Family planning

Abortions continue to rise in Iowa after GOP family planning change


There were 4,058 abortions performed in Iowa in 2020, a trend that has increased over the past three years.

In 2018, there were 2,849 abortions, followed by 3,566 abortions in 2019, according to state data.

The data comes from the Iowa Department of Public Health and was shared with legislative staff. State Senator Janet Petersen shared it with the Monks Register.

Prior to 2018, abortions in Iowa were declining.

The increase follows the change in state family planning services. In 2017, Governor Kim Reynolds and Legislative Republicans moved Iowa from a federally funded family planning service to a state-run version called the Planned Parenthood Program. The move was to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving funding for its family planning services.

This led to the closure of facilities across the state due to the loss of money. The data shows that another result of this change is a 85 percent decline in people using public family planning services.

Most proponents of abortion claim that the family planning program – and its lack of use – is the reason for the increase in abortions.

“The rise in abortions after years of declining rates is likely due to fewer Iowans having access to birth control and sex education today than a few years ago,” Jamie Burch said. Elliott in a family planning press release.

Elliot is Iowa Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood North Central States.

“Family planning programs have declined and have been proven to reach fewer people,” she said. “Health centers offering affordable reproductive health care have been forced to close, limiting access to affordable birth control and contraception.”

Abortion opponents say it’s been too easy to get an abortion in Iowa since the Supreme Court in 2018 recognized a fundamental right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution. This is the argument used by Maggie DeWitte, executive director of the Iowans for Life group. She says in register that the hands of abortion opponents are tied by this discovery.

six of nine Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa offer abortion services while the other three, in Cedar Rapids, Urbandale and one of two clinics in Des Moines, offer referrals. The nine clinics provide additional health care services. The Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa City also offers abortion services.

For years, Iowa has tried various bills to limit abortions, from waiting periods to bans at specific times, but those efforts have been blocked by Iowa courts.

This year, the Iowa legislature took the first step by adding an amendment to the constitution declaring that there is no basic right to abortion in the state. If the amendment goes into effect, the abortion ban will likely follow.

by Nikoel Hytrek
07/21/21