Abortion bill gives tax credit for pregnancy help centers

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JEFFERSON CITY - A section in House Bill 126, which would ban abortions after eight weeks, provides an incentive for taxpayers to donate to pregnancy resource centers.

If the bill passes, people who donate to resource centers would receive a 70% tax credit, up from the current 50%. The tax credit is directly taken from what the taxpayer owes to the state.

Leslie Kerns, the director of The Pregnancy Help Center in Jefferson City, said an increased credit would be a “big benefit” because the center does not receive any state or federal funds.

“Everything is through donations,” she said. “Having more available in tax credits is going to make a lot of difference in how much dollars they’re able to give to us.”

She said the center is different from Planned Parenthood, but overlaps with some services that the agency provides. The center offers free pregnancy tests, counseling services and connections to community resources.

NARAL Pro-Choice America criticizes pregnancy centers, saying they provide misleading information with religious zeal. Kerns said, while the organization is faith-based, it does not force religion upon clients and refers them to licensed doctors when needed.

Kerns said the center would expect a greater demand for its services if abortions become more restricted.

“I think definitely we could see more clients, and to have this increased funding is going to be a big benefit so we can continue to offer our services,” she said.

Kerns said it is common to see clients without support.

“We get people from all kinds of backgrounds, from all sorts of situations with different needs,” Kerns said. “We just listen to what they need and we try to hook them up with whatever resources that might be.”

The tax credit only applies to donations to qualified pregnancy resource centers.