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Des Moines, IA — The Iowa Senate today advanced a bill loosening 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. These fake women’s health centers use deceptive tactics and religiously-laced propaganda to pressure people into not having an abortion and providing inaccurate medical advice. 

Senate Republicans adopted the measure with a 31-16 vote, after Sen. Janet Peterson (D-Des Moines) and Sen. Sarah Trone Garriott (D-West Des Moines) introduced amendments to the bill that failed along party lines.  

Those amendments would have required anti-abortion centers to follow HIPAA privacy standards and post a notice at their entrance and in all marketing materials if they aren’t a licensed health care provider. Under the amendments, ultrasounds could only be performed by a licensed medical professional trained to conduct and interpret ultrasounds and all services provided would need to be evidence based. Additionally, they would have required public posting of funding recipients and services provided.  

 “Today, Iowa Republican Senators voted against transparency and privacy protections for their constituents,” said Mazie Stilwell, Public Affairs Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa. “It is shameful that these lawmakers have ignored real solutions to the multiple heath care crises facing this state. Instead, they are focused on a flailing program that has yet to get off the ground after two years and diverts millions of taxpayer dollars to anti-abortion centers. These centers prey on vulnerable, unknowing Iowans and feed them with misinformation while posing as legitimate health care providers. Despite that, politicians who control state government are selling them as a solution for people facing unplanned pregnancies.”  

The state has failed twice to find a contractor to run its MOMS program, which was created in 2022 and requires a third-party administrator with at least three years of experience to administer it. SF 2252 would allow the state to run the program – even though the state is already awarding contracts without authority – 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.    

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.    


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