Billboards in support of women’s rights’ to abortion, featuring women who say they’ve had the procedure, are going up around Iowa amid a legal battle over the state’s fetal heartbeat law.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland said its “Say Abortion” billboards were up in Des Moines as of Friday, and additional billboards are scheduled to be released in other Iowa cities later this month.
The Iowa affiliate of the group, which provides reproductive health care and advocates for women’s access to abortions, said in a news release that the billboards are aimed at “breaking the cycle of silence and stigma” around abortion in the state.
“We are amplifying the voices of real people who have had abortions, we are talking about abortion care out loud, and we are shifting the narrative so all people can talk openly about abortion with sensitivity to the complexity of real-life individual experiences,” said Dr. Jill Meadows, medical director for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, in a statement.
The effort comes months after the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature passed a ban on most abortions in the state after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur about six weeks into a pregnancy. The legislation, which critics say would ban abortions before most women know they’re pregnant, is one of the strictest in the country.
Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the ban into law, but it’s never been in effect amid a pending lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood and the Emma Goldman Clinic.
Maggie DeWitte, executive director of Iowans for Life and a founding member of a coalition of anti-abortion groups, said of Planned Parenthood and the billboards: “They are trying to bolster a larger movement in Iowa that they simply don’t have.”
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SOURCE: USA Today; Des Moines Register, Barbara Rodriguez