In case you missed it yesterday, the good people at the Washington, DC-based watchdog group, the Campaign for Accountability filed a 93-page complaint with North Carolina officials regarding what it alleges to be the unlawful activities of an anti-abortion group that has received significant state funding. Of course, the problems caused by so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” are nothing new in our state. Click here to read an essay on the subject written last year by a family physician based in Hillsborough and here to read more about state funding for these troublesome outfits.
This is from a release that accompanied the new complaint:
Today, Campaign for Accountability (“CfA”), a government watchdog group focused on public accountability, called on North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen, and the Internal Auditor for the Department of Health and Human Services, David King, to investigate and terminate a contract between the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) and Human Coalition. In 2017, as a part of its appropriation to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship (“CPCF”), North Carolina awarded Human Coalition a two-year grant totaling $600,000. The funding was intended to enable Human Coalition to develop a Continuum of Care pilot program to assist women experiencing unexpected pregnancies to carry their pregnancies to full term, but the organization appears to be using the appropriated funds to support religious activities in violation of the United States and North Carolina Constitutions, as well as the explicit terms of its CPCF appropriation.
CfA Counsel Alice Huling said, “The state granted Human Coalition funding to help support women with unplanned pregnancies, yet the reality is, those taxpayer funds have been spent proselytizing, which is not the same as actual healthcare. North Carolina’s governor, attorney general, and Department of Health and Human Services should investigate Human Coalition’s misuse of taxpayer dollars and terminate the contract.”
Human Coalition, a Texas-based nonprofit opposing abortion, was first incorporated in North Carolina in 2015, and first took over operation of the Curo Women’s Care Clinic of Raleigh in 2016. In June 2017, the General Assembly appropriated $1.3 million to fund Pregnancy Care Initiatives at CPCF and required CPCF to transfer $300,000 each year to Human Coalition for its Continuum of Care pilot program.
Both the state and federal constitutions prohibit the use of public funds to promote or endorse religious activities. In addition, the CPCF appropriation agreement explicitly provides that Continuum of Care funding “shall be used for nonsectarian purposes only.”
Nevertheless, Human Coalition has improperly used its state funding for religious purposes. For example, the organization’s volunteer applications ask whether applicants have “made a personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ,” and how they rate their “knowledge of what the Bible teaches about abortion.” Similarly, while pairing women with trained mentors is an explicit requirement of the Continuum of Care program, Human Coalition’s mentoring program is designed to “help connect clients to the church.”
Ms. Huling continued, “Human Coalition has been spending taxpayer money on overtly religious activities in violation of the state and federal constitutions as well as the explicit terms of its grant agreement. The only question now is: will the state allow this unconstitutional program to continue?”
State leaders need to respond ASAP.