Des Moines, IA—Iowa politicians who want to ban safe and legal abortion today advanced a bill that would divert $1 million in taxpayer dollars to fund so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), which prey on pregnant people by manipulating and preventing individuals from accessing abortion.
The Iowa Senate Appropriations Committee approved the measure, SF2354, which would create a costly new program called “More Options for Maternal Health” that requires the Department of Human Services contract with CPCs which provide harmful and deceptive tactics on pregnant people rather than offering individuals comprehensive medical care. State Sen. Janet Petersen, a Democrat, introduced an amendment to the bill to funnel the money into providing doula care instead of funding CPCs. Republicans voted down the amendment.
“Iowans deserve comprehensive reproductive health care from licensed health care providers, not sham clinics posing as medical providers,” said Sheena Dooley, Communications Manager for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa. “Sen. Petersen’s amendment was a step in the right direction that would have provided Iowans with the nonjudgmental support and care they need during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives. Countless studies have shown doulas provide care that significantly improves health outcomes for both mothers and their baby. And that’s what Iowans deserve—not fake anti-abortion clinics.”
CPCs prey on vulnerable 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.
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 annually, 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.
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.