BETTENDORF, Iowa — The Des Moines Register has reported that the Quad Cities area will no longer have direct access to abortion services when Planned Parenthood closes its clinic in the area.
The clinic was the only one in the Quad Cities, the third largest metro area in Iowa and the largest between Chicago and Des Moines. The Register said that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland was closing the clinic because of a $2 million cut in Medicaid funding to provide birth control services. The state legislature had barred any agency that provided abortions from participating after it passed a new law earlier this year.
From the Register:
Planned Parenthood this summer stopped offering many services at the Bettendorf location, but it continued to dispense abortion pills there via a telemedicine system, which links patients in outlying clinics with doctors in Iowa City or Des Moines.
The Bettendorf clinic will completely close this week, the agency announced Wednesday. “It is as devastating today as it was last spring to announce that we are no longer able to serve our patients in Bettendorf,” Suzanna de Baca, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s president, said in a press release.
The closest clinic still offering abortions will be 60 miles west in Iowa City.
Critics of the new law told the Register that none of the money was used to provide abortion services. Supporters of the change said any support for Planned Parenthood effectively helps it offer abortions. The state had to give up $3 million in federal Medicaid funding with the new law. Iowa will instead set up its own family planning agency so it can stop the funding of clinics that do offer abortion services.
Under the law, according to the newspaper, the new state family planning program also bars participation by hospitals and clinics affiliated with UnityPoint and the University of Iowa, which occasionally provide abortions for medical reasons.