Arizona bill would award $7.5M to prevent abortions

Arizona bill would award $7.5M to prevent abortions
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Arizona legislative committees on Wednesday pushed forward a bill that seeks to prevent abortions by directing $7.5 million over the next three years to adoption services and apparently funding crisis pregnancy centers that abortion-rights advocates say provide “misleading” information.

The bill passed along a party-line vote in the Arizona House and Senate appropriations committees, sending the measure to full votes in both chambers, AZ Central reported.

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The Republican-backed measure would direct $2.5 million each year to a nonprofit group that would “implement a statewide system to provide direct services, support services, social services case management and referrals to the biological or adoptive parents of children under two years of age, including unborn children.”

The news outlet noted that the bill appears to provide funding for a series of crisis pregnancy centers.

Democratic groups and lawmakers opposed to the bill say it would fund programs that provide women with inaccurate health information during pregnancy.

Jodi Liggett, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, blasted the “faux health centers” in a statement to AZ Central.

Crisis pregnancy centers "are often run by organizations with a particular social agenda. More importantly, they do not inform women about all their options, and instead steer them toward one decision," Liggett said. 

The facilities are known for "often inaccurate and misleading information they provide to people seeking honest information about birth control and reproductive care," she added.

The bill states that funding would not be allowed to be used for “abortion referral services” or given to organizations that “promote, refer or perform abortions,” AZ Central reported.

The Arizona system is meant to “encourage healthy childbirth, support childbirth as an alternative to abortion, promote family formation, aid successful parenting and increase families’ economic self-sufficiency,” according to the bill.

The bill comes amid a nationwide debate on abortion access following a series of restrictive bans signed by Republican governors in Alabama and Georgia.