Pro-life pregnancy services stripped from state budget in Whitmer veto
Tucked in among Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s line-item vetoes last week was $700,000 for Real Alternatives, a group that provides pro-life counseling and pregnancy support services through a number of clinics in Michigan.
The veto was one of 147 Whitmer executed to clean up what she called “a mess” of a budget. But it wasn’t as out of the blue as some others: a Washington D.C.-based group called Campaign for Accountability called on her to keep it out of the budget back in January.
“We were really excited to see the governor did issue this line-item veto. I think Michigan taxpayers have footed the bill on this program for a number of years, it has had quite a long time to prove that it is effective… and it simply has failed to show that, and I think the governor’s veto acknowledges that,” said Alice C.C. Huling, counsel for Campaign for Accountability.
The Campaign for Accountability focuses on holding the pro-life movement accountable, including through examining the public money used on groups like Real Alternatives. Earlier this year it filed letters with Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Office of the Auditor General requesting the program be investigated.
Huling said the concern is groups like Real Alternatives disseminate incomplete information, not including the option to terminate the pregnancy.
“There should absolutely be networks that are supporting people who are carrying pregnancies to term… Real Alternatives does not, though, provide or respect the full range of options that are available to people,” Huling said.
According to its website, Real Alternatives has served more than 8,000 clients since the state started funding it in Fiscal Year 2014. The group says 59 percent of women who were “abortion minded and pressured by others to abort” change their minds and pursue childbirth after receiving program services.
But Huling said the reporting from Real Alternatives to the state was not very detailed and questioned some of the group’s spending and which services they were providing to clients.