Erin Kate Goode
Increasing the allocated tax credit in the Pregnancy Resource Act is a vital step.
In 2022, The Pregnancy Resource Act was signed into law. This law allocated $3.5 million in tax credits for businesses that donate to qualified pregnancy resource charitable organizations. Essentially, it means that the state is allowing businesses to pay up to 50% of their would-be tax dollars directly to organizations that effectively cover needs not fully met by government agencies. For example, if a business owes $10,000 in tax liability, $5,000 will still be paid in taxes, but the remaining $5,000 can be donated to a qualified pregnancy resource center instead of being paid to the state.
The Pregnancy Resource Act allows businesses to support a ministry that isn’t reliant on government funds, at a level that they would never have been able to before, without affecting their bottom line at all. Donors can direct their money to something they truly care about, and they can see it actually working in meaningful ways, locally.
Since the Pregnancy Resource Act was signed into law, twenty-two Mississippi pregnancy centers have qualified for the credit and have grown tremendously. With increased funds, CPC Metro Area and pregnancy centers across the state have been able to launch new programs, expand support options, hire more essential personnel, and obtain larger clinic spaces. Ultimately, the credit has allowed pregnancy centers to serve more women and families in more meaningful ways, across the state.
What does this look like?
The CPC Metro Area exists as a parent ministry for the Cline Center, a medical clinic offering safe, professional, and reproductive healthcare, advocacy, and support to equip women facing unplanned pregnancies to make well-informed decisions.
Under the Cline Center, The CPC Metro Area has been able to launch a number of new programs.
The Cline Center’s OB Navigation program helps women to feel empowered and equipped throughout their pregnancy and after they give birth.
Unscripted empowers integrity, promotes positive choices, and prevents unplanned pregnancies.
Cline Support extends support, hope, and resources in the Jackson Metro Area, like support groups, parenting classes, resource rooms, professional counseling, and a plethora of other community connections to meet every need.
(UN)covered meets the post-abortive woman where she is and offers hope, healing, and freedom from her past abortion.
Growth is not unique to the Jackson metro area.
The Center for Pregnancy Choices of Meridian is expanding from a resource center offering community support, education, and material resources, into a medical clinic, adding sonograms and nursing personnel to their programs.
Hope Clinic in Hattiesburg and Life Choices in Columbus are among those who expanded into a larger clinic because of growing staff and patient volume.
To highlight other pregnancy centers, Women’s Resource Clinic in Cleveland, Center of Hope in Forest, Parkgate Pregnancy Clinic in Tupelo, CPC of Southwest Mississippi in McComb, CPC of Lawrence County, Choices Clinic of Laurel, Starkville Pregnancy Care Center, and Women’s Resource Center in Gulfport are only some of the other centers that have expanded support services and abortion recovery programs.
In 2019, Charlotte Lozier Institute found that Mississippi pregnancy centers were serving over 12,000 families and provided two million dollars in high-quality medical care and material assistance. To date, these figures have risen significantly, in large part due to the business tax credit.
The work of pregnancy centers is vital, and we are deeply grateful for the support that has been demonstrated to pregnancy centers by the Pregnancy Resource Act. As we look toward the future, we see greater opportunity to serve the women and families in Mississippi, who need us most.
The proposed HB1671 amends the Pregnancy Resource Act to increase the amount of credit that may be allocated by the Department of Revenue to $10 million and would allow pregnancy centers to realize greater opportunity.
Why increase the amount allocated? Why now?
The year before Roe v. Wade was overturned, 5,316 residents of Mississippi had abortions. How much greater is the desperation for hope and help, now? Now, more than ever, many women feel as if they have nowhere to turn.
Pregnancy centers know firsthand that the circumstances surrounding a woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy are much more complex than we think. Often, the odds are stacked against her from every angle – housing, family, relationships, healthcare, education, abuse, addiction, and the list continues.
The CPC Metro Area and pregnancy centers across the state do what a government program alone cannot. We do the real work of walking alongside her, offering real solutions to complex situations. When a woman knows that she is cared for and supported unconditionally and comprehensively, she will understand her dignity and worth, and cycles begin to break.
HB1671, amending the Pregnancy Resource Act and increasing the allocated tax credit, is a vital step on the path toward making a culture of LIFE, in Mississippi, a reality.