- Both Megan Srinivas and Austin Baeth are doctors. Both have served in the Iowa House of Representatives as Democrats representing parts of Des Moines.
Iowans come from all walks of life and come from all corners of the state. But whatever our background, each of us deserves proper health care and accurate health information. As medical professionals and legislators, we are committed to providing quality care We know the best way is to invest our tax dollars in scientifically proven ways that prioritize patient and state health.
But to do that, we need elected officials who put the people of Iowa and our health care first. Too often, Governor Kim Reynolds has put his own political agenda ahead of helping Iowans live the healthiest lives possible. We need to pass laws that encourage education and facilitate access to much-needed resources for physicians. But for years, Reynolds has taken up those resources: In 2017, her agenda forced four of her Planned Parenthood clinics to close. These clinics provided free STD testing, birth control, and cancer screening for Medicaid patients in Burlington, Bettendorf, Sioux City, and Keoc. After Reynolds closed the doors to these clinics, STDs more than doubled in the counties where they were closed, and federal Medicaid funds for family planning services sent her 300 to Iowa. It cost millions of dollars. And in 2019, Reynolds tried again. She cut funding for sex education and reproductive access to her health care.
Restricting health care options is hurting, jeopardizing, and in some cases life-threatening for Iowans. Even while facing these dire consequences, Reynolds has not learned her lesson. doing. They unfairly call themselves “crisis centers”, but the facts are clear. The American Medical Association says those who visit these centers “do not receive comprehensive, accurate, evidence-based clinical information about all available options.”
We’re all doing our best to stay healthy, especially online, and opinions are pouring in. As doctors, we understand. We want people in Iowa to have access to good information. But don’t be deceived or manipulated when seeking support for pregnancy choices, parenting or health care. We all care about people who have had or will have abortions. We must protect their right to make that decision. All Iowans need accurate information so they can decide what is best for their health and well-being.
The anti-abortion clinic Reynolds wants to fund is our state’s problem. In these clinics, providers are rarely on-site and unwilling to provide care. Instead, they use shame and fear, often in white coats, with the single-minded goal of getting people to stop having abortions. Their manipulation can cause real damage and delay people from getting the proper medical care they want. Their rogue tactics have hit hardest the groups targeted by anti-abortion clinics: communities of color and those experiencing financial insecurity. This adds an additional hurdle to caring for people already marginalized by the health system and policies.
Instead of funding deceptive and misleading programs, Iowa should invest in resources for parents, improved prenatal care, and respect and support for those seeking abortion care. We should not use our tax dollars for unethical and deceptive activities. We need to strengthen legitimate health care and social services programs that help families achieve their goals and provide accurate information and care. Get that message out to your colleagues and the governor during this year’s legislative session.
Both Megan Srinivas and Austin Baeth are doctors. Both have served in the Iowa House of Representatives as Democrats representing parts of Des Moines.