DES MOINES, Iowa -- Democrats are accusing Governor Kim Reynolds of hypocrisy on the issue of birth control. Democratic Leader, State Senator Janet Petersen, Former Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson, and Longtime Former CEO of Planned Parenthood Jill June, held a press conference Monday morning; highlighting what they said is Governor Reynolds’ flip-flop on the issue of over-the-counter birth control, and her alleged "disastrous record" on women's health.
In a press release put out by the Iowa Democratic Party and in the press conference this morning at the Iowa State Capitol, Democrats said Governor Reynolds' policies have turned Iowa into a "contraceptive desert".
"Yeah, Kim Reynolds has a problem," said June. "There it was on the front page," June said while holding up a copy of the Des Moines Register. "She has a problem."
A recent Des Moines Register article highlighted a 73 percent decline in family planning services.
"Newly released state data shows a staggering 73 percent decline in family planning services since Governor Reynolds and Republicans defunded Planned Parenthood," said State Senator Petersen. "Iowans know what's happening here. These are empty promises from a governor desperate to appeal to voters."
Petersen called Governor Reynolds recent proposal of over-the-counter birth control an insult to women across the state.
"Where were you Governor, when Senate Democrats passed legislation back in 2016, that authorized pharmacists to prescribe and dispense oral contraceptives?" said Petersen. "While Democrats were pushing legislation to give Iowa women greater access to family planning, we didn't hear a word from Governor Reynolds."
Jill June called the governor's plan to make contraception available to Iowa women through pharmacies, and without prescriptions, nothing short of a desperate political stunt.
"She's created an enormous problem in our state and now she thinks with a wave of a hand, she can restore access to women's healthcare," said June. "That`s nonsense."
We reached out to the Governor's Office for comment and she sent WHO-TV Channel 13 News the following responses:
On the Register article:
"Taxpayer money should not be used to fund organizations that provide abortion services. The governor worked with the Iowa Legislature to create a state-run family planning program that offers services for women’s healthcare. As a woman and mother of three daughters, Gov. Reynolds has worked to expand access to women’s health services. When she became governor, she added new providers to the family planning system. And she is in favor of legislation that would expand access to birth control by making it available directly from a pharmacy, without a prescription from a doctor."
On the press conference:
"While Gov. Reynolds supports increased access to birth control for adult women, she doesn’t support making birth control available over-the-counter to minors, which is what the Democrats’ approach would have done. But she is hopeful they can find common ground and a bipartisan solution for this important issue next legislative session."