Bill would give tax breaks for centers that try to steer pregnant Ohioans away from abortion
There are 175 pregnancy resource centers in Ohio, which are backed by churches or other organizations that oppose abortion. Now there’s a bill under consideration that could give people and businesses donating to these centers a tax credit.
A pregnancy resource center (PRC) typically offers limited health care to women who are pregnant. The facilities are not regulated by the state as health care providers. These centers can do pregnancy tests, and often offer items like formula, diapers or cribs.
Sen. Sandra O’Brien (R-Ashtabula) said staff at these facilities are doing work that saves Ohio taxpayers. O’Brien cited a study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a group that advocates against abortion, that shows these centers save millions of dollars for their communities. O'Brien said her bill would give donors to these centers non-refundable tax credits.
“A tax credit is a very efficient and effective way to support these PRC’s. It encourages additional community investment and gets businesses involved in helping vulnerable women and families. It also gives individuals a greater opportunity to support PRC’s monetarily,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien noted a fiscal analysis of this bill that shows it caps the amount the state would have to incur at $10 million.
“They are outstanding organizations. I would certainly support, not only your initiative here but also getting more dollars to these folks,” Sen. Jerry Cirino (R-Kirkland) told O’Brien at a hearing on the bill.
Opponents question costs and motives
Some opponents call these facilities “fake health centers” because they advertise to draw pregnant women in, then give inaccurate information to deter them from abortion. Pro-Choice Ohio said on its social media that this bill is “a perfect example of the Ohio Legislature ignoring the message sent by voters last week” when they approved Issue 1, a constitutional amendment on abortion and reproductive rights. The group produceda study of its own that shows problems with these centers.
Advocates for legal abortion said this bill would give even more money to these centers which are already getting millions of tax dollars. Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) asked O’Brien about tax ramifications at the hearing, noting these centers and people who donate to them already benefit from tax deductions given to charitable organizations.
“I’m just wondering if there is another cost that will be to the state because of the reduction of the federal adjusted gross income which the state uses as the basis for applying state taxes to us,” Hicks-Hudson said.
Answers to that question and more will likely be coming in the weeks ahead as the bill gets additional hearings.