Falsely-based fear of providing abortions leads to de-funding of crucial NEICAC

Emily Crowe, Editor-in-Chief

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The Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC) received about 50 percent of its funding from the Iowa Family Planning Network Waiver (IFPN) last year. According to NEICAC’s website, this non-profit provides “Early Childhood Education, Housing, Family Services, Regional Transit, Family Planning, and Energy Assistance.”

You will note that in that list of services the NEICAC provides to low-income families in Decorah, abortion is not included.

And yet, because of a fear that tax payer money might go toward providing abortions—which are an important aspect of women’s healthcare, but that is beside the point—this community-centered organization may lose a large portion of its funding, essential to help underprivileged Winneshiek county residents.

While Energy Assistance, Regional Transit, Housing, and Early Childhood Education may not seem like the most relevant services for Luther students, the Family Planning services provide birth control, sexual health care, cancer screening, and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) testing to anyone, regardless of gender or income. That means that even as college students with little to no extra funds, Luther students can drop in to NEICAC and receive the healthcare that they need at a reduced rate, often cheaper even than visiting Health Services on campus.

Prices at NEICAC are prorated depending on clients’ ability to pay, so it is difficult to say exactly how much each of their services cost. They are also able to bill Medicaid and private insurance which can sometimes be a problem through health services. For instance, if you were to go to Health Services for emergency contraceptives, it would cost you $30. If you don’t have health insurance, this is actually a pretty good deal. However, if you were to stop into NEICAC, you might be able to get them for free or at least cheaper. This will likely not be the case when their funding is cut due to the Iowa House of Representetives decision to discontinue the Medicaid fund to prevent abortions, something that is already not being done at the NEICAC.

If the idea that an organization that does so much good is losing funding because people are scared it might perform a service that it has never and does not perform makes you mad—and it should—you should call our Iowa Representatives and let them know. They can be reached by phone as follows: Kevin Koester (R) at 515-321-6575, Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D) at 515-281-3221, and Shannon Lundgren (R) at 563-451-6200. Phone calls are short and easy, and much more effective than writing letters. For more information, reference page two article titled, “Bill moves to Iowa House to reallocate clinic funding” in this issue.

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