The Kansas Pregnancy Care Network (KPCN) will administer a $2 million Alternatives to Abortion program that has sprouted in the Sunflower State. The initiative will promote childbirth instead of abortion to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
On Sept. 5, Kansas State Treasurer Steven Johnson announced that the KPCN was selected from three eligible bids submitted to the Department of Administration. The fledgling organization is modeled after, and will work closely with, the Texas Pregnancy Care Network, which administers a similar program in that state.
State-Funded Alternatives to Abortion in Kansas
“KPCN’s ability to draw on the experience of their affiliated organization in Texas will allow them to hit the ground running in implementing this program as the Legislature intended, serving women facing the difficulties of an unplanned pregnancy,” Johnson said.
The Alternatives to Abortion program in Texas provides support to pregnant women and their families, adoptive parents, and parents who have experienced miscarriage or the loss of a child. Services include counseling, mentoring, educational information and classes, referrals to government assistance programs and other social services programs, and housing and support through maternity homes.
Earlier this year, the Kansas Legislature appropriated $2 million to its Alternatives to Abortion program and directed the State Treasurer to conduct a request for proposals process to select a qualified non-profit organization to administer the initiative. The Alternatives to Abortion bill had been vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly in April, but the House and Senate overrode the governor.
According to Kansas Reflector, the KPCN’s directors include former state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, former U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Ron Kelsey, the president of Planned Parenthood Exposed, and Vicki Tiahrt, the wife of former U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt.
Huelskamp, who served in the Kansas Senate prior to Congress, was named president of Kansas Pregnancy Care Network. In an interview with Catholic News Agency, he admitted that the subject is somewhat personal: He has four adopted children and hopes the program will help more women choose life for their unborn babies.
Huelskamp, who has called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood in the past, told Catholic News Agency that the new program is “a social service with a material component” that helps pregnant women and mothers access food, diapers, counseling, and other nonmedical resources.
Pilcher-Cook, who served in the Legislature from 2005 to 2020, said the $2 million would bring to the forefront a network of people with a history of dedicating time and passion to women with unplanned pregnancies.
“It is an honor to work with the state treasurer’s office to support and enhance the efforts of Kansas pregnancy resource centers to empower a woman to welcome her child into the world,” Pilcher-Cook told The Reflector. “It will be crucial to provide transparency, while ensuring the essential care is provided for these vulnerable women and families.”