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Arizona Lawmakers to Give Religious Extremists $3 Million to Deceive Vulnerable Women

Phoenix, AZ–Today, the national religious equality watchdog organization American Atheists and the Secular Coalition for Arizona spoke out against SB 1328/HB 2388, which would give $3 million to religious “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs).

CPCs often locate themselves next to full service medical centers, install signs imitating those of nearby medical centers, and list themselves as abortion providers in online directories and searches, despite not actually offering full reproductive health services.

“CPCs use these deceptive marketing practices to lure pregnant women into their religious facilities. Once in the door, they face harassment, bullying, and shaming,” explained Tory Roberg, Director for Government Affairs at the Secular Coalition for Arizona, who is testifying today against SB 1328. “Our state should protect women from these deceptive religious pregnancy centers—not give them taxpayer dollars to harm women.”

Multiple organizations, including the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) and the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (NAPSAG), have condemned CPCs’ failure to meet medical and ethical standards.

A 2018 article in the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics also called the CPCs unethical. “Because the religious ideology of these centers’ owners and employees takes priority over the health and well-being of the women seeking care at these centers, women do not receive comprehensive, accurate, evidence-based clinical information about all available options,” wrote the authors. 

“Arizona women need real health and pregnancy care,” said Alison Gill, Vice President for Legal and Policy at American Atheists. “Not a single tax dollar should fund deceptive organizations that try to prevent women from accessing the health care services they need.”

“Lawmakers should put the health and safety of Arizona women first,” said Nick Fish, president of American Atheists. “It’s unconscionable that they seem to be more interested in doing the bidding of their extremist backers at the Center for Arizona Policy than protecting the well-being of their constituents.”