April 25, 2012 — Many crisis pregnancy centers -- which seek to dissuade women from obtaining abortion care -- only hire Christians, even though they receive funding from state and federal governments, the American Independent reports.
Texas is one of at least seven states that provide funding for CPCs, according to the American Independent. The states are allotting a combined $17 million to these centers in fiscal year 2012. Although the CPCs are banned from using state funds to promote their faith, many use religion to make hiring decisions.
For example, the Life Center -- a CPC in Texas that receives funding through the state's Alternatives to Abortion Services Program -- posted an opening for a new receptionist whose job requirements included agreeing with the center's "Common Christian Beliefs." However, each page of the job application states, "The Life Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer."
Some CPCs receive federal funding. South Dakota's Rapid City Care Net -- part of the national Care Net organization of CPCs -- was awarded a $34,000 "capacity building" grant in 2010 through the federal economic stimulus bill. Last year, the center received $25,000 for capacity building from the not-for-profit National Fatherhood Initiative, which is supported by HHS's Office of Family Assistance.
The national Care Net organization includes more than 1,100 CPCs and Care Net requires that "all board members, staff and volunteers of [centers] agree with the Care Net Statement of Faith."
Hiring Discrimination not Necessarily Illegal
Under federal law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against potential employees based on religious beliefs, but the law provides an exception for religious organizations that "seems to include the Rapid City center and other CPCs," according to the American Independent.
A spokesperson for HHS's Administration for Children and Families said the agency is reviewing the Care Net grant situation, adding, "All grantees and any sub recipients are required to follow the law and provide the services described under the terms and conditions of the grant" (Resnick, American Independent, 4/24).