States Erase SOCAS, Using Tax Money to Fund Religious CPC's
mick arran printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 02:36:29 PM EST
A Palm Beach Post report on Sunday makes it crystal-clear that, as far as abortion is concerned, Florida - along with many other states - has already erased the separation between church and state by using public money to fund religious anti-abortion clinics.
Abortion opponents are running thousands of centers, called crisis pregnancy centers -- dispensing everything from baby clothes to free ultrasound pictures to prayer. There are as many as 4,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the U.S. and about 130 in Florida.

By comparison, about 1,800 centers in the U.S. provide abortions.

In Florida, the crisis pregnancy centers are supported by millions of dollars in taxpayer money. In last year's state budget, then- Gov. Jeb Bush personally put in $2 million from the tobacco settlement fund to pay for things such as billboards, radio spots and job training at the centers. Some crisis centers get state money for every hour a counselor spends face to face with a client -- $50 an hour, up to $1,300 a month.

Anti-abortion hot lines -- those numbers often called surreptitiously in the wee hours by women who think they're pregnant -- get $4 per telephone contact, e-mail or instant-message stream.

This might - might, I said - be legal if the abortion counseling these "crisis pregnancy centers" offered was legitimate but it's not. They are thinly veiled Christianist anti-abortion propaganda centers. For illustration, in a Catholic clinic called "Birthline" that reporter Emily Minor visited, a large statue of an obviously pregnant Virgin Mary was placed prominently in the hall next to the room "where women sit and watch a video of what might be growing inside them".

Mona Reis, who owns a secular pregnancy counseling clinic called Presidential Women's Center, developed a survey asking those of their clients who'd been to CPC's to talk about their experiences. Her survey has only just begun but some of the responses she's already received are instructive.

In October, a woman said that she'd been to the Care Net Pregnancy Services in Port St. Lucie -- part of a national chain of 1,000 crisis pregnancy centers.

(They) told me I could die from an abortion, that I would never have kids, preached religion, told me I should have the baby and put it up for adoption, told me I had a formed baby and how it was a sin.

Another patient had been to First Care Pregnancy Center near Florida Atlantic University off Glades Road in Boca Raton.

Survey question: Did they offer help if you continue the pregnancy? If so, what?

Yes, to provide me with clothes, milk, carriage, etc.

The woman said they'd told her "to keep the baby or adopt."

In November, one pregnant woman wrote that she'd found the Boca center in the Yellow Pages and had gone there for a pregnancy test.

"They told me to keep it, not have an abortion," the woman wrote.

Eventually, the woman came to Presidential and was assigned a counselor named Brooke, who said recently she remembers the woman because of her unsettling worries.

"She said, 'I need to know. Does this doctor, does he hate women?' At first, I was kind of stunned," Brooke said. "And I said, 'Not at all. Our doctors are very committed to women.' "

The woman wrote that a counselor told her: "abortion centers use drills knife. cut u open. doctor hate women."

But that's just the beginning. They also lie about the physical effects of abortion.

But what's more subtle -- and more common, say abortion rights supporters, medical experts and lawmakers who have watched this movement -- is that women who go to crisis pregnancy centers don't always get plain facts about fetal development, adoption, abortion and birth control.

The responsibilities of single parenting might be oversimplified. Counselors often connect abortion and breast cancer, even though today's leading medical researchers do not. Some activists tell women there's a good chance they'll miscarry after an abortion, and perhaps never have a baby at all.

And birth control?

Well, you've heard of the sympto-thermal technique, today's version of the old rhythm method.

These same Christian CPC's are receiving Federal money as well as the state funds.

Nationally, Planned Parenthood gets tens of millions of dollars in public Title X money each year for health programs -- everything from family planning to cancer detection to breast health education. Under the Bush administration, these programs have recently been "flat-funded" -- meaning money hasn't gone up to match expenses, according to Lillian Tamayo, the chief executive and president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Miami, Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast.

Instead, federal money has increased for abstinence programs and crisis pregnancy centers, Tamayo said.

What the Christian CPC's are doing in the way of pushing religion and misrepresenting both the science and the aftermath of abortion isn't new. But the wholesale funding of these religious CPC's by  numerous state govts is. Under the media radar (but then, what isn't these days?), state govts have been quietly shoveling tax money to abstinence-only religious CPC's while cutting or flat-funding secular clinics. This redistribution in favor of Christian anti-abortion groups raises serious Constitutional issues.

Those questions have been in the air since Bush announced his "faith-based initiative", but in the wake of the states' taking over and simply doing what Bush himself couldn't do publicly, we now have the specter of state govts potentially openly defying the Constitution and getting away with it. Last year, Rep Henry Waxman had staffers posing as pregnant 17-yr-olds call 25 CPC's across the country which were receiving Federal funds. The staffers actually talked to 23 of the 25.

The report claims that 20 of the 23 counselors misled the callers or told them an outright lie.

That's a pretty widespread pattern of abuse, and it follows Pat Robertson's strategy from 20 years ago that urged both the theocratic and anti-abortion movements to concentrate on local and state govt rather than the federal govt, explaining that it would be easier to reach their goals both because the playing field was smaller and because the Federal govt would be reluctant to challenge the states, especially if a lot of them were doing the same things.

Legally, there's no question that the Federal govt has the right to challenge any state's use of public tax money to fund overtly religious organizations, but politically it would be an extremely divisive and even dangerous thing to do. Some states actually require - by law - that all clinics tell their patients that there is a link between breast cancer and abortion even though no such link exists and the suggestion that it does originated in and is spread entirely by right-wing religious groups. Challenging such laws could promote a Constitutional crisis, pitting the states against the Federal govt to a degree not seen since the battle over slavery that led to the Civil War.

It seems to me too late to "nip this in the bud" - the bud has already flowered. But this incremental erasure of church-state separation has to be stopped at the state level or it will become an empty doctrine honored more in the breach than the observance.

(Post link via Queequeg the Harpooneer)

the "Abortion causes breast cancer" legislation is to find out which supporting legislators or their wives have had breast cancer, and then ask direct questions - "Rep. Jane X, it is well known that you have had breast cancer - when did you have an abortion?".  This tactic basically shelved one state's ABC law effort indefinitely. Referring to science simply didn't work, but the how-often-do-you-smack the-kids/wife question did.

by NancyP on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 11:38:52 PM EST

States erase SOCAS and it was necessary. We stand along with the state. Those things which are not ok for the community and overall for the country should be erased. So, you can buy dissertations online for those students who are looking for the best writing services. The state should take action against all these unnecessary things.

by Shand1941 on Fri Nov 20, 2020 at 02:48:39 AM EST

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