By Amy Littlefield
Last year, Rewire.News revealed that anti-choice pregnancy centers in North Carolina illegally bought religious propaganda with federal funds. State regulators vowed in response to strengthen oversight and moved to recoup the misused money.
But even as the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) confirmed the anti-choice Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship (CPCF) had misspent public money—to the tune of $50,000—on sectarian content in violation of federal law, the agency continued to allow the use of federal funds for some religious materials, Rewire.News found. Documents obtained through a public records request revealed the state approved materials that encouraged parents to pray with their children, told men whose partners have had abortions to “handle your personal guilt before God,” and exhorted women to embrace the “blessing” of marriage as “a sacred institution created by God in the Garden of Eden.”
The records provide a window into the monthslong scramble by state officials to determine how much federal block grant money—intended to address maternal and infant mortality in a state with some of the worst outcomes in the country—CPCF had misused on Bible study courses and other religious materials. After it concluded in late 2018 that CPCF had misspent approximately $50,000 in public funding over five years, DHHS never informed the state legislature. Amid a budget battle between the Republican-led legislature and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, lawmakers are poised to give more than a dozen anti-choice fake clinics a record amount of at least $2.64 million in state funds this year. Many of those clinics are under the CPCF umbrella.
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