Meeting Public Comments
Subcommittee meeting and times are as follows:
A bill for an act creating an alternatives to abortion program, and making an appropriation.
Subcommittee members: Osmundson-CH, Boden, Wessel-Kroeschell
Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Time: 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM
Location: RM 19
Names and comments are public records. Remaining information is considered a confidential record.Comments Submitted:
Frieda Bequeaith 
As a nonprofit youth worker, sexual health educator, alloptions counselor, and a human that can get pregnant I strongly oppose HF515. This bill allocates a huge amount of money to private organizations that harm pregnant people. Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are not licensed healthcare facilities. They are not clinics where women can go for healthcare, they do not abide by HIPPA regulations, and they are not staffed with licensed healthcare professionals. Despite this, they present themselves to the community as a resource for healthcare. When I became pregnant at the age of 15, I reached out for help. I researched my options, and I called a number I found online. I now know that number belonged to a Crisis Pregnancy Center. CPCs are religious organizations that pose as healthcare clinics to target vulnerable pregnant people. They lie to, shame, and intentionally mislead people about their healthcare options. This is part of a private agenda to prevent people from seeking abortions, birth control, and having premarital sex. When I interacted with one, they blamed me for the situation I was in and lied to me about the risks of abortion. It left me feeling ashamed, isolated, and led me to believe I could not access a safe abortion without severe consequences.To illustrate the likelihood of my experience: In the city of Des Moines, we have 8 Crisis Pregnancy Centers. In the state of Iowa, we have at least 200 Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Pregnant people deserve access to factbased, nonjudgmental, and compassionate healthcare. CPCs do not provide this. These funds should instead go towards many of the evidencebased healthcare measures that ensure healthy pregnancies. Before advancing this bill, I urge all members of the subcommittee to read NARAL's 2015 report on the harm CPCs cause, attached to this comment. Thank you.Attachment
Emily Sigler 
Please oppose this bill. These CPC facilities are dangerous and these funds should go to actual health care facilities that are not religiously backed where they can fund and assist people who are in need of actual healthcare, not shame and trauma.
Caroline Schoonover 
Growing up in the Des Moines area I saw signs for places like Agape and Birthright in the most neglected, diverse, and poor neighborhoods in the city. As a child I assumed that these places helped out expectant mothers, maybe providing food or baby clothing or medical advice. As an adult I've learned that these "alternative to abortion" programs more accurately called fake clinics provide all of these things, but with harmful and dangerous strings attached. Although Innervisions, Alpha Women's Center, Agape, and Birthright claim to provide medical assistance, they are not licensed health clinics. The "free" ultrasounds they claim to provide as a way to lure poor and desperate pregnant people in to their clinics are not medically professional and can not be used in any real doctor's office. They do not abide by HIPPA and other medical privacy laws. They are fake clinics.Often these "alternative to abortion" programs lie to pregnant women about their options. Many clinics have been known to talk people into keeping pregnancies they cannot take care of or do not want for many reasons despite abortion being fully legal in Iowa. Shame is regularly used as a tactic to convince vulnerable people to stay in abusive relationships "for their child" or cancel an abortion appointment for fear of religious persecution. Once babies are born many people who were promised help from these fake clinics report not getting the financial or material assistance that they were promised. Again, strings are attached to the promises that these clinics make, which no person who is pregnant and seeking help deserves. So often these fake clinics target and harm the most desperately in need of help in our communities through lies, shame, and coercion. I urge the subcommittee to vote against HR 515. The considerable resources being proposed to uphold these harmful institutions and make them overextension of state reproductive policy would be much better put to use serving the direct material needs of the thousands of Iowans who go to bed hungry, cold, sick, or without shelter every night. Again, I urge you to vote against HR 515.
Adam Sparks 
This bill is an underhanded excuse to undermine womens reproductive rights under the guise of helping them. This money should be put toward reputable womens health organizations that give the full scope of their options.
Nicole Rhodes 
This is a wildly inappropriate use of state funds. The irony of pending almost $900,000 to discourage people from accessing safe health care in the middle of a pandemic is disgusting.
