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CBS Maligns Texas’s Efforts to Support Crisis Pregnancy Centers

CBS Maligns Texas’s Efforts to Support Crisis Pregnancy Centers

As the Democrat Party scrambled to stay uniform following calls for President Biden to step down, the media has done its best to shift the narrative to more familiar topics. Tuesday’s CBS Mornings, in coalition with left-wing ProPublica, ran a segment targeting the many pro-life Crisis Pregnancy Centers programs funded by the Texas state legislature.

Abortion, being one of the more hot button issues in the upcoming election, was an underlying theme to this conversation, as the network and ProPublica did their best to paint the programs as money grabbing, back alley organizations without any accountability.

On Tuesday morning, the liberal news outlets took aim at the Thriving Texas Families (TTF) program, formerly known as Alternatives to Abortion. Texas’s efforts to support alternative to abortion was maligned on CBS Mornings for nearly 6 minutes during their morning segments:

GAYLE KING: Since the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, tax-payer money has been poured into what are known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers. These controversial organizations have a long-stated mission to discourage pregnant women from seeking abortions. At least 18 states fund Crisis Pregnancy Centers, but no state has spent more money on them than the state of Texas.

Reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns continued in the diatribe, criticizing Republican programs for where their money has been invested, and for not doing more. She cited only one organization funded by TTF to suggest the entire program was rift with fraud and mismanagement:

REP. JEFF LEACH (R-TX): If taxpayer dollars aren’t being spent appropriately, then we will hold those responsible accountable.

HUEY-BURNS: Are you concerned this program is ripe for fraud?

LEACH: No, I’m not. We should be giving them more resources, not less.

HUEY-BURNS: Invoices we obtained show the programs second largest contractor, Human Coalition, spent roughly $2 million of its state funding every year since 2019 on marketing costs. That’s ten times more than what it spent on direct client assistance like diapers.

While Huey-Burns attacked the program, she promoted the efforts of two other organizations that did not receive funds from TTF. At no point did she give a similar financial break down of those organizations as she did for the Human Coalition, nor did she give a reason for why they were denied access to the funds.

Ironic for CBS as their pro-abortion views in the past never focused on such topics as the health of a baby following delivery. As Texas and many other states move forward in their goals of pro-life systems, it should be no surprise to see this kind of reporting from the network.

This is nothing new for ProPublica, and certainly not for CBS. Leading up to the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the multiple attacks on the pro-life centers, networks wrote off the incidents, questioning the organizations claims of victimhood. It is clear that these groups, along with the pro-life movement on the whole, are anything but respected by the media, let alone given fair coverage.

 

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

CBS Mornings
7/9/2024
08:37:51 AM EST

[NEWS HEADLINE ~ CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS: TX sends millions to anti-abortion groups with little accountability]

GAYLE KING: Since the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, tax-payer money has been poured into what are known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers. These controversial organizations have a long-stated mission to discourage pregnant women from seeking abortions. At least 18 states fund Crisis Pregnancy Centers, but no state has spent more money on them than the state of Texas.

Caitlin Huey-Burns and the CBS News investigative team in partnership with ProPublica spent months looking into where all this money is going. Caitlin joins us now with the results. Caitlin, good morning to you.

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS: Good morning to you, Gayle. Well while Texas passed law after law limiting abortion access it was also spending more money on a program called Alternatives to Abortion, which includes funds for Crisis Pregnancy Centers, but our investigation found little accountability for how that money is being spent, and it could be coming at the expense of other crucial services for young mothers in need.

[Cut to video]

Every day nurse Megan Wheeler drives across the Texas Brazos Valley caring for new young mothers.

AVA BRADLEY: Hey, how are you?

MEG WHEELER: Good morning how are you?

HUEY-BURNS: Like 16-year-old Ava Bradley and her 1-year-old son Mateo. 

BRADLEY: Thank you.

HUEY-BURNS: They connected through the Nurse Family Partnership, a free program that pairs nurses with low income first-time moms. Nurses like Wheeler cover just about everything from the latest ear infection —

WHEELER: Any fever for either of you?

