Iowa Democrats Condemn AG Brenna Bird’s Halting of Access to Emergency Contraceptives for Sexual Assault Victims

Republican Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird is baselessly halting access to emergency contraceptives for sexual assault victims under the guise of an “audit” that has now taken more than a year and gone nowhere. 

A recent investigation by the Des Moines Register revealed that the office of AG Brenna Bird has stalled the release of an audit on victim services, resulting in a year-long pause on payments for vital reproductive healthcare services. 

Auditing rape victim services is not, and has never been, a responsibility of the Attorney General – nor is calling it an audit truthful to what Attorney General Bird is actually doing. Attorney General Bird is referring to this action as an audit to make it sound as if she is doing due diligence, but in reality, she’s simply looking for an easy way to implement an unpopular policy that harms children and survivors of sexual assault. 

In addition, even if what Attorney General Bird is doing could be called an audit, halting these services would not be a requirement to move forth with said “audit.” When an audit is conducted upon services provided by a city or state agency, those services are not halted altogether – so why is Attorney General Bird halting access to emergency contraceptives for sexual assault victims? 

Attorney General Bird has also tried to say she is conducting this audit out of concern for Iowans’ taxpayer dollars – but taxpayer dollars have never funded these services. If Attorney General Bird had truly done her “due diligence”, she would have known that these services are funded entirely through fines paid by criminals convicted of crimes. So why is Attorney General Bird saying that this audit is investigating whether or not these services are a good use of taxpayer dollars when no taxpayer dollars are involved? Here’s why: because it was never about taxpayer dollars. It was about her own partisan interests and ambitions.

This move directly undermines the well-being and rights of sexual assault survivors across our state. Access to emergency contraceptives is not only a matter of reproductive health but also a fundamental aspect of ensuring survivors have control over their bodies and their futures.

“The trauma and the pain the attorney general’s decision is putting victims through in this case literally makes my skin crawl,” said Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand. “[…] At this point to me, it’s abundantly clear that whatever is going on over there is politics.”

“Attorney General Brenna Bird’s decision to halt access to emergency contraceptives for over a year without any sort of update is a new low,” said IDP Chair Rita Hart. “It’s a disservice to the rights of sexual assault survivors and puts her own political agenda above the needs of Iowans.”