Senator Petersen’s opening comments on SF 2, the Attack on Iowa Family Planning Services

Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen

State Senator Janet Petersen’s opening remarks on SF2:

Thank you Mr. President.


This bill is bad for Iowa women and families.


It will create more unintended pregnancies, more high risk pregnancies, and cost Iowa taxpayers more.


Iowans don’t support it.  Doctors warn against it.  We should listen to them and reject it.


Last week, Senator Sinclair held a 25-minute subcommittee on Senate File 2.


Hundreds of Iowans came to the statehouse that day to make their voices heard about their opposition to Senate File 2, which will gut Iowa’s Family Planning Network.


Senator Sinclair cut off their testimony after 25 minutes.


Senators were not allowed time to ask questions about the bill or provide facts about Iowa’s Family Planning Network.


I have served in the Iowa Legislature for 17 years.  I have never seen a subcommittee conducted that way.


I stayed for nearly an hour after the meeting to listen to Iowans and make sure their stories were heard.


It is unfortunate that not one of the 29 Republican sponsors stuck around to hear what Iowans have to say about their bill – Senate File 2.


Apparently 28 Republican men and 1 Republican woman know what’s best for women’s health care.


To the thousands of Iowans who have written me, asking me to FIGHT SF 2, and to the hundreds of Iowans who have SHOWN UP at the statehouse to have my back, I am HONORED to be your voice today.


Here is what I’ve learned about Senate File 2 so far…


Senate File 2 guts Iowa’s Family Planning Network, a program that has helped more than 80,000 Iowa women and men access family planning services across our state since 2006.


We know the Iowa Family Planning Waiver works.


It has helped reduce abortions and Medicaid costs in Iowa.


The Iowa Family Planning Network is inexpensive for taxpayers.


Iowa’s Family Planning Network program has saved Iowa taxpayers MILLIONS of dollars.


We shouldn’t mess with the program.




The Iowa Family Planning Network WORKS.


An evaluation of the program by the University of Iowa Public Policy Center in May of 2016 showed:


  1. The family planning waiver has increased the number of women receiving family planning services within the Medicaid program.


  1. Medicaid costs for deliveries and birth and first years of life have declined by nearly $345 million.


  1. Very conservative estimates of net Medicaid savings are more than $265 million.


The Iowa Family Planning Network saves Iowa taxpayers money.


For every 10 cents Iowa taxpayers invest in the program, we get an additional 90 cents from the federal government to help pay for the program.


Iowans invest roughly $300,000 in the program each year.  When you add the federal dollars to Iowa’s investment, we get more than $3 million in preventative health services for Iowa women and men throughout the state.


The University of Iowa study shows Iowa taxpayers have saved nearly $3.40 for every dollar they invested in the Iowa Family Planning Network.


Under Senate File 2, Iowa will walk away from all of the federal funds that go to the Iowa Family Planning Network.


The new program devised by 28 men and 1 woman in the Iowa senate, NONE of WHOM have a medical degree, will put the entire cost of the program on the backs of Iowa taxpayers.


It is also important to note, there is no money in Senate File 2 to start this new program.


Yesterday, Rep. Hogg asked Senate President Whitver to send the bill to the budget committee after we received the fiscal note that shows Iowa taxpayers will have to pay $3 million more EVERY YEAR for this Republican concocted program.


The President’s ruling:


Apparently, it doesn’t matter how much Republican-sponsored bills cost Iowa taxpayers anymore.


Just pass the bill and worry about the money later.  We’ve heard that one before.


The current Iowa Family Planning program has reduced unintended pregnancies and abortions.


Senate Republicans want to scrap the successful program and force Iowa taxpayers to spend 10 times the money just to exclude Planned Parenthood from providing care to Iowa women and men.




Under the Republican plan – Senate File 2 completely eliminates the Iowa Family Planning Network and replaces it with a state-run program that doesn’t exist and doesn’t have guaranteed funding to make it happen.


IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER, the Iowa Family Planning Network has NEVER funded abortions.


The Iowa Family Planning Network has been successful in preventing abortions and improving Iowa’s birth outcomes.


When you make it harder for Iowans to access family planning services, you increase the number of unintended pregnancies.


Gutting the Iowa Family Planning Network will cause more unintended pregnancies and abortions.


Senate File 2 – puts politicians in charge of women’s health care and THAT IS DANGEROUS.


We’ve been told a new state program will offer more providers and give women more options.  That simply is not true.


