Sen. Renee Unterman wants the number of abortions in the state to go down, and she said a bill filed last week in the Georgia legislature would be a step toward that goal.
The bill, SB 308, would establish the “Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program,” and potentially direct $2 million in state funding to “pregnancy resources centers,” also called “crisis pregnancy centers” by critics, including Planned Parenthood.
When you see a billboard with the words “Pregnant? Call this number,” it’s one of the centers that would receive state money, said Unterman.
“They seek out women who are pregnant, or are going to be pregnant, or are talking about being pregnant, and they offer resources to them for them to be able to keep their baby,” she said.
Unterman’s bill is explicit that any centers that receive state money cannot perform, or even promote, abortions.
On its website, Planned Parenthood is critical of organizations it says give women “wrong, biased information to scare them into not having abortions.”
Unterman says increasing funding to 70 “pregnancy resource centers” around the state is a positive alternative to railing against abortion.
“Instead of getting up and talking about terrible Planned Parenthood is, and how Planned Parenthood has done terrible things, this is something very positive for women who are seeking resources when they’re pregnant,” she said.
But others concerned about women’s health disagree.
Dazon Dixon Diall, founder and president of Atlanta-based Sister Love incorporated, a reproductive justice nonprofit focused on women and AIDS prevention, says what she calls “crisis pregnancy centers” don’t protect the confidentiality of patients.
The bill already has the signatures of two top ranking Senate republicans, President Pro Tempore David Shafer, and Majority Leader Bill Cowsert.
The $2 million in funding for the program outlined in Unterman’s bill would need to be included in the state budget – a potential obstacle to the legislation having a concrete impact.