Iowa Planned Parenthood clinics could see more funding cuts under new federal proposal

A Planned Parenthood of the Heartland clinic near Drake University in Des Moines.

The Trump administration is slated to slash a federal rule this week barring groups that perform or refer patients for abortions from getting federal grants.

The proposal, which could be announced as soon as Tuesday, would forbid groups that perform abortions or make referrals from getting family planning grants under the Title X program, which is designed to pare down the costs of reproductive health services for low-income Iowans.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland says it's poised to lose under the proposal, being the single-largest provider to Title X patients in the state.

“If it were to take effect it would have a devastating impact on family planning across the country but particularly here in the state," said Erin Davison-Rippey, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

She says Iowa will be hit hard under the proposal because it comes on the heels of a move by Iowa lawmakers in 2017 legislature that cut different federal funding for groups that perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood. Iowa opted to forego federal Medicaid dollars in an effort to pursue its own family planning network that blocks public money to abortion providers.

Davison-Rippey says Planned Parenthood is predicted serve 14,500 Title X patients in Iowa in 2018. The grants subsidize the cost for services like STD testing and birth control, but doesn't pay for the costs "outright," she says.

Iowa Republican Senators Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst joined a group of other senators penning a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking for the separation of “abortion activities from federally funded family planning services," contending that to allow this rule to continue is "contrary to the law."

Grassley, Ernst and the other senators are calling for "integrity" to be brought back to the Title X program.

Planned Parenthood says no federal dollars are used to perform abortions.

“The services we provide are legal and intend to continue providing them. And we will not be bullied into ending those services," Davison-Rippey said.

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