The Obama administration announced Wednesday that $27 million would be provided for pregnant women and parenting teenagers, framing the grants as part of its "common ground" approach on abortion.
The press release from Health and Human Services (HHS) connected the grants to President Obama's 2009 speech at Notre Dame, where he said that we must "reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoptions more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term."
HHS awarded grants to 17 states and 13 American Indian tribes to support programs that assist pregnant women and teenage parents who are completing high school or who need health care, child care, or housing assistance. The grants may also be used to fight violence against pregnant women.
Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus on the Family said that the outcome of the White House's move depends on which states receive the money and how they distribute the funds.
"The concept, the intent, has potential. This has not been done before in this way. It's certainly better than not doing it," she said. "From a policy standpoint, I don't know that it's got a lot of punch from it. It's not a lot of money."
Gordon Earll also expressed concern over whether tracking the funds will be difficult.
"From an implementation view, states are often the best way to go. They know which organizations have a good track record," she said. "The fact that this is being pitched as a 'common ground on abortion' doesn't ring true to me since these are supposed to be helping services, and they are not supposed to be tied to abortion."
"These programs provide states and tribes much needed assistance to support vulnerable teens and women who are pregnant and parenting," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.
A recent Government Accountability Office report indicated that Planned Parenthood received $19.4 million from HHS in 2009.
A spokesperson for Care Net said that the organization initially participated in discussions with the White House about abortion prevention but had not done so recently.
"With Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, receiving more than $350 million taxpayer dollars a year, we're still a long way from 'common ground' on the abortion issue," Care Net president Melinda Delahoyde said in a written statement. "The Pregnancy Assistance Fund appears to be a small step in a positive direction to support teens and young women who make the courageous and selfless choice to give life to their babies despite life's challenges."
HHS also announced Thursday that $155 million in teen pregnancy prevention grants will be distributed.
Copyright © 2010 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Previous articles related to abortion include:
Single Mothers, Second Chances | Robust support makes all the difference during an unplanned pregnancy. (December 17, 2009)
Friend or Foe? | Recent technological advances may hurt the pro-life movement. (July 23, 2009)
Battle Fatigue | Abortion opponents head into Obama presidency after big losses. (January 8, 2009)