The Missouri General Assembly has approved and sent to Governor Nixon a proposed state budget for fiscal year 2017 that includes a major expansion of the Alternatives to Abortion (ATA) program. At present, ATA is funded at a little over $2 million but the expansion will allow local pregnancy resource centers to receive substantially more help, as funding for ATA rises to $6.4 million.
The ATA program offers state grants to local pregnancy resource centers that offer an array of services to women facing crisis pregnancies. Services include emergency housing and counseling, prenatal care and help in planning a new life after the baby is born, which can include job search and readiness assistance.
The ATA funding is coming from a little over $2 million in state general revenue funds and $4.3 million in federal funds derived from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) sought and obtained provisions in a welfare reform bill that passed last year that authorized the additional federal TANF funds to be directed to the ATA program.
Sam Lee, director of Campaign Life, merits special thanks for his persistence in seeking this expanded funding for ATA. Lee has worked closely with the MCC for many years on pro-life causes and has been especially devoted to expanding the ATA program as an effective way to help women and reduce the abortion rate in the state of Missouri.