Funding for service programs for expecting mothers cut after lawmakers repeal state grant program

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(ABC 6 News) – This session, Minnesota lawmakers decided to repeal the state’s Positive Alternatives to Abortion (PAA) grant program and in turn, has cut funding to programs that provide resources to young and expecting mothers.

Lawmakers say the decision to repeal the program was to prevent Crisis Pregnancy Centers from receiving state funds.

Shoshana Sindt is a mother of two, with another baby on the way. Sindt knows parenting is not easy and certainly not cheap.

That’s why every month, Sindt depends on Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota.

Through the Catholic Charities Pregnancy, Parenting, and Adoption program (PPA), Sindt attends parenting classes, picks up free diapers, car seats, rental assistance and anything else she may need but can’t quite afford.

“It just kind of saved us for last minute groceries or anything the kids needed, it covered it,” Sindt said.

But the future of these services is now in jeopardy.

Catholic Charities PPA program is funded through the state’s PAA program, which was cut during this year’s legislative session.

“This program, Positive Alternatives to Abortion, I mean its right in the name, this was a program that was meant to turn women away from having abortions,” explained Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester).

Rep. Liebling says that the funding through the PAA program was going towards crisis pregnancy centers in the state, many centers using the funds to sway women from having abortions and even giving them misinformation.

The decision to repeal the program instead of amend it, was met with strong support and harsh criticism.

“Billions and billions of dollars in the surplus. Now we’re cutting this program and I honestly never received a good reason,” said Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron). “I heard some reasons to have policies and procedures to prevent bad actors, but whenever we offered ‘well lets do this’, nothing was taken seriously.”

Around $457,465 was funneled into various organizations throughout southeast Minn. every year through the PAA program.

Catholic Charities was one of these recipients and was set to receive $250,000 every year through Dec. 2025.

The communications director of Catholic Charities, Christi Reynard, says none of this money went to any type of medical service or anything that would sway women from having abortions. In fact, she says this funding was only for women who decided to keep the baby and was aimed at helping them afford and adjust to being a parent.

“Every cent goes towards supporting our new and expecting parents in some shape or form,” Reynards explained.

In 2022, Catholic Charities used the hundreds of dollars of funding to help 450 new and expecting parents and provided more than $100,000 in rental and utility assistance for struggling parents.

That steady stream of promised money, now dry.

“They were actually very useful for parents because they are things that a doctor might not think of, or there’s more research put into it, and you can ask the questions one-on-one, it’s not really time limited,” said Sindt. “I do really hope they get more funding to keep this program.”

Reynards says while the bill may have had good intentions, without the funding, mothers like Sindt and the youngest Minnesotans will suffer.

In order to keep the services for mothers in the area, Reynards says that they are hoping to secure new state grants. However, the parenting classes have been cut due to low funding.

Rep. Liebling says that lawmakers created other legislation to help parents such as Paid Family and Medical Leave. She also says that there are other state programs that offer similar resources and services for parents like Healthy Beginnings and Healthy Families.