In a Monday press release, Gov. Pence announced he was expanding Indiana’s contract with Real Alternatives, a nonprofit that provides “life-affirming” counseling to pregnant women. Real Alternatives promotes abstinence only education. In the three other states where Real Alternatives operate, service providers who work with them are barred from having any affiliation with entities that perform abortions or “ProAbortion” advocates.
But wait, there is more! So much more that it is easier to have a Top Ten List of disturbing, unethical, and underhanded components of this contract. In no particular order:
- The grant with ISDH and Real Alternatives was more than tripled from the 1 million in 2014 to 3.5 million. Though Pence cites the success of Real Alternatives, there is NO data from any source of how the success was measured.- The governor’s success parroted that of Indiana Right to Life.
- RA is Pennsylvania based organization and under investigation (a) by their State Auditor.
- The 3.5 million was taken from TANF monies. This is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – earmarked budgeted for ALL Hoosier families- not just the ProFetus ones.
- By statute the Governor can approve and reallocate monies without any legislative approval. Pence routinely does this by putting the spin that he is fiscally conservative and this grant (and others) isn’t costing taxpayers additional funds. See the link to last year when Pence announce he was giving more funds for Domestic Violence programming (b) when in fact he was using money he had ordered reverted back to surplus.
- Real Alternatives website is filled with inaccuracies, (lies) about abortion. A few examples: “Women who had abortions have increased risk of breast cancer”. Yet According to ACOG in 2009 “rigorous studies demonstrate no causal relationship.”
- Real Alternatives uses shaming and scare tactics. “Females With a History of Casual Sex report the most symptoms of Depression”; “There is evidence that abortion is associated with a decrease in emotional health. … This psychological response is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.” Not only are these unfounded, they are cruel and shaming.
- Neither the Pence administration nor The Indiana State Department of Health (a partner in this contract) have provided said contract to anyone. There has been no disclosure of the terms, conditions, etc. No data from the 2014 grant. Indiana has awarded a grant based on no data with no public contract of what the grant entails.
- Real Alternatives could be protected under RFRA. An investigation by Michigan detailed staff giving Scripture and Bible passages to clients. Their literature states they will not refer nor offer any counseling service that includes birth control or abortion.
- According to Michigan Department of Community Health, (c) during Real Alternatives’ pilot year they failed to sign up a single provider during their first 8 months.
- While Governor Pence has refused to release the contract, according to the Real Alternatives website, it is the State of Indiana that prohibits them from promoting, referring, or counseling for abortion.
This is just a small number of the disturbing, unethical and underhanded things that Real Alternatives lists on their website.