Commentary

Trumpism on the march in NC: House budget directs millions to groups that lie to vulnerable women

Donald Trump speaking

President Donald Trump

In an era in which the President of the United States is a serial liar, it probably should come as no surprise that leaders in his party at the state level would funnel public funds to groups for whom dangerous and misleading propaganda is their stock-in-trade. Still it’s always a bit of a shock to see such shameful behavior in action.

Sadly, however, that’s where we are this morning as the North Carolina House of Representatives prepares to vote on a budget bill today that would, under language added in recent days, direct $2.6 million to an anti-abortion advocacy group that masquerades as a supporter of health services to women. Here’s item #76 in the Health and Human Services section of the “money report” that accompanies the proposed budget:

“Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship

Provides funds to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship to purchase durable medical equipment for clinics that apply to the Fellowship for such equipment. Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship may use up to thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) in each year for administrative purposes. Up to $170,000 may be used each year to provide grants to clinics for training on the use of durable medical equipment. The revised net appropriation for the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship is $1.3 million in each year of the biennium.”

As Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship makes clear on its website, the group is connected to scores of so-called “pregnancy care ministries” around the state that exist to dissuade women from seeking abortion services and to urge them to carry pregnancies to term. All of which might be okay at some level if these groups were actually honest and upfront with women about what they’re really in business to do and gave those who walk in the door accurate and unbiased medical information.

As a seminal 2011 report from advocates at the NARAL Pro-Choice NC Foundation (“The Truth Revealed: North Carolina’s Crisis Pregnancy Centers”) made clear, however, that ain’t what these groups are about. This is from that report:

“Unable to shut down legitimate reproductive health clinics, the anti-choice movement built a national network of organizations of generally unlicensed, unregulated organizations posing as comprehensive health-care providers – ‘crisis pregnancy centers.’ Since 2006, the number of CPCs in North Carolina has almost doubled.

NPCNCF identified 122 CPCs in North Carolina, the vast majority of which are not medically licensed facilities and have neither medically trained nor medically supervised personnel on staff. CPCs do not provide or refer for abortion care or birth control. In addition, research conducted by NPCNCF found that most CPCs in the state provide inaccurate information that may put the health of North Carolinians at risk. Even when these centers are overseen by medical professionals, the state has no regulations in place to ensure that clients will receive medically accurate information or comprehensive, non-directive counseling; nor are there regulations that protect clients’ confidentiality. Since they are not medically licensed, HIPAA regulations do not apply to CPCs….

The primary goal of many CPCs in North Carolina is to promote an anti-choice point of view in order to dissuade women from seeking abortion care, and even from using contraception, which many CPCs incorrectly equate with abortion.

Furthermore, CPCs actively target college-aged women and women of color. Every university campus in the state has at least one CPC located within 25 miles. More than 75% of CPCs in North Carolina operate in communities with higher-than-average populations of color.”

In other words, though the so-called pregnancy care centers hold themselves out to the public as providing pregnancy testing and even ultrasound tests, they are not genuine or legitimate health care providers offering a full array of services; they are ideologues with a point of view and a mission to prevent abortions. Now, if the provision in the House budget becomes law, these  outfits will be able to ply their misleading and even dangerous trade with the support of $2.6 million in taxpayer funds over the next two years. Somewhere, the prevaricator-in-chief is smiling.

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