Tales of the TPCN

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A “choose life” license plate; a license plate that raises money for organizations that promote adoption as an abortion alternative.

Another funding stream for crisis pregnancy centers are the “choose life” license plates which raise money for organizations that promote adoption as an alternative to abortion. The Texas Legislature approved the “choose life” license plates in 2009. Funds raised from the license plates must go to an organization that promotes adoption or maternity services and cannot go to organizations that provide referrals or counseling for abortion services.  In 2013, over $46,000 was raised and distributed through the “choose life” license plates program.  This money was then divvied up by a “bipartisan” committee created by Attorney General Greg Abbott to 13 different organizations including 11 CPCs, one maternity home, and one adoption center.((“Texas Attorney General Announces Grants to Promote Adoption.” Attorney General of Texas Greg Abbott. Nov. 18, 2013. https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/oagnews/release.php?id=4589)) The committee consists of only one known Democrat who serves as the President of Democrats for Life. Several committee members are also directly connected to CPCs, including an OB/GYN who serves as the medical director of a CPC in Austin.


Earn While You Learn 5
A flyer from a state-funded CPC advertising a Bible study that offers attendees twice as many “baby bucks” as other classes do. “Baby bucks” can be exchanged for baby items at the CPC.


God on Abortion
A pamphlet given out by a state-funded CPC that answers questions about abortion with Bible quotes.

Despite receiving state funding, every state-funded CPC that we visited promoted Christianity in some way.  Texas Pregnancy Care Network (TPCN) states clearly on their website that the CPCs they fund must “agree not to promote the teaching or philosophy of any religion while providing services to the client.”((“Service Provider Selection.” Texas Pregnancy Care Network, 2014. http://texaspregnancy.org/about/service-provider-selection/)) While the TPCN-funded CPCs we investigated did not go as far as to hand out Bibles like non-state-funded CPCs did, they strongly promoted Christianity through their programs and literature. Many of the classes they offered through their Learn As You Earn program–a program where pregnant people can take classes and earn maternity or baby items in exchange for good attendance–were Bible studies or related to Christianity. At one of the TPCN-funded CPCs, the Bible study class offered the attendees twice as many attendance points as the non-religious classes.  Three of the TPCN-funded CPCs provided pamphlets with Christian undertones. One of them gave our investigator a pamphlet titled “What Does God Say About Abortion?” even though she told them that she was not religious.  State funds should not go to any CPCs since they provide a biased and limited range of services, but it is especially problematic that state-funded CPCs are giving materials promoting one religion to their visitors despite their clearly stated funding qualifications. 

For more on the Texas Pregnancy Care Network (TPCN) and their funding history, see our past reports.

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