RALEIGH – A state budget proposal that cleared the General Assembly on Friday would send money to anti-abortion agencies, including an Asheville organization.
The Mountain Area Pregnancy Center is slated to receive $250,000 through a maternal and child health block grant included in the budget.
Previously named Asheville Pregnancy Support Services, the organization has pledged to provide compassionate care for women and men dealing with issues surrounding at-risk pregnancies.
Similar programs in North Carolina would receive a total of $1.5 million. Those include Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, which would get $1 million. The fellowship is an anti-abortion group that operates clinics for expecting mothers.
The GOP budget needs Gov. Roy Cooper’s signature, though Republicans have the votes to override a veto.
The executive directors of the Mountain Area Pregnancy Center in Asheville and Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship could not be reached Friday.
Opposition to funding for anti-abortion agencies has come from groups like NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.
“Some of them aren’t health centers and yet they pride themselves as such, but they will bring women in with the expectation of if you are scared and pregnant, come and see us,” said Tara Romano, NARAL’s executive director. “These groups are very clear they don’t want women accessing abortions.”
It is unclear what women are told by the groups, though some women say they have been given misleading information, Romano said.
“Giving tax dollars to these centers that are potentially putting misinformation out there could impact decisions people make for the rest of their lives,” Romano said.
The Mountain Area Pregnancy Center on it’s website says it offers a safe place for clients to make decisions after being armed with the truth.
“Nearly 90 percent of all women who see their child on our ultrasound screens choose life for their child,” the site states.
The center also offers grief support for women who chose to have an abortion. The program, titled the “Forgiven and Set Free,” helps women face that loss and the damage it has done to their own lives, as described online.
“Guided to discover the hope and healing that only Christ can give, clients become whole again, and often ready to reach out and help others who have experienced the same loss,” the program description reads.
Funding for the anti-abortion groups “sends a strong signal to women that their health, safety and well-being is not a priority for the state’s legislative majority,” said Lindsay of Robinson of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
“Women deserve medically accurate and nondirective counseling when it comes to their personal health care decisions,” Robinson said.