A Republican-dominated panel at the statehouse last night approved a human services budget that changes how family planning programs are paid for across the state.
The bill will eliminate state funding that used to go to clinics that also perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood.
Up to now, the state spent just under half a million dollars, or $482,000, for family planning services including birth control and pregnancy tests.
The rest came from the federal government.
Now the state will pick up the entire cost of $3 million. Ames Democrat Beth Wessel-Kroeschell says that’s unconscionable when dozens of other human services programs are being cut this year.
“Three million dollars on the table when 77 percent of Iowans believe that we should be financing family planning programs through groups like Planned Parenthood.”
For example, the human services budget cuts or eliminates funding for tobacco cessation, elder abuse, and childhood obesity.
“That’s unconscionable to me,” Wessel-Kroeschell said.
The Republican chair of the Human Service Budget Subcommittee also opposes many of the budget cuts.
“This is the most difficult budget I’ve ever seen,” said Rep. David Heaton (R-Mount Pleasant).
But Heaton would not criticize the funding change for family planning clinics.
“I am pro-life,” Heaton said.
The Senate voted in February to defund Planned Parenthood.
Republican lawmakers have not released details on which clinics will provide the new family planning services.
Governor Branstad’s budget uses a different source of federal dollars to pay for the new state-run program.