Nobody wants to have an abortion. And cutting funding from a program that gives young pregnant women another option is a terrible idea.
State senators Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) and Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) both drafted amendments to the legislature’s version of the Michigan budget which would have cut funding to the Real Alternatives program.
And Governor Gretchen Whitmer could still kill the program’s funding with a line-item veto.
It would be a tragedy to cut funding to a program that seeks to reduce the number of abortions in the state and provides emotional and material support for women in crisis pregnancy situations.
Real Alternatives provides pregnant women with counseling and support through their pregnancy and up to one year after the child’s birth. Mothers across the state can attend maternity and parenting classes and receive clothing, food, and furniture for the child. Real Alternatives provides prenatal care for the mother and medical care for mother and baby.
Though abortion advocates may claim otherwise, the group is not religiously or politically affiliated. They just don’t refer women to abortion-providing centers.
Women who seek help from Real Alternatives can still walk out the door and go to an abortion-providing facility instead.
But 98 percent of them don’t. In fact, 85 percent of women who were pressured to abort choose to keep their pregnancy after receiving services from Real Alternatives.
Since the program began in Michigan in 2013, almost 8,000 women have sought help from Real Alternatives.
[[ Geiss and Hollier both claimed that staff from Real Alternatives have given medically inaccurate information to clients. If this is the case, then certainly these individuals should be fired and the program should put in place stricter guidelines for counselor-client relations.
But according to Real Alternatives spokesman Kevin Burgess [SPELLING], no Real Alternatives service provider has ever been accused of giving medically inaccurate information or proselytizing clients. [[ “There have been no allegations, legal or otherwise, against Real Alternatives.” ]]
“Our motto is empowering women for life,” Burgess said. “We meet the client and help her where she is.”
The pro-life cause is not strictly an issue of religion or party. Indeed, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a democrat, just approved his states budget, which allocates over $7 million to the program. [[ STATE OR FED? ]]
The current iteration of the state budget allocates roughly one-tenth of that, $750,000, to Real Alternatives.
Whitmer would be wise to take a page out of Wolf’s book and keep the program’s funding.
Since the 1980s, the number of abortions in Michigan has fallen drastically. David Maluchnik of the Michigan Catholic Council said this is a result of “commonsense” regulations, like banning partial-birth abortions, requiring parental consent for a minor to receive an abortion and outlawing the state from funding abortions with taxpayer dollars.
And programs like Real Alternatives don’t leave women high and dry, pregnant with nowhere to go. Instead, they support the woman.
Pro-choice advocates should not fear: Planned Parenthood received over $6 million in funding from the federal government this year.
In the same fiscal year, the state allocated only $700,000 to Real Alternatives.
If a Michigan woman wants to receive a safe, legal abortion, she is very well able to.
And keeping programs like Real Alternatives in place would ensure that women who want to keep their pregnancies have the necessary support to be able to make that choice.
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