Adam Callanan 
Crisis Pregnancy Centers are private institutions that lie to people about their own health. They are dangerous on their own and giving public money to these groups is unacceptable. Iowa needs more healthcare, not fake clinics that hurt and harass pregnant people.
Travis Smith [Communist Party]
I strongly oppose Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Women have the right to competent healthcare and science based guidance. The state should not be supporting religious groups to have state supported fake clinics. This bill is aimed at expanding patriarchy which harms all people women, children and men.
Claire Mraz 
These abortion alternatives are nothing more than coercive organizations mimicking safe and reliable healthcare centers in order to shame pregnant people into continuing pregnancies they do no want. Abortion is a legal medical procedure in Iowa and funding a project that aims to market to and target pregnant people in order to convince them out of their decision to have an abortion is wrong. I strongly oppose HF515 and urge you to stop this legislation from moving forward. Iowans can be trusted to weigh their options and choose appropriately for themselves whether they wish to be pregnant, parent, or neither.
Priscilla Raile 
Oppose the HF 515 bill CPCs shame and mislead pregnant persons to block them from accessing abortion care! Free abortion, on demand, without apology!
Sandy Wilson [Citizen Engagement 411]
Citizen Engagement is registered IN FAVOR of this bill.
Michael Kitzman [Private Citizen]
Crisis Pregnancy Centers are bad for Iowa, bad for women, and just plain bad! Women who seek healthcare should not be bullied. Imagine if you needed your leg amputated and you went to a clinic that made you wait three weeks and watch a movie about how Jesus doesnt like it when we amputate legs. Furthermore, the state should not be sending funding to religious organizations.
Delfina Rose 
This is absolutely terrible for anyone that needs their reproductive rights protected. Nobody should have to be told what is OK for them to do when it comes to their body. As a citizen who could literally die from childbirth because of a syndrome i was born with that does not make my body fit to give birth, abortion is necessary for millions like this and for other reasons. Honestly I shouldnt even be listing reasons to prove it because point blank IT SHOULDNT MATTER. Let people do what they please if it does not affect you in any way. This is one of those things. You will be endangering millions with this.
Jamie Burch Elliott [Planned Parenthood North Central States & Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa]
Im Jamie Burch Elliott, lobbyist for Planned Parenthood North Central States and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa. We are opposed to HF 515. This bill would spend nearly $880,000 taxpayer dollars on an Alternatives to Abortion program that promotes childbirth in Iowa. The funds would go to Crisis Pregnancy Centers, whose mission is to prevent people from accessing the full range of sexual and reproductive health care options, including abortions. They provide false and misleading information not medical care. These Crisis Pregnancy Centers have a long and documented history of misleading women and mispresenting themselves as legitimate medical providers. CPCs are storefronts that use false information and misleading advertising, along with the offer of free pregnancy tests or other services to lure women into their offices. Their goal is to dissuade women from obtaining an abortion, often by providing information that is meant to scare or shame them. Investigations in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia all have documented CPCs intentionally misleading practices. Many of those investigated gave women inaccurate information, including that birth control and abortion increase the risk of infertility and breast cancer, that condoms are ineffective in reducing pregnancy and the transmission of certain STDs, and that abortion causes mental illnessWhere programs such as this exist, financial oversight of taxpayer funded crisis pregnancy centers is severely lacking. In some states, there is no transparency where the money given to the centers is going or how it is being spent. In Pennsylvania, one PRC faced no repercussions when it lost track of over one million taxpayer dollars. Iowans deserve access to legitimate health care. We can all agree that a woman deserves quality, medically accurate care when shes pregnancy or thinks she might be. Anyone seeking health care services should receive comprehensive, unbiased, medically and factually accurate information. Women facing pregnancy deserve no less. The information and counseling provided by CPCs often put womens health and lives at risk. Even if women seek information voluntarily, it should always be clear to a woman whether she is receiving legitimate medical care or not. A medical provider or counselor should never try to shame someone or pressure then into making a different decisions based on their own personal beliefs.
Connie Ryan [lnterfaith Alliance of Iowa]
Please see attached comments.Attachment