Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s history would not be complete without first mentioning the pioneering efforts of Margaret Sanger. 

In 1916, two years after coining the term “birth control,” Sanger began a revolution in a Brooklyn storefront. She opened America’s first birth control clinic, laying the groundwork for what is now Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was then jailed for 30 days for breaking the “Comstock Law,” which forbade the discussion and dissemination of birth control.

Today we celebrate her accomplishments, her pioneering work and her ideas. Margaret Sanger’s vision has inspired the availability of reproductive health care for women in Iowa and Nebraska, and across the nation.

1934 Iowa’s first three family planning organizations start in three areas of the state: Birth Control League of Cedar Falls, Maternal Health League of Sioux City, and Iowa Maternal Health League in Des Moines. Diaphragms, condoms, and contraceptive jelly are offered to “needy married women.”

1935 Prominent Omaha families found The Maternal Health League.

1936 The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules in U.S. v. One Package that physicians may prescribe contraceptives to married women to save lives or promote well-being.

1938 Each of Iowa’s 99 counties has one physician who promises to dispense contraceptives and to further family planning services.

Education efforts begin with contraceptive lectures throughout the state.

1940 According to a Gallup Poll, 77 percent of Americans approve of having government health clinics furnish birth control information to married people who want it.

1942 Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. is adopted as the new, more comprehensive name for the Birth Control Federation of America.

1947 Omaha Maternal Health League becomes Planned Parenthood Committee of Omaha.

1951 Planned Parenthood of Omaha opens a clinic in the Northside Branch of YWCA.

1959 Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are marketed.

1961 First Planned Parenthood Book Sale is held in Des Moines — the event raises $2,650.

Des Moines Planned Parenthood is the first clinic in the Midwest to make the pill available to married women; patient numbers increase 350 percent.

1962 Planned Parenthood of Omaha begins dispensing birth control pills.

1965 Iowa Planned Parenthood starts serving unmarried women.

1966 Federal family planning funds pay for a mobile unit that brings information and services to Omaha’s poverty stricken neighborhoods.

1969 Planned Parenthood works with Iowa Clergy Consultation Service. Each month this association of about 100 clergy and lay people helps hundreds of women throughout Iowa arrange for medically safe, legal, out-of-state abortions.

The first free services are funded by HEW grant in Omaha.

1970 The YWCA and Lincoln Action Program use Federal Funds to provide services to low-income women through the Family Planning Center.

1973 In Roe v. Wade the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the constitutional right of privacy extends to a woman’s decision, in consultation with her doctor, to have an abortion.

1974 Des Moines center offers abortion services.

The Lincoln Family Planning Center becomes Planned Parenthood of Lincoln, and an education department is established.

1977 Family Planning of Missouri Valley and Planned Parenthood Omaha merge to create Planned Parenthood of Omaha-Council Bluffs.
1981 Friends of Planned Parenthood forms in Omaha to educate the public and raise funds.

1988 Sex education is mandated in Iowa public schools. Planned Parenthood is instrumental in passing this legislation.

Confidential HIV testing begins at the Des Moines Central center.

1991 Planned Parenthood of Mid-Iowa and Planned Parenthood of Sioux City merge to form Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa.

1992 Planned Parenthood of Council Bluffs refuses to comply with the domestic gag rule prohibiting Title X family planning agencies from discussing abortion and becomes the only family planning program out of 4,000 to lose federal funds.

1994 The Population Council selects Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa as one of just a few reproductive health clinics nationwide to conduct clinical trials of the drug mifepristone as an alternative to surgical abortion.

Nebraska Planned Parenthood Voters for Choice is formed.

1995 Surgical abortion services are made available in Lincoln, Neb.

1997 Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa files suit in federal court against the city of Bettendorf for attempting to block location of a clinic in their city.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa files suit in federal court to assure constitutionality of the Iowa parental notification law and forces the legislature to pass a new law that meets constitutional requirements.

2000 Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa lobbying efforts in the state legislature result in a bill that requires insurance plans that already cover prescription drugs and devices to also cover FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices.

Mifeprex is approved by the FDA and offered in four Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa clinics.

2002 Storm Lake, Iowa, clinic receives a Buena Vista county attorney’s subpoena for the positive pregnancy test records of patients during a nine-month period. The case is appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court and oral arguments are scheduled for the week of December 9.

President and CEO Jill June wins the second “Stick Your Neck Out” award from PPFA, which is presented at the Political Academy in Washington, D.C. The award is presented for her work to prevent the violation of patient privacy rights in the Storm Lake clinic case.

2003 Planned Parenthood of Nebraska & Council Bluffs is created with the merging of Planned Parenthood of Omaha-Council Bluffs and Planned Parenthood of Lincoln.

2005 The Jacqueline N. Blank Book Works is purchased at 123 Clark Street following a $1 million Responsible Choices campaign donation from Myron Blank in honor of his late wife Jacqueline Blank. The facility is a site to store and organize books for the Book Sale each year.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa Physician Dr. Linda Railsback begins SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) for Polk County. The patient-friendly exam suite is housed in the Des Moines Rosenfield clinic.

2006 A new program through the Iowa Family Planning Network (IFPN) provides women between the ages of 13 and 44 with free birth control and family planning services.

Plan B, the marketed emergency contraceptive produced by Barr Pharmaceuticals, is approved by the FDA to be sold over-the-counter to women and men over the age of 18.

Gardasil, the vaccine that prevents cervical cancer caused by HPV (human papilloma virus), is offered at all Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa centers.

2007 Dr. Tom Ross is the first provider in the Greater Des Moines area to offer Implanon, a new long-term contraceptive method.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa begins our contraceptive by mail program, called “c-mail,” where clients may sign up to have their preferred contraception (birth control pills or the patch) mailed to them in a timely fashion and avoiding the missed days of birth control.

Friends of Planned Parenthood forms in Lincoln.

2008 Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa begins Telemedicine in July, whereby providing health services via sophisticated video and fiber equipment at our remote clinics.

2009 Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa and Planned Parenthood of Nebraska & Council Bluffs merge to form one affiliate, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

2011 Planned Parenthood of the Heartland merges in January with Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa, and then in June with Planned Parenthood of Southeast Iowa. The growing organization operates as Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. 

New Northwest Health Center in Omaha opens to patients in February, and the grand opening event takes place April 14. Omaha mayor declares the day “Planned Parenthood Prevention First Day.”

PPHeartland enters into a management contract with Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma on July 1. PPAEO becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland on Dec. 31, 2011, thus creating a four-state regional affiliate.

Planned Parenthood Book Sale celebrates its 50th Anniversary.  

2012 New Lincoln South Health Center opens in January and is celebrated with a grand opening event in April. Lincoln mayor declares the day “Planned Parenthood Prevention First Day.”

New Dubuque, Iowa, Health Center opens on June 13.

2013 During the first enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act, PPHeartland navigators participate in 216 outreach and enrollment events, reaching 2,087 individuals. 

2014  Jill June retires on June 30 after 29 years as president/CEO. 

Suzanna de Baca takes the helm as president/CEO of PPHeartland on September 1.  

2015 An attempted ban by the Iowa Board of Medicine ruled unconstitutional by the Iowa Supreme Court. 

Board of Directors approves 2016-2020 Strategic Plan that includes new Vision, Mission, Values and Strategic Priorities.  

2016  Planned Parenthood Book Sale celebrates 55 Years.

PPHeartland transitions its operations in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma to Planned Parenthood of the Great Plains, effective October 20, preserving the mission for all four states.