Missouri House Committee Cuts Funding for State Abortion Alternatives Program
by Steven Ertelt
February 17, 2010
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — The Missouri state House has cut funding for the Alternatives to Abortion program (ATA) that provides a wide range of emergency services to women facing crisis pregnancies. On Tuesday, the House Committee on Mental Health, Health and Social Services recommended the complete elimination of funding.
Now, the House Budget Committee is considering the recommendation and pro-life advocates are working furiously to restore it.
"No one can dispute that times are hard and that state budget cuts are necessary," the Missouri Catholic Conference said in a statement today.
"However, the Missouri state budget totals over 23 billion dollars. Surely, in this multi-billion dollar budget, budget writers can find $1.9 million to preserve funding for alternatives to abortion," it added.
House Budget Committee chairman Allen Icet has instructed the six appropriations committese that take the first pass of the state budget to come up with suggestions on cutting spending that eliminating the pregnancy help money is one item on the chopping block.
Sam Lee, of Campaign Life Missouri, also decried the cuts in comments to the Associated Press.
"This is a program that has been funded since the mid-1990s, through Democratic and Republican administrations," he said. If the cuts find their way into the final budget the legislature approves, "it could possibly lead to an increase in abortions, and that would be very unfortunate."
Lee is asking pro-life advocates to contact Rep. Icet and other budget committee members "and respectfully ask them to restore funding for alternatives to abortion."
The ATA program funds maternity homes, pregnancy resource centers and other organizations that offer a wide range of services to women in crisis pregnancies. Services include ultra-sounds, emergency housing and counseling, clothing, baby supplies, prenatal care, parenting skills and adoption assistance.
The program’s main competitor is the abortion industry and the Missouri Catholic Conference says Planned Parenthood already does too many abortions in the state.
In its most recent report, covering the fiscal year of July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007, St. Louis Planned Parenthood reported performing 6,396 abortions. Most of these were surgical abortions and, averaged out, it represents 105 surgical abortions per week, or 21 surgical abortions per day.
"In contrast, pregnancy resource centers funded by ATA offer women time for reflection. Women can view an ultra-sound of their developing baby. Assistance is offered not just during the pregnancy but for the first year after the baby’s birth," the Catholic group said.
As early as next week, the House Budget Committee could decide whether to restore funding for the Alternatives to Abortion Program.
This is the second time in the last several months that the program has been in jeopardy.
ACTION: Contact the Missouri legislature at https://www.moga.mo.gov and urge strong support for the Alternatives to Abortion Program.
Related web sites:
Missouri Catholic Conference – https://www.mocatholic.org
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