Crisis Pregnancy Centers Use Federal Funds to Promote Religion, Lie to Patients, Discriminate In Hiring Practices

One of the justifications that anti-choice activists are using to try to “de-fund” Planned Parenthood is talking point that any dollar that goes to the group is promoting abortions.  Money is fungible, they argue, so by giving the group federal funds to promote sex sex, provide contraception or health screenings, it frees up other money that can then go to abortions, indirectly supporting “taxpayer funded abortions.”

It doesn’t matter that many of the clinics getting funding don’t even provide abortions. It doesn’t matter that those who do keep entirely separate accounts and open their records to the government to prove that the federal funds are spent exactly on what they were allocated to cover. If one cent goes to Planned Parenthood, that’s a taxpayer going against his or her moral conscience and funding an abortion.

So why is money not “fungible” when it comes to crisis pregnancy centers?

The American Independent reports on the vast amount of state and federal taxpayer dollars being spent on crisis pregnancy centers across the country.  Not only are the centers actively promoting religion by thrusting a “relationship with Jesus” onto the women who enter — many of whom believe they are entering a local reproductive health clinic located in the same or an adjacent space as the center — but the centers themselves are practicing religious discrimination during their professional and volunteer hiring process, too.

Like other crisis pregnancy centers, the Rapid City Care Net seeks to prevent abortions by offering women a combination of free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, a “24 hour hotline,” and medically dubious “abortion education” (its website claims that “a number of reliable studies have demonstrated connection between abortion and later development of breast cancer”).

The Rapid City center is not alone. On its website, the facility says it “submits to the affiliation guidelines” of the national Care Net organization, which supports more than 1,100 explicitly Christian crisis pregnancy centers. Care Net requires that at each center, “those who labor as pregnancy center board members, directors, and volunteers are expected to know Christ as their Savior and Lord” and that “all board members, staff, and volunteers of the center agree with the Care Net Statement of Faith.”

And it’s not just Care Net. Across the country, crisis pregnancy centers that refuse to hire non-Christians are receiving taxpayer funding and other forms of government support.

The federal grants many of the CPCs received, according to the TAI report, were mainly for “capacity building.” But if those who oppose abortion get to “defund” a group that provides abortions because of “fungible” funding, why can’t those who oppose government promotion of religion get to do the same?

“Saving babies,” promoting Christianity, and spreading medical lies go hand in hand in CPCs across the nation. How intertwined are these? Just take a look at Stanton Health Care, the CPC that provided the “live ultrasounds” in the Idaho capitol last month, and is located next door to the Boise Planned Parenthood affiliate.

“Planned Parenthood is not happy that Stanton is right next door because they’re losing clients and they’re going to lose money,” [center owner Brandi] Swindell said. “And Planned Parenthood is all about selling abortions.”

But for those at Stanton, where all the staff are Christians, this isn’t just about stopping abortion.

“It is our heart and our hope for women to choose life for their babies and that then they’d choose Jesus for their lives,” Swindell said.

Government-funded conversions? When do we get to opt out of that?

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  • purplemistydez

    I don’t want my tax payer money going to recruiting centers for christianity and medical lies.  Anti-choicers will use any deceitful tactics to reach their goals. 

  • wildthing

    It is a simple violation of church and state for religious dogma to be use to limit legal medical procedures of any kind. So you could protest use of tax money for warsome people do and have their funds garnished. Maybe you have moral objection to selling any meds to non-christians or to pagans or to democrats. This is a taking away of people freedom by someone elses moral view that can’t keep to themselves. Apparently God requires their help to keep his world in order and free will is one of the things that has to go.

  • lindzanne

    I want someone to sue one of these places for being lied to.  Of course, that would come at a big personal cost to a pregnant or formerly pregnant woman.  I am completely baffled that these places remain legal and am really curious about the types of legal action that could be taken against them.  As a mental health professional I keep thinking about the fact that if I knew anyone in my field was providing the kind of incompetent mental health information and “care” to any of my clients that these places do, I would be prompted to report it–but CPCs can just play fast and loose with women’s mental health in the name of Jesus.  Similarly, it seems that Stanton “Health Care” makes up for the fact that they actually provide zero medical care beyond prenatal vitamins by giving their clients an ultrasound every single month (I have relatives in Boise that are unfortunately associated with Stanton, who are constantly posting videos and stories from Brandi Swindell about what goes on there)– this is completely antithetical to standard practice with pregnant women (of course there are individual differences, but research and experience tells me the average is around 2-3 ultrasounds during a pregnancy) and in direct conflict with released statements by several professional associations (gosh I wish I could find the link right now to one I recently read–a joint statement by some associations) about the responsible use of ultrasound.  I am certainly not a legal expert but just by mental health and medical ethical standards alone I think I see all kinds of grounds for legal action.  The fact that I don’t see any means I’m either wrong or we are too busy fighting in the courts for our rights already. 

  • crowepps

    It would really be interesting to do a study to see if there’s a correlation between the rapidly increasing use of ultrasounds for nonmedical purposes by barely qualified amateurs and the rapidly increasing diagnoses of autism.


  • lindzanne

    Yes!  I was reading something about the Heartbeat International national conference schedule and there was a class about ultrasounds–it was constructed around the assumption that non-medical volunteers/staff were the ones usually giving these ultrasounds and had no knowledge of what they were looking at.