DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa Senate appropriations subcommittee advanced a bill that quadruples funding to Governor Reynolds’ MOMS program.

The bill increases funding to the MOMS program to $2 million in fiscal year 2024, compared to just $500,000 in fiscal year 2023.

The MOMS program was just established last year. It looks to provide support to pregnant women and their families by reducing abortions and improving pregnancy outcomes through pregnancy resource centers.

The bill also establishes a family obstetrics fellowship program, a way to incentivize those working in the field to stay in the state. The bill also gives state employees who give birth four weeks of paid parental leave and one week to state employees who didn’t give birth.

Senate Democrats were for every section of this bill, except for division one, which is the MOMS program funding increase. Democrats and lobbyists were worried about potential religious ties to pregnancy resource centers and didn’t want taxpayer dollars to be tied to that. They also were concerned about the data, or lack of, that has been sent back to legislators on the MOMS program.

“My only concern is the MOMS section and the lack of medical care, true medical care that they receive there. Five-hundred thousand dollars was appropriated and all $500,000 has been given out in administrative costs,” said Iowa State Senator Molly Donahue, (D), District 37 from Cedar Rapids.

Since the bill went through the appropriations subcommittee, it only has to clear the appropriations committee to be able to be debated on the Senate floor. The chair of the subcommittee, Iowa State Senator Jeff Edler, (R), District 26 from State Center, said at the end of the subcommittee that he intends for this bill to be run on the floor separately from the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services budget that will be making its way through the chamber this month.