Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced plans at his annual State of the State address Monday to expand support for crisis pregnancy centers to $100 million as part of a broader effort to promote social welfare and assist women and families. The proposed investment comes after abortion was banned in the state in August 2022.
“We must provide a safety net for those who are facing unplanned pregnancies,” Lee said during his State of the State address. The proposal is part of a larger package of initiatives aimed at helping women and families, including expanding access to affordable childcare, increasing funding for programs that help victims of domestic violence, and providing more resources for job training and career development.
“We must ensure that all Tennesseans have the opportunity to live safe, healthy, and productive lives,” he said. “This package of initiatives will go a long way towards achieving that goal.”
“Pro-life is much more than defending the lives of the unborn; it’s about protecting and promoting human dignity in all its forms,” Lee continued. “This isn’t a matter of politics, this is about recognizing that every life has value and should be treated with respect.”
To further this mission, Lee proposed several initiatives to ensure that pregnant women and parents have access to the resources they need. These included increased funding for crisis pregnancy centers, widening Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women and parents, asking the federal government to cover the cost of diapers for Medicaid recipients, and granting additional paid parental leave time for state employees.
Governor Lee’s proposed budget seeks to provide financial support for families with unborn children, a move that has been lauded by many as an essential step in protecting the lives of the unborn. “There was a significant shift in this country last year when it comes to protecting the lives of the unborn,” Lee said, referring to the overturn of Roe v. Wade. “We now all have an opportunity, a moral obligation, to support strong Tennessee families.”
The governor is confident that his proposal will be approved by the Tennessee General Assembly, which is majority Republican in both houses. If passed, Tennessee would become the first Medicaid program in the nation to implement such measures. “That’s pro-life. That’s pro-family,” Lee declared. He believes that providing financial assistance to expecting mothers and their families will help ensure that every child born in the state can access basic necessities and reach their full potential.
A Tennessee nonprofit medical clinic, Pregnancy Resource Center, is “committed to providing holistic wraparound care for women, men, and families in need,” according to CEO Valerie Millsapps. “We offer a wide range of services, including pregnancy testing, ultrasound exams, STD testing, and counseling. We also provide resources such as parenting classes, material assistance, and referrals to other community programs.”
Millsaps added that she is “proud” of the work her organization has done over the years to serve those in need and looks forward to continuing to do so with the support of the governor and state Assembly.
While this bill was passed in Tennessee and therefore cannot help Choices Pregnancy Centers, we can rejoice with those who will get the help they need. Furthermore, this bill helps raise awareness about pregnancy centers, what we do, and how we offer vital support for women.
What Can You Do?
Choices help women throughout all stages of pregnancy as well as providing resources, educational classes, counseling, free ultrasounds, STD testing, and more.
Please consider joining us in this ministry. Already helping out? We thank you for your support! Without your generosity, Choices would not be possible. Would you like to learn more? Give us a call today and find out how you can help!