House Democrats propose resolution on women’s health

Pregnant WomanBy Bob Eschliman


As the old saying goes, the devil is in the details. And it couldn’t be more true for Iowa House leadership regarding a resolution offered by the Democrat minority this week.

On its title, House Resolution 18 – authored by state Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames) co-sponsored by 27 of her Democratic colleagues – seems like the kind of “feel good” resolution, as most resolutions are, that is easily adopted. It states:

“A resolution express the House of Representatives’ commitment to women’s health and well-being.”

Once one gets beyond the title, however, it’s clear the resolution is meant as a swipe at House Republicans who pushed an amendment to an abortion prerequisites bill last week. Debate on the bill – in reality, Democratic efforts to delay a vote – shattered the rules of decorum more than once.

HR 18 renews an argument Democrats attempted to make during the five-hour abortion debate: that “family planning services” are beneficial to women’s health and a fiscally responsible use of taxpayer money. Among the points the draft resolution makes:

  • According to the Guttmacher Institute, 182,690 Iowa women were in need of publicly supported family planning services in 2012.
  • According to a study in 2009 by the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, every dollar invested in family planning services saved $15.12 in public expenditures over a five-year time period.
  • Improving the health and well-being of women is a goal of the Healthiest State Initiative.
  • Approximately half of pregnancies are unintended, and preventing unintended pregnancies benefits child health, maternal health, and the health and well-being of families and society as a whole.

The resolution ends with a statement that the House supports efforts to:

  • Make improving women’s health a priority during the 86th General Assembly.
  • Ensure that all women have access to the best available, scientifically based health care.
  • Ensure that women have access to safe childbearing, with resources available to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.
  • Ensure that women have the autonomy to decide whether to have children, the number and spacing of their children, and to have medically accurate information, education, and access to health services to make these decisions.
  • Ensure that women have access to affordable insurance coverage for all of their pregnancy-related health care needs, including contraception and abortion, as well as for their general health care needs including coverage through Medicare, the Iowa Wellness Plan, and the Iowa Marketplace Choice Plan.
  • Ensure that women are afforded autonomous decision making, informed consent, privacy, and confidentiality regarding their health care.
  • Work to end health disparities for women, including with regard to ethnicity, race, gender, and sexual orientation.