Feb. 14, 2007
The Los Angeles Times noted this week, somewhat disparagingly, that government funding for crisis pregnancy centers is on the rise in many states:
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.
Which group doesn't like this trend of using state funds to encourage women not to have abortions? It's none other than the number one foe of unplanned childhood everywhere — Planned Parenthood. The nation's leading abortion provider is apparently sour on its newfound competition:
In 2005, Texas lawmakers redirected $25 million that was to have gone to Planned Parenthood over two years. Most went instead to primary-care health clinics (which provide contraception but not abortion). But $5 million of the money was set aside for antiabortion centers that do not provide medical care and will not refer clients to clinics that prescribe birth control.
To deal with its 62% budget cut, the Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Austin began charging for services long offered free to low-income women. Since the fees took effect, the clinic has distributed 40% fewer birth control pills and has conducted 50% fewer Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer. Several thousand patients have stopped coming.
While the article makes Planned Parenthood seem as if it were ready to cut off the heat and make its staff work for free, it does point out that the national organization did receive over $280 million in public funds last year — hardly a pittance. The article quotes Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, as saying, "It's reprehensible that taxpayer dollars are going to organizations that regularly and deliberately deceive women."
Now, that's a statement we can all agree with.