Gov. Reynolds Wants More Funding For Questionable Pregnancy Centers



Pool photo: Kelsey Kramer/Des Moines Register

In a state conditional address Tuesday evening, Gov. Kim Reynolds called for more taxpayer money toward programs aimed at preventing abortions.

More options for Maternity Assistance Bills (MOMs) passed last year “commit to promoting healthy pregnancies and births, not abortions, as a fundamental part of the mission of program administrators.” Directed $500,000 in state funding for nonprofits.

Reynolds sought a $2 million investment from Congress this year.

“This sends a powerful message,” Reynolds said in his speech. It’s about surrounding with support,” he said. “Every woman facing an unplanned pregnancy deserves to know that she deserves this and that she is not alone.”

Non-profit organizations with these missions are called emergency pregnancy centers. They often masquerade as clinics and use misinformation about the safety and effectiveness of abortion procedures to argue against them. Also, centers often cause delays in treatment and jeopardize privacy.

That’s why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that critical pregnancy centers endanger public health.

Rep. Megan Srinivas (D-Des Moines, also a doctor) has spoken to patients she’s been to at critical pregnancy centers and is concerned about giving those institutions more money. .

“I have seen many of my own patients come to me with completely false information because they are not under the care of a doctor. hmm,” she said.

Critical Pregnancy Centers are not staffed by medical professionals and are not bound by patient privacy and confidentiality laws such as HIPAA.

According to the Crisis Pregnancy Center Map, there are 43 facilities in Iowa. Birthright has centers in most major Iowa cities including Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City, Burlington, Council Bluffs and Cedar Rapids.

Many have names such as “pregnancy resource centers” or “women’s centers” and are mostly associated with religion.

Srinivas said he would like more information on what the money will be used for. She also said she would like to see certification and credentialing requirements if the program is expanded.

“Otherwise, I think the current crisis center is actually dangerous,” Srinivas said.

Mazie Stilwell, director of public relations for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa, agrees.

“I think it’s very dangerous to allow this kind of misinformation to spread, but it’s not just going to spread, it’s going to get taxpayer money,” she said. “The fact that we are going to put the state budget into such a commercial scam is really disgusting to communities that are trying to make their health worse.”

Stilwell said county health departments and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program are existing resources for providing pregnancy support and prenatal services.

“The goal here is to see those diapers or what it is,” she said. Let’s be able to actually support it, not just flush it down the toilet without being accountable for where the money actually goes.”

Iowa’s abortion rate fell steadily until the state pulled out of federal family planning services in 2017, but then rose again after the decision was made.

According to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health, 3,269 abortions were performed in the state in 2017. 3,566 in 2019, increased to 4,058 in 2020.

“What state leadership is doing now is depriving people of choice, deteriorating their health and providing absolutely all necessary reproductive health care, including access to safe and legal abortion. But it also includes testing and treatment, access to contraceptives, and all the care people need to live healthy and fulfilling lives,” said Stillwell. said.

Additionally, Iowa has a shortage of obstetricians and gynecologists. Data from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists show that Iowa has the fewest number of gynecologists per capita in the United States. Of her 99 counties in Iowa, 66 do not have access to obstetrics and gynecology and childbirth services.

Those who suffer from these deficiencies are most often those who live in rural areas, those with limited travel flexibility, and those of color.

“If the goal here is to support people who want to have children or expand their family, there are plenty of tools you need to do that,” Stilwell said. “We know what it takes to support people. And we have the network to do it. And it’s not by throwing taxpayer dollars into these fake businesses.” is not.”

Nicoel Hytrek
1/11/23

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