STD Rates In Southeast Iowa Continue To Rise

As family planning clinics across the country face a mounting number of obstacles to providing health care, the conversation often is focused on abortion services and birth control. But family planning services also include Sexually Transmitted Disease [STD] testing and treatment, and data show the absence of family planning services often results in increased STD rates. STD rates have gone up across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Impact On Iowa According to data gathered by the Iowa Department of Public Health, the state had about 19,807 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in […]

Pete Buttigieg’s Plan To Protect Pregnant Women In Rural Areas

As the conversation about health care increasingly includes rural areas, the topic of maternal health is showing up in more places, too. This past week, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg released a health care plan targeted at rural America. In it are several provisions that provide increased support for pregnant and postpartum women. “It’s time to usher in a new era for rural America,” the plan reads. “That work begins by deploying investment and innovation to secure the health of all rural residents.” First off, Buttigieg plans to address the problem of declining numbers of providers for all kinds […]

Bernie Sanders: Medicare For All Must Cover Abortion Services

Medicare for All has been a central part of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns since he launched his first national bid in 2015. Since then, the health care conversation in the United States has focused increasingly on reproductive services, as Republican-controlled state governments across the country limit abortion access and Supreme Court justices are appointed to help overturn Roe v. Wade. On Saturday in Des Moines, Sanders took part in a town hall hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice America, a national organization that opposes restrictions on abortion. There, Sanders said, “We are here today to say as loudly and clearly as […]

“The ACA Saved My Life.” Ernst Called Out On Health Care Votes

“About two years ago, I walked into a doctor’s office with a nagging cough and walked out with a stage-four cancer diagnosis,” said Laura Packard, a cancer survivor and health care activist. “But I’m still here today because the Affordable Care Act saved my life.” Packard is now in remission, but says she couldn’t have afforded her six months of chemotherapy and month of radiation treatments without the Affordable Care Act – the one thing keeping her insurable. “If my cancer returns, I will be bankrupt or dead without good health insurance,” explained Packard. “That’s why we’re going around, state […]

Restricting Abortion By Constitutional Amendment – Iowa GOP’s Next Plan

Early this year, Iowa’s ban on abortions after a “heartbeat” is detected was struck down. This brought the state’s second attempt to ban abortion in two years to an end, but Republican lawmakers in the state Senate haven’t given up. In January this year, 29 Republican senators introduced a resolution that would add a section to the Iowa Constitution that says, “The Constitution of the State of Iowa does not secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” In March, the bill was reported out of committee. Jamie Burch Elliot, the public affairs manager for […]

Sex Ed, Contraception Key, Castro Says At Reproductive Rights Forum

At a town hall hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice America on Saturday, Julián Castro emphasized the importance of sex education and access to reproductive health care, which he said includes contraceptives. When asked by Starting Line, Castro said, “What I believe is that we need to make sure that we have sex education in our public schools, that of course is age appropriate, but also is informative. That provides young people with a good baseline education so they can make smart decisions as they get older.” Castro said even though school curriculums are dictated by states, the federal government could incentivize […]

Maternal Mortality Issue Draws More Attention In 2020 Race

Maternal mortality is an issue that isn’t often widely acknowledged, but that’s changing with the 2020 race for president. Several candidates have staked out positions on how to address the issue, and many of the senators have already sponsored or co-sponsored bills in the Senate. According to the CDC, about 700 women die every year because of complications with the pregnancy or delivery. The death could also happen during the post-partum period. Statistics from 2015 shows about 17 women died for every 100,000 births in the United States. Black women in the United States face even greater risks. A report done […]

Access To Legal Abortions Keeps Getting Trickier In SE Iowa

For 13,100 women living in Burlington, Iowa, it keeps getting trickier to access affordable reproductive health care. The town’s Planned Parenthood provider closed in 2017. It forced residents to travel about 80 miles away to Iowa City just for routine checkups and to get birth control. Dr. Michael McCoy, chief medical officer for Great River Health System and an OBGYN at Women’s Health—Great River Medical Center decided women deserved better. He set up a gathering of healthcare providers in the community to figure out what it would take to get a new Title X clinic in the area. Healthcare providers […]

Kamala Harris In Iowa: Go On Offense On Women’s Health Rights

Senator Kamala Harris has told everyone during this 2020 campaign that she’s a fighter. She’s touted her time as the Attorney General of California, prosecuting banks and holding corporations accountable. She’s told the story about being raised by parents who were civil rights activists.  And at a NARAL-sponsored town hall in Des Moines, Harris emphasized her ability and willingness to fight for women’s reproductive health care in a way that others may not. “Right now, women’s access to reproductive health is under attack in America, and we have got to stand firm,” Harris said.  Twice on Wednesday, Harris emphasized the […]

Burlington’s Planned Parenthood Closure Brought Anger, But Also Activism

Shortly after becoming sexually active, Alexandra Rucinski got pregnant. She was 22 years old and had only been taught about abstinence because of her conservative, Mormon upbringing. “There was no conversation other than abstinence, which didn’t protect me at all,” Rucinski said. Enter Planned Parenthood in downtown Burlington, Iowa. The clinic closed in 2017 after Republican lawmakers excluded Planned Parenthood from state funding, but it was there for Rucinski. Rucinski said she went to the clinic when she was about three months pregnant because she didn’t have health insurance at the time. She was pretty sure she was pregnant, but […]