El Dorado News-Times

States take control of abortion debate with funding focus


LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Though the Insight Women’s Center sits at the epicenter of a reinvigora­ted battle in the nation’s culture wars, the only hint of its faith-based mission to dissuade people from getting abortions is the jazzy, piano rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” playing in a waiting room.

The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislatur­e is considerin­g allocating millions of dollars in state funds to similar anti-abortion centers that persuade people to bring their pregnancie­s to term by offering free pregnancy tests and sonograms, as well as counseling and parenting classes taught by volunteers. They’re also considerin­g offering millions more in income tax credits for donors supporting what they call “crisis pregnancy centers.” When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year and gave control of abortion policy to the states, it led to bans and restrictio­ns in some states, and executive orders and laws protecting access in others. Those debates continue, but perhaps less noticed is how this change refueled the renewed battle over taxpayer money. Supporters say the effort shows abortion opponents are addressing families’ social and financial needs. But critics say the amount of new funding proposed for organizati­ons like Insight — either in direct funding or tax credits for their donors — fall far short of what’s necessary to improve people’s access to health care and address ongoing poverty. Increasing­ly, liberal cities and states are funding access to abortion, including telemedici­ne, which has seen a notable rise with more than half of U.S. abortions now done with pills rather than surgery. Meanwhile, states with GOP legislatur­es and governors are looking to put more taxpayer money into organizati­ons that talk people out of ending their pregnancie­s.

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