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How Christian Groups Push Right-Wing Religion With the Help of Your Tax Dollars

Taxpayer-funded crisis pregnancy centers are using religion to oppose abortion, and many of them only hire Christians.

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According to its website, “All Heartbeat International polices and materials are consistent with Biblical principles and with orthodox Christian (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) ethical principles and teaching on the dignity of the human person and sanctity of human life.”

Cline says that – unlike with Care Net – individual pregnancy centers affiliated with Heartbeat are not obligated to discriminate based on religion. She said the only requirement regarding their hiring practices is that they must comply with state and federal laws. Affiliates also must pledge to uphold Heartbeat International’s “ Commitment of Care and Competence.”

But that doesn’t mean Heartbeat opposes employment discrimination. In a posting on Heartbeat’s job registry, for example, PregnancyCare of Cincinnati states that it is looking for a general manager with “mature Christian faith” who will “set a good personal example of Christ-centered servant leadership.”

The third major CPC network in the U.S. is the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, based in Fredericksburg, Va. NIFLA was the first CPC network to promote ultrasounds in crisis pregnancy centers and works in tandem with Focus on the Family to transform CPCs into “medical clinics.” Like Heartbeat, NIFLA maintains an  online registry for available CPC jobs across the country. Many of the centers – some of which are also affiliated with Care Net or Heartbeat International – are only looking for Christians.

Recent open positions have included: a position for an executive director at Compassion Pregnancy Center in Clinton Township, Mich., who is a “dynamic disciple of Christ”; a position for an executive director at Option’s Women’s Clinic in Helena, Mont., who can “exhibit a strong Christian faith life”; and a position for an executive director at Concord, Calif., who “demonstrates a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and has a strong commitment and dedication to the pro-life position, the sanctity of human life, and sexual purity.”

In the abortion wars, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates are often portrayed as being in direct conflict with the major CPC networks. Each side has its own powerful political allies, and each has a stake in public policies that can lead to public funding. But among the many key differences between Planned Parenthood clinics and crisis pregnancy centers is in their hiring policies. According to a spokesperson, Planned Parenthood employers do not ask applicants about their religious beliefs, and the organization’s official hiring policy bars discrimination based on religion.

And while CPC applicants often must pledge to be against abortion, contraception, and, in many cases, premarital sex, Planned Parenthood says its policy is not to ask applicants about their views on such matters.

“People have a range of personal views on certain issues and for most, our views evolve over time,” said Planned Parenthood spokesperson Andrea Hagelgans in an email. “Planned Parenthood hires staff who are qualified, meet high professional standards and are able to promote the mission of the organization.”

‘YOU can be the one to introduce them to Jesus’

Many crisis pregnancy centers, even those that receive state or federal grants, are nonprofits with low budgets that rely on volunteers to help run the centers and counsel women facing crisis pregnancies.

Though they are unpaid, volunteers serve key roles in these organizations.

The state-funded Pregnancy Care Center in Tampa, Fla., has this  message for prospective volunteers (emphasis is original):

Our doors are open to women who do not know where else to turn, women searching for answers and help with unexpected pregnancies. Women who need honest information and material items for their baby.

 
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