|The League of Women Voters found itself walking a tenuous line Thursday, as it attempted to remain true to its pro-choice agenda by opposing a bill which provides help for pregnant women through funding Crisis Pregnancy Centers. At issue is a bill being pushed through the House and Senate which will make permanent a program which funds these centers.
The League’s website described Crisis Pregnancy Centers as “so called Crisis Pregnancy Centers” and described the proposed laws as “rapidly” moving through the legislature toward the Governor’s desk.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers provide care and support for pregnant women, and have long drawn the ire of pro-choice groups such as the League of Women Voters, since having a strong support network during pregnancy is thought to diminish the number of women who choose abortion. Funding a not-for-profit “Florida Pregnancy Care Network” is viewed by the League as a threat to its goal that women explore their full reproductive options, including abortion.
The bill requires at least 90 percent of the funding to be used for pregnancy support and wellness services. The centers may use the funds to provide support for the woman both before and after the birth of the child. Funds may also be used for a whole host of other services, such as pregnancy testing, counseling, training for women and their families, as well as various wellness services such as blood pressure testing, cholesterol and diabetes screening and help with quitting smoking.
The League decried Crisis Pregnancy Centers, accusing them of using “intimidation tactics to dissuade women from obtaining abortions.” However, the bill sponsors seemed to anticipate the charge by including language which specifically prohibits the pregnancy centers from distributing material in a coercive manner.