Women Speak Out Amidst Planned Parenthood Funding Fight

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  It's a fight State Republicans have wanted to take up for years. A senate bill that would de-fund Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics was approved by the senate judiciary committee on Tuesday.

Now it's slated for full senate discussion.

Pro-life advocates argue that this bill will provide more healthcare to more women across the state.

Planned Parenthood supporters say it will do the opposite, and show that lawmakers can dictate what women can do with their bodies.

“It was a lot scarier of a time because there were no safe alternatives” said Jeanie Smith.

Smith is a women's advocate and was in her 20s when the landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. She remembers what it was like before that time.

“There were a lot of people that did not have access to anything safe, anything medical, and you’ve heard stories of people who died from abortions with coat hangers and stuff like that” said Smith.

Since the ruling in 1973, women's rights advocates have fought off challenges to abortion access, the majority making the decisions being men.

That doesn’t sit well with Terry Herandez, Executive Director of the Chrysalis Foundation.

“In order to make decisions on behalf of women, we need women at the table and the problem is that men, primarily are making decisions on behalf of women, our bodies, our lives etc.”

Hernandez wonders if it would even be an issue if the roles were reversed.

“So let’s say women were predominantly in the legislature and we were making decisions on behalf of men. Would they be as active as we are? One would hope they would be because they know we can’t make decisions, necessarily, without their input” said Hernandez.

Smith, who witnessed the abortion landscape prior to 1973, says making it harder to access safe abortions will not stop unplanned pregnancy, and will not stop abortions.

“People will still have abortions. They will have them less safely. I think de-funding Planned Parenthood is the absolute worst thing they could do because they provide an awful lot of family planning care that prevents a lot of people from being pregnant when they don’t want to be” said Smith.

On the other side of the argument, pro-life advocates like Maggie DeWitte say more family planning care will be accessible because the money will be redistributed.

“I think that the pro-life movement sometimes gets a bad rep that we don’t care about families and we don’t care about women. All we’re saying is let our tax dollars go to those clinics and those health centers that are providing real quality comprehensive healthcare to women, and they’re providing all across the state” said DeWitte

DeWitte says that a group of pro-life advocates are creating a list of eligible clinics across the state.

“We’re putting that list together to be able to provide to our senators and our representatives who are pushing forward this bill so they have the information to put out” she says

When asked, she could not identify a specific clinic on the list.

However, at this point legislators haven't released a plan for how this network of clinics will come together should the bill pass.