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Des Moines, IA — Iowa Rep. Jon Dunwell (R-Newton) today introduced a bill that would loosen accountability requirements for the state and third-party contractors administering the stalled MOMS program, which currently diverts $2 million in taxpayer money to anti-abortion centers.  

The state has failed twice to find a contractor to run the program, which was created in 2022 and requires a third-party administrator with at least three years of experience to administer it. HF2057 would allow the state to run the program, but also removes the three-year requirement for contractors, resulting in illegitimate organizations being eligible to receive millions of taxpayer dollars. The bill also reduces transparency for the public by removing the requirement for program administrator and subcontractor criteria to be published on the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services website.  

"In a state with 33 counties designated as maternity care deserts, Iowans need increased access to actual medical care,” said Ruth Richardson, Planned Parenthood North Central States President and CEO. "They face multiple health care crises because some politicians have focused their efforts on deeply harmful policies like defunding essential family planning programs. Planned Parenthood is committed to ensuring Iowans have access to the essential reproductive health care they so desperately need. We know that there are real solutions that will bolster actual reproductive health care in Iowa, reduce preventable disparities, and improve health outcomes, so it is deeply disappointing that anti-choice politicians are more interested in making it easier to deceive Iowans in need rather than increasing access to essential expert health care across the state." 

Anti-abortion centers do not provide actual medical care and lack any meaningful state or federal medical oversight. Because they are not legitimate medical providers, they are not bound by data privacy laws like HIPAA. Instead, they use false and misleading tactics to lure pregnant people through their doors. They present themselves as actual health care professionals, putting vulnerable people’s health in danger. Their only goal is to prevent people from having abortions through their propaganda.  

The Iowa MOMS program is based off a similar program in Texas, that was created under Kelly Garcia’s leadership. Garcia now is the director of the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. The Texas program ballooned from $5 million a year to more than $100 million, as other core state programs went through budget cuts.  

“This bill is just another example of Iowa politicians being out of touch with the constituents they serve and the needs of our state,” said Mazie Stilwell, Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa. “Rather than dumping more taxpayer dollars into a program clearly destined to fail, Iowa lawmakers ought to be addressing the skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted infections and maternal mortality, which is disproportionately harming Black and brown Iowans. If anti-abortion politicians are committed to sinking more funding into this program, it should at least come with increased accountability and transparency, not less. Anti-abortion centers are a stain on our state. Iowans need to voice their opposition to this dangerous program and remind their elected representatives they are paying attention to their reckless behavior.”  

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Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa (PPAI) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a mission of fostering and preserving a social and political climate favorable to reproductive health. To meet this mission, PPAI engages in lobbying, issues education, and supporter mobilization.

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