Saturday, June 6, 2015

Republicans Double State Funding For Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Republicans who controlled the 2015 84th Texas Legislature doubled state funding for the Alternatives to Abortion program, which primarily funds Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Many charge the unregulated and unlicensed Crisis Pregnancy Centers are dangerously manipulative and disseminate bad information to women at an emotionally vulnerable time. To offset Alternatives to Abortion program increased funding, Republicans cut funding to other health care programs, leaving Texas women without access to cancer screenings, birth control, HIV tests, and other preventive care.

The House base budget, originally introduced in mid-January, includes about $5.1 million per year, a $1 million increase from the previous budget cycle, to the program. The House Appropriations Committee in March approved a budget rider to add an additional $4 million per year to the Alternatives to Abortion program. The “increasing funds to pregnancy centers and early childhood care” rider, proposed by state Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), increases state Alternatives to Abortion program funding to more than $9 million per year.

The nonprofit Texas Pregnancy Care Network contracts with the state to distribute funding through the Alternatives to Abortion program to 61 subcontractors, including crisis pregnancy centers, maternity homes and adoption agencies. The network claims to “help women in crisis pregnancies via free and compassionate, practical and life-affirming services,” but many facilities do not provide medical care, are virtually unregulated by the state and have been found by various investigations to offer inaccurate information designed to dissuade women from having an abortion.

Many charge unregulated and unlicensed Alternatives to Abortion facilities are dangerously manipulative. According to a 2012 Texas Observer investigation, Crisis Pregnancy Centers deliver few, if any, real health services to women, while spending more per client than family planning providers. An investigation into Crisis Pregnancy Centers by NARAL Pro-Choice Texas found these faux medical clinics use deceptive tactics, medical misinformation, and flat out lies to dissuade people with unintended pregnancies from accessing abortion services.

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