Missouri Senate Cmte Approves Budget With Abortion Alternatives Funds
by Steven Ertelt
April 16, 2004
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Governor Bob Holden’s objections to the funding notwithstanding, a Missouri state Senate panel has moved forward with providing funds for an abortion alternatives program. Groups involved in the effort say it was successful in helping hundreds of young, pregnant women until Holden axed its funds.
The Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a state budget bill that includes the abortion alternatives funding instead of funds for family planning agencies like Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business.
In March, a House panel restored funding in its version of the bill. The request amounts to $575,000 that will begin in the next fiscal year, starting in July.
Members voted 7-5 for a motion by Sen. Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, to remove the $4.9 million intended for health and family planning services. Shields said he didn’t want the money going to businesses that perform abortions.
The abortion alternatives program housing and utilities subsidies, adoption assistance and parenting skills education to women with unexpected pregnancies.
The program existed for 12 months before Holden cut its funds. During that time, it helped 648 women with pregnancy assistance while only two women in the program had abortions.
Mike Halterman, CEO of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, was one of the people involved with the program who was disappointed by Holden’s decision.
Tricia Schlechte, deputy director for health and public health in the Department of Health and Senior Services, told the Associated Press that the program wouldn’t be difficult to restart even though it has been dormant for over a year.
The abortion alternatives program was the only one at the state health department canceled under Holden’s budget slashing. Other program lost funds, but were kept in place.
Thirty-one Democratic House members sent a letter to Holden asking him to renew the funding, but he refused.
"The Missouri Alternatives to Abortion program is a pro-woman, pro-family effort that helps working people and the poor," the Democratic lawmakers wrote in their letter to Holden.
"It benefits families from both rural and urban areas, and is available to women of color and from ethnically diverse backgrounds. That is certainly in the finest traditions of the Democratic Party."
Related web sites:
Missouri Legislature: https://www.moga.state.mo.us