State-level Republicans are diverting millions of taxpayer dollars to crisis pregnancy centers, according to a Rewire investigation. Crisis pregnancy centers are anti-choice facilities masquerading as health clinics. They give women fake information, hoping to scare women out of having an abortion. Some even promise to offer abortion services, then continually delay until it’s too late for a woman to legally obtain an abortion at a real clinic. Many are sponsored by religious organizations.
“These fake clinics are vague about their services. They have slick websites meant to look like real abortion clinic websites. Women searching for an abortion clinic have to be very careful that the search results they get are actual abortion clinics,” said Ann Rose, the founder of Abortion Clinics Online. Abortion Clinics OnLine is a an abortion clinic search engine that has served women since 1995.
How Republicans Use Taxpayer Funds to Fund Crisis Pregnancy Centers
The Rewire analysis looked at state budgets, agency contracts, and other publicly available records. It found that 14 states had spent more than $40 million dollars funding crisis pregnancy centers. Yet there was little or no oversight of how those funds were used. A previous Rewire investigation found that crisis pregnancy centers measure success only based on how many people walk through their doors. So there’s no way to assess long or short-term outcomes, or weigh the effects that crisis pregnancy centers have on women considering an abortion.
Seven of the 14 states funding crisis pregnancy centers have not expanded Medicaid. Texas alone accounted for nearly half of the $40 million in wasted funds. Texas abortion clinics have had to fight a continuous stream of increasingly restrictive anti-abortion measures.
The report notes that, in some cases, the funds are diverted from safety net programs, including programs to feed needy children. So Republicans are taking money from programs that support women who opt not to have abortions, and giving that money to facilities that offer women and their children no actual resources.
State-Level Anti-Abortion Scams to Watch
Some recent Republican strategies to fund crisis pregnancy centers have included:
- A South Dakota measure that would force patients to visit fake abortion clinics. Three dozen Republicans have signed onto legislation that would require a mandatory consultation at a pregnancy support center before seeking an abortion.
- Georgia last year passed a budget that would allocate $2 million in funding for a grant that contracted with Life Resources of Georgia.
- Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Indiana have passed budgets that divert funding to Real Alternatives. Real Alternatives is a program that funds 144 fake clinics. An investigation by Pennsylvania’s auditor found that Real Alternatives has misused grant money, including to fund political activity outside of the state.
More than $13 million in federal funds will this year be diverted away from programs to feed needy families, and instead given to fake clinics.
Study after study finds that anti-choicers continually lie about abortion, whether at fake clinics, in the media, or in state informed consent laws. That’s because the truth is that most women feel relieved following an abortion, and virtually no woman takes the decision to have an abortion lightly.
A 2016 study found that abortion media coverage commonly features men lying about abortion. In many cases, these lies go unquestioned.
According to a United Nations (UN) report, repealing anti-abortion laws could save the lives of 50,000 women each year.