Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pregnancy resource funds awarded

Feminists for Life reports that Pregnancy Assistance Fund monies have been awarded to 17 states and 13 tribes for the purpose of assisting pregnant mothers in need:
The first portion of the Fund's legislation is based on FFL's seventeen years of work on college campuses to address the unmet needs of pregnant women, birthmothers, and parents. An FFL-inspired bill in Michigan served as the model for the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pregnant and Parenting Student Services Act, which enjoyed bipartisan support and led to the creation of a core element of the Pregnancy Assistance Fund. Through a matching grant, institutions of higher education will develop resources for the underserved population of pregnant and parenting students, including birthmothers.

The second section of the fund is devoted to teen mothers, and was largely shaped by the first section of the bill creating services for pregnant and parenting students and birthmothers in college.

The third portion of the bill is devoted to serving pregnant women who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. FFL has a long record of activism for victims of violence. "As the only pro-life group active in the coalition to pass the Violence Against Women Act in 1995, and the only feminist organization to support the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, Feminists for Life is eager to see grantees working on behalf of this vulnerable population in need."
[Note: There is some discrepancy as to the amount; while Feminists for Life reported $24 million, LifeNews reported $27 million. The Health and Human Services website confirms that $27 million is the correct total.]

You'll recall that, when the funds were first announced, there was some suspicion on the part of pro-life leaders, who essentially argued that the Obama adminstration couldn't be trusted to ensure that this wouldn't become an abortion funding stream. The fact that FFL plans to work directly with universities in administering the program has alleviated my concerns in that regard for now.

This is a step in the right direction, but as Care Net president Melinda Delahoyde pointed out in a article, it is only a small one. Compare the $27 million to Planned Parenthood's annual federal funding of $350 million. That's a fair criticism.

As for the criticisms by others in the article, I am unpersuaded. That abortion advocates describe the legislation as "common ground on abortion" and claim it for themselves is very annoying, but it is not a good reason to oppose the Fund. Nor is the fact that it addresses other women's issues in addition to abortion; as FFL president Serrin Foster puts it, "Oftentimes these issues overlap, especially when it comes to victims of coercion who are in high school, college, or living in poverty. The Pregnancy Assistance Fund is offering real help for the most vulnerable with long-lasting benefits for all."


Yonmei said...

It is unsurprising to me that you find it "annoying" that pro-choicers approve a bill that gives more choices to women - and that demonstrates how the pro-life movement doesn't actually care about women in need, but only about denying access to safe legal abortion. said...

Yes: it's extremely annoying that Feminists for Life can work on this project for nearly twenty years, and then pro-abortion politicians who jumped on the bandwagon at the last minute claim it for their own agenda. But did you somehow miss the part where I support the legislation? I'm not going to throw up my hands and say "Well, if THEY support it, I can't." It's a great pro-life idea and I'm very glad it's being put into effect. said...

Update: it turns out that some pro-abortion commentators are unhappy too.

Yonmei said...

But did you somehow miss the part where I support the legislation?

Naturally: it has nothing to do with preventing abortions, why would you object to it? It's intended to prevent adoptions, and while you decline to argue with the pro-lifers who think it's wonderful to take a baby away from the mother, I note you don't actually support this.

Update: it turns out that some pro-abortion commentators are unhappy too.

Lying again? Oh, and just as I thought we'd found common ground.

You linked to an anti-choice site. The anti-choice site linked to reality-check. So far from being "pro-abortion", the reality-check writer points out:

Real, comprehensive sex ed that informs sexual partners, abdundantly available, cheap, or even totally subsidized contraceptives -- these are the programs that pro-choice people advocate for and push, and would happily get behind and support. These should be the priorities. And yet we cannot seem to find anyone interested in making these standard.

Common ground is making every pregnancy a wanted pregnancy because the majority of them were planned, not only because a majority of them were provided extra support to carry to term.

Pro-lifers who get behind denying contraception are pro-abortion. Pro-choicers who advocate for abortion prevention are not.