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Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or fake health centers, attempt to coerce, deceive, and manipulate pregnant people into carrying pregnancies to term.

Des Moines, IA— A Senate subcommittee in Iowa advanced a measure that would grant $2 million in taxpayer money to so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), fake health centers that prey on pregnant people to manipulate and prevent them from accessing abortion care.  

 The bill, SSB3145, 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.

 Iowa lawmakers who want to outlaw abortion tacked the CPC measure onto another bill that would also increase Medicaid funding from three months to six 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.

 “Politicians who want to outlaw abortion are hiding behind a bill that, ironically, would help Iowans by expanding Medicaid coverage,” said Jamie Burch Elliott, Public Affairs Director for PPAI. “It’s politics at its worst, and Iowans deserve better. Let’s be clear— Crisis Pregnancy Centers will not improve the health of Iowans. In fact, it’s the opposite. Instead of contracting with deceptive organizations that mislead people and endanger their health, we should support comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care professionals who provide a full range of evidence-based counseling and quality medical care.”

 SSB3145 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. 

 The measure 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. 

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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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