Planned Parenthood Closes Last Abortion Clinic in Major Iowa Metro Area

(PHOTO: REUTERS)

Planned Parenthood has closed its last abortion clinic in the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois, ending the business' 18-year presence in the area due to a decrease in state funding.

The Quad Cities Center of Bettendorf, Iowa, closed its doors Friday, being one of four area abortion clinics to cease operations since last year.

In a statement released Dec. 27, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland President Suzanna de Baca denounced the closures as "absurd" and "devastating."

"Gov. Kim Reynolds and anti-woman lawmakers forced us to make some extremely difficult changes this year in order to continue providing care for as many patients as possible," de Baca claimed.

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(Screenshot: OperationRescue.orgA chart from the pro-life group Operation Rescue that shows a decline in abortion clinics during the year 2017.

"Since 1999, thousands of women in the Quad Cities have chosen Planned Parenthood because we offer a standard of expert, nonjudgmental care unmatched by other providers."

The closures stemmed from the passage of House File 653 in May 2016, which created a state family planning network that blocks state funding of clinics that provide abortions.

In addition to Bettendorf, last summer Planned Parenthood of the Heartland also closed its locations in Burlington, Keokuk, and Sioux City. Planned Parenthood continues to operate abortion clinics in other areas of Iowa. 

"The closures were blamed on the legislature's decision to effectively cut off $2 million in Medicaid money Planned Parenthood of the Heartland used to receive to provide birth control services to moderate-income Iowans," the Des Moines Register reported.

"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."

Maggie DeWitte, executive director Iowans for Life, wrote in a column for the Des Mines Register last year that the clinic closures were "a victory for women."

"We worked hard this last session to educate legislators and the public that many quality community health centers provide comprehensive healthcare to women and families across the state," said DeWitte.

"They do so without taking the life of precious human beings. This is a victory for our state, and Iowans for Life is committed to continue working to see all abortion clinics closed in Iowa."

The Quad Cities closures were part of a general upward trend in abortion clinic closures in 2017, with the pro-life activist group Operation Rescue reporting in December that 49 clinics were closed across the United States last year.

"Overall, there has been a 17 percent decrease in the total number of abortion facilities in America since 2009," Operation Rescue reported last month.

"Since 1991, when there were 2,176 active surgical abortion facilities, only 23 percent of that number of surgical clinics are operating today."

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