ST. PAUL — A Minnesota abortion rights organization on Tuesday, Oct. 26, called on state lawmakers to review grant funds that support anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers in the state and pressed for an investigation into whether they served their stated purpose.
Gender Justice, along with other groups around the country, studied the centers and published a report highlighting the funding that funnels to crisis pregnancy centers from state governments. In Minnesota, the centers received more than $3 million in the current fiscal year through a program aimed at offering education and resources for those who choose to carry their pregnancies to term.
Few of the roughly 90 centers in the state offer medical services, the group's probe of crisis centers' public information found. And several promoted information to clients or patients that was scientifically inaccurate.
As the state faces disparities in maternal health, morbidity and mortality, especially for Black and Indigenous Minnesotans compared to their white peers, the Gender Justice said the centers should face additional scrutiny from the Department of Health and the public for their outcomes.
"We believe the state-funded (crisis pregnancy center) industry is wasting taxpayer dollars and harming the pregnant Minnesotans they claim to serve," Gender Justice Advocacy and Engagement Director Erin Maye Quade said. "There is a need in Minnesota for prenatal care, for pregnancy care, for diapers, for cribs and for onesies and for all of these things, CPCs are not filling that role, they're not filling that gap."
Anti-abortion group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life on Tuesday evening said the centers provide "practical assistance and real alternatives to abortion that they don't get elsewhere." And the group said the state health funding for the centers should be preserved.
A group of Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmakers from both the state House of Representatives and Senate this year formed the legislative Reproductive Freedom Caucus in an effort to "stand up for, defend, and work to expand reproductive rights in Minnesota."
Members of the caucus said that in the face of laws passed in other parts of the country restricting abortion access and calls from Republicans to pass similar measures in Minnesota, they needed to form a more dedicated group aimed at removing politicians' involvement in their reproductive health and decision-making.
Republicans in the Legislature, meanwhile, have said they'll continue pressing for legislation that decreases the number of abortions performed in the state.