Des Moines, IA—Iowa lawmakers who want to outlaw abortion continued their attacks on safe, legal abortion in the state Thursday, passing out of Senate Human Resources committee SSB3145, a bill that would divert $2 million in taxpayer money to fund so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), fake health centers that prey on pregnant people to manipulate and prevent them from accessing abortion care.
The measure would create a costly new state program called “More Options for Maternal Health” that requires the Iowa Department of Human Services contract with CPCs to provide harmful and deceptive tactics preying on Iowans, rather than increasing access to affordable, high-quality sexual and reproductive health care and safety net programs. These fake women’s health centers claim to provide a full array of medical options but are known for withholding critical health information, deceiving pregnant people about their health and options, and intentionally scaring or shaming people seeking an abortion.
“For years, Iowa politicians have decimated access to reproductive health care, and now they are choosing to spend taxpayer dollars on fake health centers that don’t provide medical care,” said Jamie Burch Elliott, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa. “No matter our personal beliefs, we can all agree that Iowans deserve access to comprehensive, medically-accurate information regarding all of their health care options. We will not stand idly by while these politicians try to restrict, control, and manipulate the information provided to pregnant Iowans.”
SSB3145 uses the exact same language as a similar taxpayer-funded Texas program called Alternatives to Abortion. With lax oversight, the Texas program ballooned from $5 million to $80 million a year under the leadership of Iowa’s current Department of Human Services Director Kelly Garcia, who formerly served as the Deputy Executive Commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. As of spring 2021, there are more than 2,500 CPCs operating in the U.S.
The bill also fails to outline sufficient privacy protections for Iowans’ medical information, while lacking any minimum standards or adequate oversight. It also fails to require CPCs provide people with medically-accurate information.
Iowa lawmakers who want to outlaw abortion tacked the CPC measure onto another bill that would also increase Medicaid funding from three months to 12 months postpartum. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa (PPAI) has publicly testified against the funding for CPCs in the bill and in support of expanded Medicaid benefits.
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.