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Nearly all of Texas’ anti-abortion subcontractors are Christian groups

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/2010/08/MahurinEnviro_Thumb5.jpgFrom 2006 to 2010, the state spent $11.7 million on its Texas Alternatives to Abortion Services Program, with nearly $7 million of that finding its way to 33 nonprofits (all but one with Christian affiliations) via the state’s primary contractor, the nonprofit Texas Pregnancy Care Network, according to public records obtained by the Texas Independent.

The Alternatives to Abortion Program — funded by state and federal money — was created in the 2005 legislative session for “the development and operation of a statewide program for females focused on pregnancy support services that promote childbirth,” according to the contract between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and TPCN.

Of the $6.9 million received by the 33 subcontractors, more than half went to three nonprofits. San Antonio’s Seton Home, a Catholic residential facility for homeless pregnant and/or parenting adolescents, has received $1.8 million through the state program. The vast majority of that, $1.7 million, was spent on counseling sessions.

Overall, reimbursements for counseling totaled $5.4 million for all 33 subcontractors, about 78 percent of the $6.9 million. The rest went to client referrals, classes on topics such as pregnancy and parenting, and for food, clothing and furniture pantries

The second-largest subcontractor, Annunciation Maternity Homes in Georgetown, received $1.2 million from 2006-2010. The Catholic organization provides housing and other services for teen and homeless mothers.

The third-largest subcontractor, Fifth Ward Pregnancy Help Center in Houston, received more than $510,000. Religious messages do not appear on its main website; however, Christian statements do appear on the group’s event website, including that the group has presented the Gospel to 9,000 clients total since December 2004, distributed more than 11,000 Bibles and had 2,500 professions of faith made. The web page indicates the group has performed more than 12,500 pregnancy tests.

Together, the three groups in San Antonio, Georgetown and Houston received a combined $3.5 million, more than 50 percent of all subcontractor reimbursements.

The next biggest recipients are the Gabriel Project Life Center in Austin and Children & Family Institute in Dallas. The Gabriel Project is an initiative of the Catholic Diocese of Austin, while the Children & Family Institute quotes a Biblical verse from the Book of Jeremiah in its vision/mission statement.

Of the 33 subcontractors, only one is not overtly Christian — the Gladney Center for Adoption in Fort Worth — although it was originally started by a Methodist minister more than 100 years ago. Gladney received about $60,000 through the state program (less than 1 percent of the amount distributed to subcontractors).

Only two centers spent the majority of their state-directed funds on expenses related to classes, rather than counseling — Dallas-Fort Worth’s Family Care Connection and Round Rock’s The Heidi Group, which respectively received $340,000 and $30,000 total. In 2005, TPCN and The Heidi Group were the only groups to apply to be the state’s primary Alternatives to Abortion contractor, with the job eventually going to TPCN.

No subcontractors spent the majority of state-directed funds on pantry services.

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(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/Ian Britton)

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