Reproductive health care clinics continue to provide services post-Roe

With the future of abortion access in Iowa unknown, reproductive health care clinics continue to provide additional health care including STI screenings and treatment, gender reaffirming care, and contraceptive access.


Grace Smith

Executive Director of the Emma Goldman Clinic Francine Thompson speaks during “Bans Off Our Bodies Day of Action for Abortion Rights,” a nationwide day of protests, on the Pentacrest at the University of Iowa on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Thompson encouraged supporters to keep fighting because she said the fight is not over yet.

Liam Halawith, News Reporter

Reproductive health care clinics like the Emma Goldman Clinic and Planned Parenthood continue to provide reproductive health care to Iowans as lawmakers look to restrict abortion access in Iowa.

With Iowa abortion restrictions up in the air, including the six-week Fetal Heartbeat bill that previously passed in 2018, uncertainty arises for clinics like Planned Parenthood, which performed 4,058 abortions in 2020, and the Emma Goldman Clinic. Reproductive health care clinics in Iowa could face prosecution if they continue to provide reproductive health care.

Francine Thompson, executive director of the Emma Goldman Clinic, said abortions are still necessary with or without the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24.

“Ending Roe v. Wade doesn’t end the need for abortions, and it doesn’t end the need for the Emma Goldman Clinic,” Thompson said. “We’ll continue to do what we do, which is provide reproductive health care services. The services we do provide for folks in the Midwest will be even more essential if there is a total abortion ban in Iowa.”

Thompson said she expects the Republican-led legislature to pass more restrictive abortion laws.

“I wish I had a crystal ball, but I don’t. And we know that there will be continued attacks on the right to choose,” Thompson said.

The Emma Goldman Clinic is seen in Iowa City on Monday, June 13, 2022. (Gabby Drees)

Planned Parenthood North Central States, which serves Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota, said in a press release on June 17 that a 24-Hour mandatory would be a burden for those trying to get an abortion.

Planned Parenthood brought forward the case to strike down the original Iowa Fetal Heartbeat bill. The plaintiffs in this matter were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said these restrictions and requirements in the six-week Fetal Heartbeat bill, imposed by the courts and the legislature, will make abortion access out of reach for many who can’t overcome the logistical needs to get an abortion.

Thompson said this isn’t the end for abortion access in Iowa, but it will be a long fight for abortion rights.

Thompson also said most people who aren’t actively trying to get pregnant don’t know they are pregnant at six weeks and the six-week Fetal Heartbeat bill will effectively stop abortions in Iowa.

“We are in for a really long fight to change things around and that won’t happen in the next year or next couple of years if there is a ban in Iowa, because a six-week ban is essentially like a total ban on abortion,” Thompson said.

Clinics like the Emma Goldman Clinic will continue to offer essential services that come with reproductive health including contraceptives, gender-affirming care; and STI screening, testing, and treatment.

“The Emma Goldman Clinic will still be there supplying the other critical reproductive health services to those folks as they make decisions about their families,” Thompson said.

RELATED: Iowa Supreme Court denies Reynolds’ request to rehear abortion case

Gov. Kim Reynolds recently announced in a press release on June 28 that she would be taking legal action to restore Iowa’s Fetal Heartbeat bill that outlaws abortion after six weeks, or when a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected in the womb.

When the bill was first signed in 2018 it was one of the most restrictive pieces of legislation regarding abortion access. Today it is considered less restrictive as states like Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and South Dakota have all banned or strictly limited abortion.

The bill was struck down by a Polk County district court in 2018 stating the ban violates Iowa’s Constitution and that abortion was a fundamental right for women. This was based off precedent used in the case Roe v. Wade that was overturned in the recent Dobbs v. Jackson

The Iowa Supreme Court has recently overruled that 2018 ruling but did not lift the injunction on the 2018 law. Reynolds is now looking to have that injunction lifted and for the law to go into effect as soon as possible.

Currently, Iowa prohibits abortions after 21 weeks of pregnancy.