Sunday, February 18, 2007
States Fund Anti-Abortion Advice
Stephanie Simon of the Los Angeles Times writes in States Fund Anti-Abortion Advice:
In an experiment that's opening a new front in the culture wars, a growing number of states are paying antiabortion activists to counsel women with unplanned pregnancies.
At least eight states — including Florida, Missouri and Pennsylvania — use public funds to subsidize crisis pregnancy centers, Christian homes for unwed mothers and other programs explicitly designed to steer women away from abortion. As a condition of the grants, counselors are often barred from referring women to any clinic that provides abortions; in some cases, they may not discuss contraception either.
Most states still spend far more money subsidizing comprehensive family planning, but the flow of tax dollars to antiabortion groups has surged in recent months, as programs have taken effect in Texas and Minnesota.
The trend alarms abortion-rights supporters, who assert that the funds would be better spent — and would prevent more abortions — if used to expand access to birth control. But to antiabortion activists such as Nancy McDonald, the funding is both practical and symbolic, a way of putting the state's stamp of approval on their work.
"It's a subtle thing," said McDonald, who runs five crisis pregnancy centers in South Florida. "But people seem to think if you're affiliated with the state, you must be good."
Read more about "Crisis Pregnancy Centers":
Planned Parenthood "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" Report (which addresses Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) report on CPCs).
National Abortion Federation Policy Report on Crisis Pregnancy Centers