Planned Parenthood to close some centers in Iowa while increasing services at others

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Planned Parenthood plans to close three Iowa locations but provide more services at others in response to increasing demands for abortions, staff shortages and increasing costs.

The consolidation at Planned Parenthood North Central States, which provides abortions in Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa, comes as states that provide abortions have seen a sharp increase in people coming from states that have prohibited or sharply restricted the procedure, The Des Moines Register reported.

Leaders of the organization say they’ve performed 9% more abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer.

“The shifting legal sands make it hard for patients to keep up, and that creates a chilling effect to accessing health care,” said Ruth Richardson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States. “This new landscape is unfair — but in all honesty, it’s been unfair for quite some time for structurally marginalized communities.”

Under the new plan in Iowa, some staff members will work at more than one location, which will prevent health centers from being routinely closed because of staff shortages, said Mazie Stilwell, spokesperson for the organization.

Abortion services will increase in Ames, Cedar Rapids, at the Susan Knapp Health Center in Des Moines, and in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Council Bluffs center will close sometime in the next year, with patients redirected to Omaha. The Rosenfield Health Center in south Des Moines will be phased out in favor of the Susan Knapp Health Center and the Ames location.

The Cedar Falls center, which has been closed because of staffing shortages, will permanently close.

“I must emphasize that, while the number of Planned Parenthood health centers will decrease, these changes will increase the number of patients that we can see,” Stilwell said.

Abortion is currently legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. On June 16, the Iowa Supreme Court declined to reinstate a law that would have banned abortions once cardiac activity can be detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant.

Iowa Republicans are widely expected to attempt to pass a new law during the next session to further restrict abortion.