Health

New Planned Parenthood tool helps users locate abortion services

Abortion Care Finder available nationwide

Planned Parenthood. (Susanne Neal/Dreamstime/TNS)
Planned Parenthood. (Susanne Neal/Dreamstime/TNS)
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Planned Parenthood has launched a new online tool called the Abortion Care Finder, which allows Iowans to locate clinics that provide abortion services near them.

The online tool determines the nearest Planned Parenthood health clinics and the abortion options available to individuals based on the user’s Zip code, age and the date of the last period. In addition, the tool also provides information on state regulations and requirements that may affect individual’s options in seeking an abortion.

The finder was launched by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the organization’s national chapter. It can be located on Planned Parenthood’s website.

“We believe all people should have access to sexual and reproductive health care — which includes safe and legal abortion — and information, no matter where they live,” said Erin Davison-Rippey, Iowa executive director of Planned Parenthood North Central States. “As abortion access becomes increasingly restricted, patients need to be able to get accurate, personalized information on their options and where they go for abortion services in a fast and easy-to-understand format.”

The announcement was made as abortion rates in the United States reach historic lows, according to a new report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

From 2006 to 2015, the abortion rate decreased 26 percent among women aged 15-44, dropping from 15.9 abortions per 1,000 women to 11.8 per 1,000 women, according to the report.

The Abortion Care Finder was launched in response to the number of people who visited Planned Parenthood’s website seeking information on how to get an abortion, said Davison-Rippey in an email.

Since the tool was launched, officials state there have been 1.4 million engagements.

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“The Abortion Care Finder is intended to help increase Iowans access to safe and legal abortion by providing them with the information they need regarding where to receive care and requirements under state law,” Davison-Rippey said. “Having this information at people’s fingertips is increasingly important given the partisan attacks on abortion access and uncertainty they create.”

Davison-Rippey pointed to legislation lawmakers passed in 2018, which was also called the “fetal heartbeat law,” that would have banned abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy. A Polk County judge struck down the law in January, but Davison-Rippey said some Iowans might be unaware that it was never implemented.

“This tool clears up some of that uncertainty,” she said.

The finder uses information from Planned Parenthood Federation of American and the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health research organization.

“We hope to integrate independent health care providers into the tool in the future,” Davison-Rippey said. “Currently, though, if the nearest Planned Parenthood is more than 60 miles away or if the tool is unable to locate the nearest Planned Parenthood based on how far along someone is in their pregnancy, they are connected with the National Abortion Federation for more information.”

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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