal calls for reducing funding for the organization by about $3 million. The services are mandated by the federal government, so Gov. Terry Branstad’s budget proposal calls for using federal block grant money that currently is used for children and family services. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said recently that won’t mean a reduction in those services.

Monday Gov. Terry Branstad said his administration supports access to family planning services, but doesn’t want to be tied to one provider “that doesn’t serve rural Iowa.” He wants to meet those needs in the “most economical and efficient manner we can.”

But Erin Davison-Rippey of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland said Branstad’s effort to “accomplish this political move makes no sense on the fiscal side or the moral side.”

Planned Parenthood, she said, does more than any other organization to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. The organization is at the forefront of programs reducing the unintended pregnancy rate in Iowa to a 30-year low, Davison-Rippey said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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