Summer updates from Des Moines

• Black Lives Matter in Des Moines responds to Charlottesville

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) chapter in Des Moines hosted an event on Thursday, Aug. 27 in the wake of the Charlottesville protests and violence. According to The Des Moines Register, the event was meant to be a safe space for people of color to mourn and have their voices heard, as well as to begin formulating a plan of action to respond to the violence. The organizers of the event held a discussion where people talked about their different lived experiences surrounding race, as well as a conversation about how the events in Charlottesville made them feel and what the Des Moines community could do to support people of color. “People in Des Moines need to be reminded that there is a community here for you,” said Courtnei Caldwell, the lead coordinator of the event, in an article in the The Des Moines Register. “Often times, we get caught up in the mainstream media and news and we don’t stop to do a community check.”

• Bill cuts family planning funding, causes closing of four Planned Parenthoods in Iowa

Before leaving office to act as the U.S. ambassador to China, Republican Governor Terry Branstad signed an appropriations bill that prohibits the allocation of public funds to organizations that provide abortions. This led to the closing of four Planned Parenthood clinics across Iowa, including Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which is Iowa’s largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood does not spend taxpayer money on abortion procedures. Eight Planned Parenthood health centers remain open. The bill also ended the family-planning network waiver, which allowed those that do not qualify for Medicaid to receive coverage for various family planning services such as contraception, pelvic exams and STI testing. Instead, it reallocated over 3 million dollars to a new state-run program, a family planning network without any clinics that provide abortions. It cuts 2 million dollars in public funding to Planned Parenthood locations across the state. Suzanna de Baca, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, was quoted in The Atlantic saying that the “defunding of Planned Parenthood will set a health care crisis in motion in Iowa.” The now closed health centers served over 14,600 individual patients in the past three years.

Reporting by Mira Braneck


Reporting by Mira Braneck.