When I reported last month that states taken over by Republican legislatures in the South were likely to cut critical anti-poverty programs, I imagined that they would instead divert federal anti-poverty funds to programs conservatives like, i.e., marriage promotion, counseling for pregnant women that encourages them not to choose abortions, and other faith-based programs. I hadn't known before I did the reporting that states had a great deal of autonomy in choosing exactly where to send those federal grants, and critical programs like food stamps and early childhood education I thought, for sure, were done for.
It turns out, though, that in Texas, one of the early causalities of budget cuts will be clinics providing sonograms and "counseling" to women in order to convince them to not have an abortion, according to the Washington Independent. These clinics were faith-based and funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families federal block grants, money states will get less of in the coming year. Abstinence-only education is also being cut.
The big problem with those crisis pregnancy centers is that they usually don't provide other reproductive health services and are frequently accused of promoting religious ideas, which is against the rules if they're accepting public funds. There's not much in the story about why those programs are being cut, or whether there's a public outcry. But if Texas is actually cutting programs that demonstrably don't work instead of the ones for which people are more desperate, then that's fairly shocking.
-- Monica Potts
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