Jeb Bush is putting four million dollars into a new program that will allow women with unintended pregnancies to call a toll-free hotline to be directed to the crisis pregnancy center near them. There, they won’t be given information about abortion — other than how “dangerous” or “wrong” it is — but will instead be steered toward adoption. Floridians’ tax money will pay to have pregnant women lobbied by a quasi-governmental agency to choose an “abortion alternative.” Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Moreover, it really sounds like “help,” no? What it definitely doesn’t sound like is an effort to give women the resources they’d need to make the decision to take the pregnancy to term and keep the baby. And it is an oversimplification of the adoption decision-making process that women go through. (We won’t even bother with the obvious — that the whole program is a repudiation of “all-options” counseling, in which women are given information about all their options, and they get to choose. Freely. Without coercion.)
If I were a Bush, I’d certainly go about things a bit differently. I’d not give millions of taxpayer dollars to crisis pregnancy centers to give women biased information. Call me crazy, but if I were aiming to reduce the number of abortions, I’d work to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the first place. Outside of funding “abstinence” education, which doesn’t appear to work, Governor Bush hasn’t devoted a whole lot of resources to prevention.. Despite the fact that family planning actually saves money (listen up, you fiscal conservatives), that it improves birth outcomes through better spacing of childbirth and connecting women to early prenatal care (listen up, you “family values” folks), and that it does actually reduce unintended pregnancy rates, there won’t be additional resources for family planning.
There will, however, be more money to build that “culture of life” thing the governor’s brother is so fond of talking about — even if it’s built on half-truths and coercion. A foundation we can all be proud of.
Cheapskate Bush. Minnesota is offering $5 million.