FORT DODGE, Iowa – The right-wing social conservative group The FAMiLY Leader is pushing Iowa Republicans to restrict any state tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood. While Planned Parenthood does not get state money for abortions, “it does get at least $6 million in state tax dollars as reimbursement for providing birth control and reproductive health exams to poor women.” And now, because the Iowa Republicans are plotting to take that away, women are making their voices heard.
An elderly woman from central Iowa had harsh words for Rep. Steve King (R-IA) at a town hall meeting Tuesday, reprimanding the congressman for his attacks on the women’s health provider Planned Parenthood. During his time in Congress, King has been one of the most outspoken critics of Planned Parenthood for providing abortion services. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s services — 97 percent — don’t involve abortion, but other women’s health needs like mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and STI tests.
The constituent, Shirley Grant, assailed King for wanting to defund Planned Parenthood and make it harder for women to get health care and “take charge of their destiny.” Said Grant, “I find it very offensive that men think they can tell women what to do with their own life.”
GRANT: When women want pro-choice and want to take charge of their destiny, you and your cohorts want to take funding away from Planned Parenthood. My daughter says, “throw out the word ‘birth control,’ Mom. Planned Parenthood isn’t that.” She says it’s for hormone replacement and that means you use those pills for many, many, many different areas of women’s lives. I find it very offensive that men think they can tell women what to do with their own life.
Watch the exchange, as well as Grant’s reaction afterwards:
ThinkProgress spoke with King on Monday about whether right-wing rhetoric may have played any part in motivating the bombing this week of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin. Though King wasn’t familiar with the incident, he shrugged off the idea that Republican attacks bore any responsibility, saying his main concern was for the “unborn babies. That’s where our focus needs to be.”
Republican women like Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) are stepping in to defend the vital services provided by Planned Parenthood. “The preventive health care [that] they’re doing, we need to provide those services, absolutely,” she told MSNBC last month.