The Senate on Tuesday approved the $8.1 billion general appropriations bill for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The budget proposal now heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is expected to sign it.
The $2 million for crisis pregnancy centers would be the state's first anti-abortion funding since lawmakers passed the 2017 Choosing Childbirth Act, The Oklahoman reported. In order to be qualified for grant subsidies, an entity must be a nonprofit that counsels pregnant women with accurate information on fetal development.
Rep. Jon Echols, who supports the bill, said the centers help pregnant women purchase maternity clothes, prenatal care and more.
"That's what these crisis pregnancy centers are there for, they're to assist women who have decided they would like to have a child, but they need resources, they need help," he said. "What we're trying to do is to fund that help."
Rep. Forrest Bennett noted that the state money being used to dissuade women from abortions could be spent on other health care programs. Bennett recommended revitalizing the Department of Health's uncompensated care fund and increasing subsidies for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as alternative possibilities.
"While I absolutely support money going to public health initiatives, crisis pregnancy centers are not as reliant on science as the others," he said.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com
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