BRADLEY: No.

HUEY-BURNS: — To making sure mom is okay too.

WHEELER: How’s school been this week?

BRADLEY: I’m pretty good. I’m a little behind.

HUEY-BURNS: It’s a model that’s shown to improve maternal and infant health outcomes, says the programs Nursing Practice Manager Angela Montez.

ANGELA MONTEZ: Nurses have been able to intervene and be able save our women and children from dying.

HUEY-BURNS: Because they’re there.

MONTEZ: Because they’re there.

HUEY-BURNS: But in a state where teen pregnancy is on the rise, the program is struggling to meet demand.

MONTEZ: We’re able to serve maybe a quarter of the referrals.

HUEY-BURNS: So, last year the program asked the Texas legislature for an extra $19 million. They got just $2.2 million. Meanwhile, the state program called Alternatives to Abortion, which includes funding for Crisis Pregnancy Centers, got so much money last year, it had 14 million left over for future use. It’s also referring thousands to the nursing program that helped Bradley, but it does not fund it.

For years, Democratic State Representative Donna Howard has questioned how alternatives to abortion operate.

DONNA HOWARD: I don’t know of any other program that the state administers that is treated in the same way, not one.

HUEY-BURNS: Alternatives to Abortion grantees offers services like counseling, classes, and material goods like diapers and formula, but more than 40 percent of the services provided since 2021 were categorized as educational materials, a vague designation.

HOWARD: What is that? It’s immaterial.

MAN: There’s some speculation here, but I’m thinking pamphlets, one-pagers; that sort of thing.

HOWARD: So, a pamphlet counts as a service?

MAN: As an educational material, as a service, yes.

HUEY-BURNS: A CBS News and ProPublica investigation uncovered a payment model that allows the program’s largest contractor Texas Pregnancy Care Network to charge the state $14 for handing out a pamphlet as part of its services.

JEFF LEACH: So, this amendment would add $25 million in supplemental funding.

HUEY-BURNS: Republican State Representative, Jeff Leach is one of the program’s most ardent supporters.

LEACH: This program is really meant to provide the full weight and support of the resources of the state government not just before pregnancy, but after pregnancy as well.

HUEY-BURNS: But there have been issues.

FEMALE REPORTER: The money was meant to help women and children.

HUEY-BURNS: A San Antonio non-profit was kicked out of Alternatives to Abortion after a local news station reported it was using program funds on vacations, a motorcycle, and a smoke shop. The nonprofit did not respond to our questions.

LEACH: If taxpayer dollars aren’t being spent appropriately, then we will hold those responsible accountable.

HUEY-BURNS: Are you concerned this program is ripe for fraud?

LEACH: No, I’m not. We should be giving them more resources, not less.

HUEY-BURNS: Invoices we obtained show the programs second largest contractor, Human Coalition, spent roughly $2 million of its state funding every year since 2019 on marketing costs. That’s ten times more than what it spent on direct client assistance like diapers.

HOWARD: $2 million for marketing. Wow. That is astounding. Seems extremely inappropriate.

HUEY-BURNS: Representative Leach said the marketing costs were necessary to create awareness. Holly McDaniel runs the Austin Diaper Bank, a nonprofit that distributes diapers to places like this food pantry where every week a stream of cars lines up for free baby supplies. Diaper Banks sought state funding last year but got nothing.

HOLLY MCDANIEL: There are families out there and really good organizations out there doing good work and serving those families. I would love to give them diapers, but diapers don’t grow on trees.

[Cut back to live]

HUEY-BURNS: Now, for months we sought interviews with Texas health officials, but in an email a spokesperson said they, “Take stewardship of taxpayer dollars very seriously.” And Human Coalition told us, “Marketing helps reach more women.” And Texas Pregnancy Care Network told us, “Its services are in line with its state contract and responsive to client needs.” And also of note, last September, the Alternative to Abortion Program, it got a new name. It’s called Thriving Texas Families. Nate?

NATE BURLESON: Caitlin, great reporting on the topic that is on the top of our minds both personally and politically. For more on our investigation go to cbsnews.com or propublica.org.

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