Pro-Life Coalition Offers Legislators List of Alternative Health Clinics, Planned Parenthood Argues Merits

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide abortions has moved through the Iowa Senate and awaits debate in the House of Representatives.

Under the republican proposal the funding would be shifted to other women's health clinics.

A coalition of pro-life advocates has compiled a list of 157 clinics they say would serve Iowan women with better healthcare.

“This is an issue about providing more services, more healthcare to women and families throughout the state of Iowa” said Maggie Dewitte, Executive Director of Iowans for Life.

The coalition recommends that the money currently given to Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics goes to clinics on the list.

“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.

The 157 rural clinics, not counting the urban ones, vastly outnumber the 12 Planned Parenthood locations across Iowa, but how do the services stack up?

The list shows if each clinic provides STD/STI testing, testing for cervical and breast cancer, mammograms, and contraception; all services provided by Planned Parenthood.

36 of the rural clinics offer all five services, 134 clinics offer at least three; many have to refer patients for mammograms.

Planned Parenthood argues the funding that gets taken away will directly impact non-abortion services for low income Iowans.

“This defunding only takes funding from family planning services, it would not impact abortion funding in any way” said Rachel Lopez, P.R. Manager for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

Planned Parenthood also argues that these clinics can’t match their level of service.

“Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the patient walks in to any given health center, and if the patient needs contraception that day, they walk out with contraception that day. There’s not another provider in the state that can claim that” said Lopez.

Wilda Orewiler runs a small clinic in Stuart, Iowa. She says she can’t claim to offer that, but says she offers the next best thing.

“After a little discussion and maybe some labs, they would walk out with a prescription”

Orewiler also says her clinic does not offer implanted contraceptives.

However, Orewiler says if her clinic got a piece of the money intended for abortion clinics, it would help her provide to more patients.

“I see a lot of no insurance and low insurance, so it would help a lot” said Orewiler.

Planned Parenthood says they are skeptical that after serving over 30,000 patients in 2016, other clinics could handle the increase in patients.

“There continues to be no evidence that providers on this list can absorb the thousands of patients that would be displaced by this de-funding effort” said Lopez.

Orewiler says she sees between eight to 12 patients a day, and could handle about four more without having to hire additional staff.

To see the full list, follow this link: http://iowaprolifeleaders.com/handout-senate-file-2/