$1 Million In state funding for West Virginia Pro-Life Centers

By Sadie Keaton, West Virginians for Life Legislative Director

Sadie Keaton, Sherri Stevens, Governor Jim Justice, Mary Anne Buchanan, Cindy Mansberger, Larry Pack, Dr. Wanda Franz, Lisa Pack 

Last January, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, in his 2023 State of the State address, recognized the progress West Virginia has made in protecting life and called for further action in the post-Roe era. “As long as I’m your governor, I will stand with life – period,” he continued, “I’m proposing that we take care of the moms.”

The Governor delivered on a major goal of West Virginians for Life in the speech when he explicitly called for, and included in his budget proposal, $1 million in state funding for pregnancy resource centers and other life affirming organizations.

During the 2023 Legislative Session that followed, West Virginians for Life worked diligently with Governor Justice and pro-life legislators to pass the Support for Mothers and Babies Act (HB2002). The law provides funding for life affirming organizations such as Pregnancy Resource Centers and Maternity Homes in West Virginia.

With bipartisan supermajorities supporting the Support for Mothers and Babies Act, Governor Justice signed the bill into law at Crossroads Pregnancy Center in Charleston, West Virginia on March 28, 2023.

The statute requires the funds to be administered by a pro-life third-party management agency, not bureaucrats with questionable motivations. In the months that followed the law’s enactment, the West Virginia Pregnancy Center Coalition was selected to develop the program, advertise the availability of funds, and distribute the monies to life affirming service providers as the management agency. The Coalition is a non-profit network of pro-life pregnancy centers whose board membership includes representation from West Virginians for Life.

The Support for Mothers and Babies Act provides $1,000,000 in funding to pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes, in West Virginia. Pregnancy resource centers (PRCs), formerly known as crisis pregnancy centers, are non-profits that offer support and services free of charge to mothers and their babies in need, especially expecting mothers in need. They do not perform or refer for abortion, and are prohibited by law from doing so if they wish to receive state funding.

PRCs can apply to receive funds from the Support for Mothers and Babies Program on a fee-for-service basis. For example, a PRC that offers professional counseling services may submit a reimbursement request to the Pregnancy Care Coalition to cover the cost of the counseling services, once the service has been offered – even if the service was provided by a volunteer.

State reimbursement for services provided by life-affirming organizations will now dramatically expand the resources available to care for families. A pregnancy center, for example, that has dollars coming in to cover the cost of their everyday services finally has the financial flexibility to pursue new medical service offerings, expansion of counseling capabilities, or make needed repairs to their facility.

All told, the Support for Mothers and Babies Program is a major pro-life victory in a state with one of the nation’s strongest post-Dobbs protective laws.

Choosing life in West Virginia has, demonstrably, never been a greater priority for our citizens and our lawmakers.