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Pro-life Democrats Advocate for Government Support to Pregnancy Centers in Louisiana

Louisiana lawmakers have introduced a bill aimed at assisting women facing crisis pregnancies by allocating significant funding to pregnancy resource centers and other social services. The legislation, which recently passed in the Louisiana Senate, is a collaborative effort between Republican Representative Jack McFarland and Democratic Senator Katrina Jackson-Andrews.

This bill proposes the establishment of the Louisiana Pregnancy and Baby Initiative, reallocating funds designated for Alternatives to Abortion to support the program. The initiative is set to increase the total spending on the Alternatives to Abortion program from \(1 million to a range of \)3 million to $5 million, commencing on July 1st, the beginning of the upcoming fiscal year.

The Louisiana Pregnancy and Baby Initiative is designed to function as a comprehensive statewide social service program that aims to bolster resources advocating for childbirth over abortion for women encountering unplanned pregnancies. It will offer a wide array of services including pregnancy support, parenting classes, provision of baby essentials like diapers and cribs, counseling, care coordination, referrals, as well as educational courses on budgeting, job training, and stress management. These services will be accessible to program participants for up to three years following the birth of the child.

Notably, the initiative extends its services beyond just pregnant mothers, encompassing support for biological fathers of unborn children and even adoptive parents of young children aged three or below.

In Louisiana, abortion is currently permitted in cases where the mother’s life is endangered, or if the unborn child is diagnosed with a severe disability or is at risk of being stillborn.

Senator Katrina Jackson-Andrews, a pro-life Democrat who previously delivered a speech at the national March for Life in Washington, D.C., in 2016, is the principal architect of this bill. She was responsible for introducing an amendment in 2020 that prevented Louisiana from establishing a “right to abortion” in its state constitution and prohibited public funding for abortion procedures.

The management of the Louisiana Pregnancy and Baby Initiative would be overseen by a general contractor who would collaborate with existing nonprofit pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, maternity homes, and social service organizations that advocate for childbirth over abortion. The allocated funds would also cover marketing expenses to ensure that individuals in need are informed about the available services.

Additionally, the initiative includes a transparency clause mandating the nonprofit organization in charge of the program to provide reports detailing the services rendered and the number of beneficiaries.

It is crucial to note that the funds from this initiative are explicitly prohibited from being used for abortion procedures or referrals, and cannot be directed towards organizations that promote abortion.