The state budget that passed the NC General Assembly in 2019 funnels at least $2.64 million to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to pursue their anti-abortion agenda. More money is being sent to some of these organizations even though even though the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has serious problems with them.
The breakdown of millions of dollars to anti-abortion organizations is as follows:
$1,200,000 (1.2 million) to Human Coalition
$1,440,000 (1.44 million) to Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship (CPCF) –
with separate allocations to various CPCs that are associated with CPCF,
including $200,000 for Mountain Area Pregnancy Services in Asheville.
$2,640,000 (2.64 million to CPCs and anti-abortion organizations)
(Source is the North Carolina General Assembly
Joint Conference Committee Report on the Current Operations Appropriations Act of 2019, House Bill 966, June 25, 2019, look for C90)
“Amid a budget showdown, legislators have allocated a record amount of at least $2.64 million in state funds to anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina.” According to Rewire.com, July 11, 2019. The article continues,
“DHHS confirmed the anti-choice Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship (CPCF) had misspent public money—to the tune of $50,000—on sectarian content in violation of federal law” AND CPCF “continued to allow the use of federal funds for some religious materials.”
This budget quadruples the amount given to the Texas-based Human Coalition organization, from $300,000 to $1.2 million, even though the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) *CANNOT* recommend the organization, and neither can the Better Business Bureau. More, including links to sources at NC_NOW_Legislative_Update #22 (1 Jul 19).
According to “NC budget would quadruple money for anti-abortion group questioned on oversight,” 6/21/19, News and Observer, the biggest questions are why is Human Coalition getting so much money (four times more, as per title). But there are good reasons to question the smaller allocation as well. “Mountain Area Pregnancy Services received federal grants starting in 2018.” And since “Mountain Area Pregnancy Services in the Mars Hill area is listed as a Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship member,” why does it receive a separate allocation at all?
There are so many problems with the state budget (like refusal to expand Medicaid), that more money for CPCs is not getting sufficient attention.
However, CPCs recently got the attention of UNC Law Professor Gene Nichol, who weighed in on the problem in “Funding NC crisis pregnancy centers is government sponsored religion,” 7/1/19, which ran in the Charlotte Observer and News and Observer.
Professor Nichol writes, “A national report published by Dr. Amy Bryant and Dr. Jonas Swartz of the UNC School of Medicine, published last year in the AMA Journal of Ethics, described the centers as “organizations that seek to intercept women with unintended pregnancies who might be considering abortion.” Because the “religious ideology of the center owners and employees takes priority, women do not receive comprehensive, accurate, evidence-based clinical information about available options.” Their propagation of misinformation “should be regarded as an ethical violation that undermines women’s health,” the doctors concluded.”
In the report, Dr. Bryant makes the case that taxpayer money should not go to CPCs and related clinics. Dr. Bryant argues that “until taxpayers can be assured that these centers conform to ethical standards of licensed medical facilities, offer sound medical advice, and do not lead to harm, states should refrain from directly or indirectly funding them.” Her national study indicated crisis centers sometimes offer “counseling that is misleading or false” and their “abortion and contraceptive” advice “falls outside accepted medical standards.”
Professor Nichol points out hypocricy of legislators who are siphoning money for CPCs. Nichol wrote, “Republican Sen. Ralph Hise, who directed a $250,000 appropriation to Mountain Area Pregnancy Services last year, said it is an “incredible” investment. Hise is the pro-life senator who has worked so diligently in recent years to kick eligible children off the food stamp rolls, though it saves North Carolina nothing because the federal government pays the bill. Sen. Hise, and the rest of what Republican Rep. Holly Grange of Wilmington calls “the middle-age white man’s club,” seem to believe North Carolina women need a lot of legislatively-sponsored counseling.”
His main point is “The state of North Carolina has no business, and it has no authority, to fund an agency’s “biblical ministry.” That is true no matter how well motivated the government-funded recipients may be or how crucial the role of religion might have become in their lives. Religion and government, in the United States, are to be kept separate — even when the religion is the one that North Carolina Republicans prefer.”
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