GOP bill would fund security grants for 'pregnancy centers' only if they oppose abortion
Bill sponsor Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho specified that the grants would not be available to any organizations that ‘perform, assist, counsel, prescribe, refer to an abortion provider, or encourage abortion.’
A bill filed on Tuesday by Senate Republicans would provide new federal grants to upgrade security measures to protect “pregnancy-help organizations,” but only if they are anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers.”
Idaho Sen. Jim Risch announced in a press release that he and Sens. Mike Crapo (ID), Ted Cruz (TX), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Josh Hawley (MO), and Marco Rubio (FL) had introduced the Pregnancy Center Security Act to “to enhance security for pro-life pregnancy centers and to protect staff and patients from potential violence and extremism. The legislation will establish a grant program for pregnancy-help organizations to implement security upgrades, including the installation of security cameras and systems.”
The press release, published by Risch’s office, made clear that the mandatory grants, that is, grants that are required to be awarded to any qualified applicant, would not be available to any organizations that “perform, assist, counsel, prescribe, refer to an abortion provider, or encourage abortion.”
“Pro-life pregnancy centers across the nation, which provide vital resources for women, the unborn, and our communities, have become targets for violent attacks. To ensure these life-saving centers can continue to safely operate, the Pregnancy Center Security Act would create a grant program to enable security upgrades,” Risch said. “While the fight for life is far from over, the Pregnancy Center Security Act is a step in the right direction to ensure those on the frontlines protecting life are safe.”
An estimated 4,000 anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers operate in the United States, frequently giving patients false or misleading information in an attempt to manipulate them into not terminating their pregnancies. Often, they circumvent medical regulations, and many already receive significant public funding.
While some crisis pregnancy centers have recently been vandalized, none of the grants specified in the bill would go to health organizations that provide abortion care, which have endured a significant amount of violence from anti-abortion extremists.
According to the Justice Department, individuals have been charged more than 20 times with violent threats or attacks against reproductive health care providers since 2010.
The National Abortion Federation reported in May 2022 that in the previous year, abortion providers saw “a significant increase in stalking (600%), blockades (450%), hoax devices/suspicious packages (163%), invasions (129%), and assault and battery (128%),” compared to 2020.
“Since 1977, there have been 11 murders, 42 bombings, 196 arsons, 491 assaults, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities directed at patients, providers, and volunteers,” the group noted.
House Republicans passed a nonbinding resolution in January “condemning the recent attacks on pro-life facilities.” They have neither advanced nor co-sponsored a Democratic resolution condemning “all acts of political violence, as well as attacks on health care facilities, health care personnel, and patients,” including abortion providers.
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in January sponsored the Standing with Moms Act, which would force the federal government to spend public dollars on the creation and operation of an anti-abortion website that would direct patients to anti-abortion facilities exclusively.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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