When I first read an article from February 7, “Anti-Abortion Centers Raising Millions of Taxpayer’s Money,” I looked several times at the $89 million that was allocated to these centers during this exercise. I was shocked that it was so little, considering that $682,000 of federal funding was spent on research that included studying shrimp on treadmills.

There are approximately nearly 4,000 pregnancy centers across the country. If each had the budget of the pregnancy center where I work, they would get $661,000 less than the research that included studying shrimp on treadmills. Is this some kind of joke? Because I appreciate a baby more than a shrimp.

When you work in a pregnancy center, you only see the dollars coming into your clinic. In the pregnancy center where I work, we see maybe $500 to $800 a month on our state billing. Thank goodness for our donors. I have read the article several times and they do not say that without donors we would have to close our doors.

Our doctor and our nurse give of their time. The doctor has a full-time job but volunteers to oversee our clinic, and our nurse is a licensed volunteer. There are three people paid: the ultrasound technician at six hours a week, the office manager at six hours a week and the manager at 28 hours a week. The director earns $18 an hour (minus taxes, which will surely pay for abortions and have been for years). And she is paid more per hour than the others.

A nurse holds an ultrasound abdominal probe at a crisis pregnancy center in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Let me tell you how we do it here: There is no charge to our customers for any service we provide. Every minute you spend on admission paperwork, we get $1.25 from the state. We are limited to 30-40 minutes unless, of course, the young lady needs more time, then we sign the official documents and continue our conversation – especially if prayer is needed. The state makes it very clear that there is no prayer on their time.

We also have a program for women and families called Earn While You Learn, which is an e-learning DVD or video where customers earn points to use for donated diapers and clothing. Once a month they come and chat with us about the video ($1.25 from the state) and that conversation which lasts no more than 20 minutes. We cannot charge when the DVD or video is viewed, or when they purchase from the store with the points earned. All products in the store are given away.

Nowhere in the article does it mention the free tests for sexually transmitted infections that we do. The training of each person in the collection of samples is our responsibility. We collect urine in medical cups (Disease Detection Center expenses), we put on gloves (at our expense), put urine in sealed test tubes (CDD expenses), label (CDD expenses) , computer entry (our expense), put in box (CDD fee), print labels (our ink, our paper), keep records, books with matching label (our expense), and ship via UPS.

All telephone work is done through us, as is the storage of said forms in a locked office (at our expense). For this we get $10 per test, the state is charged $15 – so our free test for sexually transmitted infections actually costs the state $25 per person.

Carol Lockhart lives in Fort White.

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