Legislation extending the expiration date of tax credits for donations to pregnancy centers has been approved by the Missouri House.

Representative Kevin Engler (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

The House has approved a bill reauthorizing the maternity home and the pregnancy resource center (PRC) tax credits for an additional six years. The vote was 122-33.

State Rep. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington), the bill sponsor, testified last week before the Missouri Senate Economic Development Committee.

“If we’re going to try to restrict abortions which has been the goal for some people a long time, then you have to actually give them some resources to be able to have a baby if they’re in a bad situation or if they’re addicted to drugs or if they’re a teenager or if they’re in an abusive situation,” Engler testifies.

Campaign Life Missouri Director Samuel Lee testifies for Engler’s bill, saying maternity homes and PRC’s provide valuable services to pregnant women and children in Missouri.

“With these tax credits, which are very popular with their donors to these agencies, they are able to increase their services to women and children, born and unborn, and many families have been helped,” Lee says.

Lee tells senators there are now 69 PRC’s in Missouri, up from 48 in 2007. He says the facilities provide free assistance to women with crisis or unplanned pregnancies to assist women in carrying their pregnancies to term.

Lee says PRC’s provide free pregnancy tests, prenatal vitamins, maternity clothing, diapers and baby clothes and furniture.

NARAL Missouri Executive Director Alison Dreith testifies against the bill, telling senators that pregnancy resource centers “often lie to and shame women.”

“And when women come to these crisis pregnancy centers and are lied to about the development of their fetuses and how far along they are, this adds to exasperate women not getting the prenatal care that they need,” Dreith tells senators.

Dreith also alleges that some PRC’s tell women that birth control will give them breast cancer.

Dreith tells senators NARAL Missouri is not opposed to the maternity homes.

Lee says the services maternity homes and PRC’s provide to pregnant women and children has relieved the burden on taxpayers, since they might have otherwise relied more on government assistance.

The Missouri Catholic Conference also testified for Engler’s bill.

The Senate Economic Development Committee, which is chaired by State Sen. Jay Wasson (R-Nixa), has not voted on the bill yet.