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Des Moines, IA— This week, the Iowa Department of Public Health released data showing that abortions increased 14 percent from 2019 to 2020. The increase follows a 25 percent increase from 2018 to 2019, reversing a decade long trend of decreasing rates. The increases in abortion rates follows years of attacks on sexual and reproductive health care in the state. Anti-abortion politicians in Des Moines in 2017 defunded Planned Parenthood from the state family planning program, a move that forced health centers across the state to close, led to a more than 85 percent decline in program participation and increased the growing STI public health crisis in Iowa. Lawmakers then again defunded Planned Parenthood in 2019, this time from Iowa’s middle and high school sex education programs, despite it being the state’s largest provider of medically-accurate, state-approved sex education curriculum.        

Statement from Jamie Burch Elliott, Iowa Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood North Central States: 

“The increase in Iowa’s abortion rate for a second consecutive year isn’t a surprise. The uptick in abortions after years of decreased rates is likely because fewer Iowans have access to birth control and sex education today than a few years ago. Anti-abortion politicians have decimated sexual and reproductive health care over the last four years. Family planning programs have dwindled, and been proven to be reaching fewer people. Health centers offering affordable reproductive health care have been forced to close, limiting access to affordable birth control and contraception. Iowans want and need preventative health care. Sex education and birth control are health care. In order to decrease abortion rates, Iowans need elected officials to invest in the public health initiatives and best practices that are proven to reduce STIs and unintended pregnancies. Iowans deserve access to affordable reproductive health care and medically accurate sex education.”

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Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 30 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota).  Each year, we provide health care to nearly 115,000 people and health education to more than 55,000 people in our region.