The ACLU of Iowa is pleased to announce that it is giving its first-ever Partners in Liberty Award to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
The Partners in Liberty award recognizes significant civil liberties contributions and leadership by an organization or coalition. It is an award richly deserved this year by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
Despite overwhelming challenges over the past several months, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has stayed focused on delivering quality, affordable health care to Iowa women.
From seemingly all directions this year, the crucial services offered by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland were under assault. In the Iowa Legislature, multiple bills were introduced, each designed to restrict a woman’s fundamental right to reproductive services, including abortion. With the help of ally organizations, including the ACLU of Iowa, Planned Parenthood was able to rally its impressive number of supporters and defeat some of the worst.
However, unfortunately, legislation was passed that all but eliminates the possibility of an abortion for a woman in Iowa after 20 weeks. Legislators also were successful in passing one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, requiring women to wait 72 hours to obtain an abortion and also to make a second, medically unnecessary clinic visit before obtaining an abortion.
All the while, Planned Parenthood was fighting off defunding efforts both at the state and national levels, and ultimately had to close four Iowa health centers.
Undaunted, it is now the plaintiff in a lawsuit, represented by the ACLU of Iowa and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, challenging the constitutionality of the 72-hour forced waiting period and second unnecessary clinic visit.
For more than 80 years, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has been a stalwart defender of a woman’s right to control her body and therefore her life. This dovetails with the ACLU’s ongoing commitment to uphold the rights of individuals to make reproductive choices freely, without government hindrance or coercion. The ACLU strives to ensure that all in our society have access to sexuality education, contraception, abortion, prenatal care, and childbearing assistance.
Mark Stringer, ACLU of Iowa executive director, said, "We value Planned Parenthood’s unwavering contributions to reproductive health for all people. We look forward to continuing to partner with this essential organization to protect women’s rights and reproductive freedom in Iowa.”