Investigating State Support for Anti-Abortion Centers

American Oversight is investigating the proliferation of “crisis pregnancy centers,” which have received increased support from state governments since the fall of Roe v. Wade.

Recent years, especially since the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision, have seen a rise anti-abortion centers (sometimes called “crisis pregnancy centers” or “pregnancy resource centers”) — facilities that dissuade pregnant people from having an abortion but represent themselves as medical and reproductive care centers. American Oversight is using public records requests to investigate political and taxpayer support for these centers, particularly in states where access to abortion was restricted or banned after the fall of Roe v. Wade.

Anti-abortion centers often operate as volunteer-staffed nonprofit or religious organizations that integrate their anti-abortion rights agenda into the services they offer, which generally include pregnancy tests and counseling. Abortion-rights advocates have claimed that the facilities spread misinformation about pregnancy and abortion, and have raised concerns that the limited care offered by anti-abortion centers may increasingly be the only option accessible to some pregnant people.

Several conservative state governments have in recent years passed new legislation and increased financial support for anti-abortion centers. Taxpayer funding for anti-abortion centers increased dramatically after 2022 in states where abortion is now severely restricted: In 2023, Republican-led legislatures in 12 states passed 25 bills providing at least $250 million for anti-abortion centers.

In Florida, government spending for anti-abortion centers increased from $4.5 million in 2022 to $25 million in 2023. In Tennessee, spending for anti-abortion centers increased from roughly $3 million in 2022 to $20 million in 2023. According to an analysis of tax documents by the reproductive rights advocacy group Reproductive Health and Freedom Watch, anti-abortion centers nationally took in at least $1.4 billion in revenue in the 2022 fiscal year, at least $344 million of which came from government grants.

Many anti-abortion centers are also affiliated with or funded by right-wing groups that support anti-abortion rights legislation, and health departments in some Republican-led states have contracted with anti-abortion center networks to administer “alternatives to abortion” programs. Those networks have engaged in questionable financial practices and contract violations, such as using federal funds for religious material. In 2021, Equity Forward reported that anti-abortion centers in at least 10 states, including Texas, had misdirected funds meant for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to anti-abortion centers in their states. 

American Oversight has filed several public records requests seeking information that could shed light on how states are propping up these centers. In Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia — where abortion was restricted or banned after Roe was overturned — we have requested the release of contracts or communications state health departments may have had with groups that support anti-abortion rights legislation.

Read more about American Oversight’s ongoing investigation into threats to abortion access here