CEO of Iowa’s largest abortion chain announces departure

For Immediate Release
Jenifer Bowen
President, Life Right Action

May 24, 2018–Des Moines, Iowa–News broke this week that Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH), had suddenly announced she was stepping down later this year. Her short tenure began in 2014.

We have to ask. Was this news really that surprising?

From the start, Ms. de Baca faced a daunting task. The once seemingly formidable abortion giant, PPH had already begun to show signs of strain by 2014.

Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • Clinics had already started to close and staff was being fired.
  • None of the half dozen Iowa clinics scheduled to open shortly after 2011 ever did.
  • They never got close to their goal of a walk-in abortion clinic in all 99 counties.
  • The multi-billion dollar whistleblower lawsuit, filed in 2011 by former clinic manager, Sue Thayer, was winding its way through the Courts. (It still is.)

Ms. de Baca’s job would only grow harder. In November 2016, from the Presidency on down the ticket, pro-abortion candidates and incumbents suffered decisive defeats. The Iowa Senate, once suffocating to pro-life bills, flipped hard as six pro-abortion Senators were removed. 93 of our 99 counties voted against pro-abortion candidates.

Subsequently, the Iowa Legislature, Governor Branstad and Governor Reynolds would pass historic pro-life legislation in 2017-2018. This included sweeping abortion restrictions and defunding a large portion of the tax dollars PPH had been receiving for many years.

Under Ms. de Baca’s leadership, they would shrink to two clinics in Nebraska. Six additional clinics that had been announced there also did not open. They would cut ties with their clinics in Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. Their million dollar office building in Downtown Des Moines went up for sale.

Further, by December 2017, in just seven years, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland closed twenty clinics. Many of them had been selling dangerous webcam abortions. In fact, Iowa abortion rates have plummeted nearly 50% in the past ten years.

To be fair, Ms. de Baca did not create the dire straits in her organization. Her predecessor, Jill June, did. But she certainly did not turn the ship around. It’s no doubt why she had to go.

Jenifer Bowen
Life Right Action



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