Tax credit pro-life bill keeps advancing
By Allen Palmeri
March 7, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – One of Gov. Matt Blunt’s three priority pro-life bills in the 2006 Missouri General Assembly, tax credits for pregnancy resource centers, has been passed out of committee in the state House of Representatives and is in the process of being validated as an agenda item for legislative leadership.
Rep. Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, and a member of Ballwin Baptist Church, Ballwin, is the House sponsor. Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville and a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Edgerton, will handle the bill in the Senate. Kerry Messer, lobbyist, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Christian Life Commission, noted that the bill has significant momentum.
“It’s exciting to see state government keeping with the biblical role of government to ‘reward those who do good’ by authorizing this tax credit,” Messer said.
The income tax credit will boost the level of contributions to the state’s approximately 30 evangelical pregnancy resource centers and 30 birthright centers, according to John McCastle, director of Alliance for Life Missouri. McCastle has served as a primary spokesman for the bill since he accompanied Blunt on a fly-around, bill-signing tour of the state’s major pregnancy resource centers in September. The tour was set up to celebrate pro-life legislation that was passed in a special legislative session and to look ahead to the day in 2006 when the tax credit bill would be advanced.
“In essence it will increase the amount of funds available by $2 million around the state,” he said. “It’s a $2 million tax credit. It just means that more women will be able to receive more services.”
Nile Abele, executive director of the Open Arms Pregnancy Resource Center in Columbia, said the tax credit will help to promote the services offered by such centers throughout Missouri. Open Arms, which has been operating in Columbia since 1992, also runs centers in Jefferson City, Moberly and Fulton.
“I see this as another way that God is not only going to be building awareness in all of our communities that we serve, in all pregnancy resource centers, but also touching the hearts of men and women in our communities for another way to build our funding base,” Abele said.
Ultimately, funds obtained by means of the tax credit should trigger increased, successful marketing of the ultrasound machine, which is “a .44 Magnum wound to the head of Planned Parenthood,” according to Open Arms Board Member Lex Bell, a deacon at Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City.
Bell said the statistic on Abele’s pro-life speaking display that 79 percent of abortion-minded women change their mind after having an ultrasound is true.
“I agree,” he said. “I think that is the industry standard. You can see right away why Planned Parenthood panics.”
In Columbia, Open Arms is located across the street from one of only two Planned Parenthood clinics in Missouri. One of Abele’s objectives is to destroy the idea that Planned Parenthood ought to be in business in Missouri because it “does some good things” along with providing abortion services.
“Somebody might say, ‘Well, a pedophile does some good things,’” Abele said. “‘He hands out some good candy to people.’”
In 2004, Planned Parenthood admitted that it killed 255,015 human beings in America, according to Life Decisions International.
“I think the Christian community needs to do everything we can to bring it to a point in time where abortions are no longer legal in our land,” Abele said.
“We need to help our churches and the community as a whole understand that we’re not an anti-abortion place, but we’re a clinic that helps women. I think what women today in a lot of cases are really looking for is somebody who will just listen to them, care about what they’re saying, and then help them work through that decision that they have to make.”
McCastle said the tax credit will create an environment where instead of struggling to pay bills from week to week, pregnancy resource centers will be able to take a few deep breaths and actually do some long-range financial planning. Bell said he looks forward to coming up with creative ways to market the services of Open Arms on college and university campuses. He emphasized with great joy that, thanks to the tax credit, the power of the ultrasound is about to be unleashed on a level where more women will become convinced that life is worth preserving.
“Once they see what it is, and they see that little kid moving, it makes a difference,” Bell said.