DES MOINES, IOWA — Iowans gathered at the Statehouse on Tuesday for Planned Parenthood Lobby day on Tuesday.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa said that nearly 200 people registered to participate in the day, where Iowans meet with lawmakers to discuss reproductive health care and the right to have an abortion in the state.
“Our rights, like reproductive health care rights, striking down and threatened by a number of different bills,” said Bob Pentuic from Iowa City.
The lobby day comes one day after House Democrats introduced their package of bills for reproductive freedom. Some of those Democrats spoke to Iowans during the rally in the afternoon. And those Iowans at the rally were advocating for safe and legal abortions, expanded postpartum Medicaid coverage, and allowing the sale of over-the-counter birth control.
“I’m actually a medical student at the University of Iowa, hoping to go into obstetrics and gynecology. And I’m very passionate about women’s health and women’s rights,” said Anna Greenwood from Des Moines. “I know the state of Iowa does not have a lot of OB-GYNs, we have a lot of rural health deserts here.”
Greenwood said that with some of the legislation that has been introduced in the last several years, she has been considering leaving the state after graduation.
For the House Democrat’s package of bills, a constitutional amendment is not likely to happen this session. But there is a chance that over-the-counter birth control could receive bipartisan support this session. Earlier on Tuesday morning, Governor Kim Reynolds provided an update on the legislation that made it out of the Senate in the first funnel and now sits in the House.
“We are having that similar conversation with House members to figure out what that looks like, Kay, to get it across the finish line,” said Gov. Reynolds, (R) at a school safety press conference. “It’s like everything else it comes to maybe some compromised language that everybody feels comfortable with. My goal is to get it across the finish line and so we are going to continue to sit down with lawmakers and figure out what that compromise looks like.”
Gov. Reynolds pushed similar legislation in 2019, it passed the Iowa Senate but failed to get through the Iowa House. And now in 2023, a similar situation arises where a bill legalizing prescription-less birth control is decided by House Republicans.