Washington D.C., Apr 1, 2019 / 15:54 pm
Low-income individuals and families in California will be able to receive taxpayer-funded services from a Catholic-backed pro-life health care network, thanks to a federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services and the end of a rule that required grantees to give abortion counseling.
“With this grant, the administration has opened up a new avenue of health care choices for low income and underserved women and their families in California,” Kathleen Eaton Bravo, founder and CEO of Obria Group, said March 29. “Many women want the opportunity to visit a professional, comprehensive health care facility – not an abortion clinic – for their health care needs; today HHS gave women that choice.”
The $1.7 million grant for 2019 will be used to expand services to low income individuals and families in four California counties. The grant could total up to $5.1 million through 2022, provided funds are available, the grantee complies with standards, and the project shows progress.
Before the Trump administration’s February change to federal rules, Title X-funded providers were required to counsel patients that abortion is an option to end pregnancy, a requirement dating back to the Clinton administration in the 1990s. That requirement discouraged many prospective grantees from applying.
Obria describes itself as “a nonprofit affiliate network of full-service medical clinics providing professional, comprehensive, and life-affirming care to low income women and men across the country.”
Its clinics do not perform abortions and do not provide contraceptives. It offers “comprehensive care” including pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and full prenatal care. It provides some remote medical care through a specialized smartphone app, which Obria said reduces barriers to quality health care.
“Obria clinics also provide parenting classes, adoption counseling and referral, sexual risk avoidance education, as well as referrals to other health and legal resources,” the network said on its website.
The organization launched in the 1990s as Birth Choice Pregnancy Centers, beginning as a volunteer-run nonprofit, the New York Times said.