(From NC Policy Watch)

Republican legislators found more than $1.5 million in their budget blueprint for anti-abortion groups across North Carolina.

As News & Observer reporter Will Doran explains:

Perhaps the biggest religious recipient of state money is Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, a pro-life group that operates clinics for expecting mothers statewide, which will receive $1 million.

However, that’s actually a cut from the $1.3 million legislators had previously approved for the group. This year’s budget takes the $300,000 cut from that group and redirects it to a different pro-life group, the Human Coalition, which describes itself explicitly as opposing the “abortion industry.”

The Human Coalition will use part of its state funding to develop and implement a two-year pilot program at its  Raleigh clinic to assist women to continue their pregnancies to full term, with a trained mentor guiding the woman to “positive lifestyle changes.”

Lawmakers have also requested a report by April 2019 that could see the program receive more funding and  possible expansion statewide.

Yet another line item in the budget is $250,000 for Mountain Area Pregnancy Services in western North Carolina, whose mission is to be “a relevant Christ-centered outreach ministry” providing counseling and education for pregnant women.

Tara Romano, Executive Director of NARAL-Pro Choice North Carolina, criticized the effort to expand funding to  anti-abortion centers even as women’s health suffers:

“Providing access to affordable health care for the approximately 250,000 North Carolina women without health insurance should be a top priority for North Carolina lawmakers. Instead, they’ve refused to expand Medicaid, stopped state funding going to safety net health care provider Planned Parenthood, and are now continuing to funnel over $1 million in taxpayer money to anti-abortion fake women’s health clinics that do not provide comprehensive medical care.

These centers deceptively advertise themselves as health clinics, but many times are not staffed with medical personnel, and they often spread inaccurate and misleading medical information in order to scare and shame women from accessing the reproductive health care they may be looking for, such as abortion or birth control. There is little evidence this diversion of funds is improving maternal or infant health in North Carolina.”

Click here to read the full budget bill. (The Division of Public Health section begins on page 79.)

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