American Independent, 6/8/2012 [Archive]

Anti-Abortion Jobs for Christians

Anti-Abortion Jobs for Christians

By Sofia Resnick, The American Independent

Across the country, explicitly religious groups running "crisis pregnancy centers" are receiving taxpayer funding to carry out their fight against abortion. And many, like the Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center in Rapid City, S.D, only hire Christians.

"Do you consider yourself a Christian?" asks the center's volunteer application. "If yes, how long have you been a Christian? ...As a Christian, what is the basis of your salvation? ... Please provide the following information concerning your local church. Church name ... Denomination ... Pastor's name." The application instructs volunteers to certify that they are "in full agreement with the pregnancy center's Statement of Faith."

In 2010, the center was awarded a $33,610 "capacity building" grant as part of President Obama's stimulus bill.

Last year, the nonprofit National Fatherhood Initiative, with "support from the US Department of Health and Human Services," awarded the center $25,000.

When South Dakota passed a law requiring that women get counseling from a "pregnancy help center" before receiving an abortion, the Rapid City center was quick to sign up — becoming one of three such facilities listed on the state's official website. (Much of the law is tied up in an ongoing court battle and has yet to take effect.)

Like other crisis pregnancy centers, the Rapid City Care Net seeks to prevent abortions by offering women a combination of free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, a "24 hour hotline," and medically dubious "abortion education" (its website wrongly claims that "a number of reliable studies have demonstrated connection between abortion and later development of breast cancer").

The Rapid City center is not alone. The facility says it "submits to the affiliation guidelines" of the national Care Net organization, which supports more than 1,100 Christian crisis pregnancy centers. Care Net requires that at each center, "all board members, staff, and volunteers of the center agree with" its evangelical Statement of Faith.

It's not just Care Net.

At least seven states — Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas — currently fund crisis pregnancy centers. This year, these states are combining to allocate approximately $17 million to anti-abortion centers.

While the centers are generally barred from using taxpayer funding to proselytize, it's often perfectly legal for them to use public money to practice religious hiring discrimination.

True Life Choice in Orlando — one of about 80 facilities funded by Florida's pregnancy center program — is looking for an executive director who is a "committed Christian who demonstrates a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord."

The Life Center -- a crisis pregnancy center in Midland, Texas, that receives state funding -- is looking for a new receptionist who agrees with the organization's "Common Christian Beliefs."

The Life Center also appears on the Texas health department's official list of organizations that offer free sonograms to pregnant women and that do not provide abortion services or referrals. A sweeping anti-abortion law signed last year by Gov. Rick Perry requires doctors to distribute this list to women before performing an abortion.

The fact that many of the country's anti-abortion pregnancy centers are Christian organizations is not something that is prominently featured in state literature promoting these groups or even on many of the centers' websites.

But for many of these places, Jesus Christ is central to their daily activities.

The state-funded Pregnancy Care Center in Tampa, Fla., tells its volunteers: "Our doors are open to women who do not know where else to turn, women searching for answers and help with unexpected pregnancies. Women who need honest information and material items for their baby. Women who need Jesus! YOU can be the one to introduce them to Jesus and help them make life-changing decisions."

The Pregnancy Help Center of Lufkin, which receives money through Texas' Alternatives to Abortion program, actually requires volunteers to sign a pledge that they will "pray regularly" and attend a "local Christian church."

And if South Dakota's anti-abortion law ever goes into effect, doctors will be required to provide women seeking abortions with contact information for all crisis pregnancy centers registered with the state. As it stands now, every single one of those facilities seeks to prevent abortions while spreading the Gospel.

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©Copyright 2012 The American Independent, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

The American Independent is a nonprofit newsroom that funds and publishes independent investigative journalism, and can be reached at editor@americanindependent.com.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.




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