On Tuesday, I questioned several bill sponsors about how their new program would “increase access.”  Not one senator could answer the question.


Iowa women aren’t buying your “increased access” talking point.


That is because SF 2 DOES NOT “INCREASE ACCESS” to providers.




In fact it will force thousands of Iowa women to leave a provider they chose and go to a provider selected by 29 politicians.


It will disqualify many of Iowa’s most qualified health specialists from serving Iowa women in the program.


Providers aren’t magically going to fall out of the sky for this new program.


The so-called TIER process outlined in the bill and in DHS’s plan is totally confusing.  We just got DHS’s plan yesterday.

Finding a provider to give you a Pap Smear shouldn’t be rocket science, but thanks to Senate Republicans – it soon could be.


EXAMPLE – if you pick a TIER 3 provider – you’ll have to let them know you would have to travel more than 25 miles to see another provider.


DHS says they can do marketing to explain their new PAP SMEAR TIERS.


Is that really what we want DHS wasting their time doing?


WOULDN’T we rather have DHS spend its time doing child protective investigations, figuring out how to get better mental health care for Iowans, taking care of Iowans with disabilities?


WHY are we getting rid of a program that works?


WHY are we getting rid of a program that prevents abortions and unintended pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections?


The bill doesn’t even explain how, when and how much providers will get paid to participate in the program.


Let’s remember, the women participating in our current Family Planning Network program are not participating in the program for ABORTIONS.  It is the absolute opposite.


These Iowa women are participating in the Iowa Family Planning Network to take care of their bodies and to prevent unintended pregnancies and abortions.


YET, now a group of 29 politicians (28 of whom have NEVER gotten completely undressed, put on a paper gown, and put their feet in the stirrups for a vaginal exam) are telling women they know what is best for them.


Iowans have every right to be concerned about this legislation.


Iowa taxpayers have every right to be angry that we are giving up millions of dollars in federal funding to start another government program that will be paid for fully on the backs of Iowa taxpayers.


Iowans who worry about the health and safety of our children, people with mental illness and disabilities, should be piping mad that this program will take away funds that should have been going to them.


To the thousands of Iowa women who may lose their health care coverage and family planning coverage when Republican repeal ObamaCare – Senate File 2 is not prepared to add you to the program.  You will be out of luck for your care under the new Republican program.  It will offer first come, first serve birth control.  If we keep our current system that actually works, the program would be able to include you – and at a very small cost to Iowa taxpayers.


God forbid, if we have a ZIKA outbreak or other disaster – the size of the program will not increase to keep up with the demand for Family Planning services as it would under the current Iowa Family Planning Waiver.


The document I received from DHS on Tuesday STATES on PAGE 5 – If spending exceeds the appropriated amount, CLAIMS WILL NOT BE PAID.


Yesterday, I asked a few of the bill sponsors about the letter we received from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and American College of Nurse-Midwives.


One sponsor said he’s sure he got the letter, but he didn’t read it or remember reading it.


IT WAS A WARNING LETTER ABOUT THE BILL from Iowa’s top health care professionals.




I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to IGNORE doctors warnings about the dangers of this bill to women, girls and families in our state.


DO NOT TELL ME YOU ARE SUPPORTING THIS BILL BECAUSE YOU ARE PRO-LIFE – because this bill will most certainly lead to TRAGEDY like it has already, affecting our sisters in Texas.


  • HIGHLIGHT Texas Disaster examples





This bill is dangerous and endangers the health of thousands of Iowa women.


This bill will cost Iowa taxpayers more money.


Under this bill Iowa women fewer options for their health care, NOT MORE.   It decreases access.


  • 28 Republican men and 1 Republican woman will tell women where they can go and can’t go for their care.


  • Let’s remember – 74% of Iowans support public funding to Planned Parenthood for family planning


THIS NEW PROGRAM only offers FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE birth control.


Who wants to come to a state that treats women like that?


Senate Republicans got rid of the economic development committee after taking control of the Iowa Senate.  They said ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT would be part of every committee’s work.


SO, let me say this – Senate File 2 – is a step in the wrong direction.


Gutting the Iowa Family Planning Network is not going to help Iowa improve its ranking from DEAD LAST for women entrepreneurs.


Why would we GUT the Iowa Family Planning Network?


The program works.


It SAVES taxpayers millions of dollars


It has helped reduce abortions and Medicaid costs.


We shouldn’t mess with it.


I urge the body to stand up for Iowans.


Stand up for Iowa women.


Stand up for Iowa girls.


Stand up for Iowa’s future.