Several programs of interest to the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) are being recommended for funding in Governor Nixon’s 2017 state budget. The governor is recommending funding of over $3.6 million for the Alternatives to Abortion (ATA) program.
As recently as 2015 ATA was only funded at $1.5 million, so this is a substantial increase. It will allow non-profit pregnancy resource centers around the state to expand their services to low-income women facing crisis pregnancies. ATA services have been shown to persuade women to choose life over abortion.
The new Show-Me Healthy Babies program, which provides prenatal care to women and their unborn children, is recommended for funding of $13,597,790.
A new program to bolster parental responsibility and healthy marriages is recommended for funding of $1.5 million. In passing welfare reform legislation last year, the MCC convinced lawmakers that the lack of strong families and especially the absence of fathers was a major cause of poverty. Legislators responded by amending the welfare legislation to include the new program.
Just because the governor has recommended these funding levels, however, does not mean the funding is guaranteed. All of the governor’s recommendations will be carefully scrutinized by the Missouri House and Senate budget committees and the entire budget must then be approved by the General Assembly.