Crisis Pregnancy Centers Manipulate Pregnant People To Prevent Them from Accessing Abortion
Des Moines, IA—Iowa politicians who want to outlaw abortion advanced a bill in the Iowa Senate today that diverts $2 million in taxpayer money to fund so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), which prey on pregnant people by manipulating and preventing individuals from accessing abortion care.
The measure, SF2354, 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 on pregnant people. CPCs prey on Iowans, rather than increasing access to affordable, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care and safety net programs. CPCs 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.
“The Crisis Pregnancy Centers bill siphons $2 million in taxpayer dollars from programs that could provide information and health care that patients need, without shame or stigma, to instead fund fake health centers,” said Sheena Dooley, Communications Manager of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa. “Regardless of our personal beliefs, we can all agree that Iowans deserve to have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care. Iowans deserve and need medically accurate health care.”
SF2354 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.