President Joe Biden’s administration wants to make it harder for life-saving pregnancy resource centers to obtain taxpayer dollars.
It is part of a broader attack by the Democratic Party on the nonprofit groups that help families choose life and provide them with the resources to flourish.
A pending rule would make it harder for pregnancy resource centers to use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. Centers in at least five states currently do so: Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.
While the rule does not “automatically bar” the groups, it “risks” the funding of the pregnancy resource centers, according to analysis from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The proposed rule targets “programs that only or primarily provide pregnancy counseling to women only after they become pregnant,” saying they may not meet one stated goal of “reducing out-of-wedlock pregnancies.”
TANF provides four goals, including the promotion of two-parent families and helping families so children can “be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives.”
The fourth is to “end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage.”
Pregnancy resource centers can accomplish all four.
Pregnancy centers also offer counseling and parenting classes, which can encourage unmarried couples to get married. This reduces out-of-wedlock births, both immediately and in the future.
One executive director stated her clinic “serves over 150 families each year.” This includes providing not just ultrasounds and medical exams during the pregnancy, but “food, diapers, furniture, and clothing after her baby is born.”
“We offer mentoring, educational programs and financial assistance too during that time — help with housing, transportation, utilities, and even college tuition,” the center director said. “It’s unfortunate this new policy harms the women and families TANF was created to help.”
Furthermore, the job training and education provided reduce dependence on government benefits down the road.
The administration appears to suffer from the misguided view that the only goal of a pregnancy resource center is to get a woman to not have an abortion. This is also not true.
Louisiana’s Alternatives to Abortion program “spent under $1 million and served 5,200 clients facing unplanned pregnancies with over 6,000 peer counseling sessions, 5,000 parenting class visits, 3,500 abstinence sessions, and 11,700 referrals for support services,” according to a letter from legislators.
An estimate by the Charlotte Lozier Institute calculated pregnancy resource centers provided $266 million worth of services and goods to clients in 2019.
Congress created TANF in 1996 specifically to give states more flexibility to address poverty.
Kentucky “provides financial and medical assistance to needy dependent children in Kentucky and the parents or relatives with whom the children live,” for example. The state “also helps families find jobs or get training that leads to a job.”
Maryland provides “cash assistance” with requirements to avoid substance abuse.
Each state should be reasonably free to shape its anti-poverty programs with this money.
Pregnancy resource centers are effective at keeping people on their feet and setting them on the right path. The Biden administration should drop this rule.