The homeless women who call Maggie’s Place for help are usually about 22 weeks pregnant, alone, and with no way to care for themselves or their unborn babies. Most have either been abused, trafficked, or addicted to drugs.
More than 70 pregnant, homeless women call Maggie’s Place each week, desperate for help. With just 26 beds available, the maternity home is forced to turn away many endangered women.
Maggie’s Place doesn’t refer women for abortions, so Governor Katie Hobbs wants to completely defund it, sending expectant mothers back to the streets. No abortions, no funding. These are the most vulnerable of the growing homeless in Arizona, where we led the nation in the rise of homelessness in 2021, with an increase of 30%.
Lawmakers understand the state’s interest in caring for these vulnerable women and their unborn babies, so they increased funding for them from $200,000 to $500,000 in 2022. This pays for housing, basic care, parental training, mental health counseling, and more to help women become self-sufficient. The maternity home served 88 pregnant women, 37 children, and 40 babies in 2022.
Governor Hobbs wants to take away this critical funding and direct more money to abortion clinics funneled through Title X.
Current Arizona law forbids state taxpayer dollars to be used for abortions, but Title X provides federal funds for low-income family planning and women’s health care. Under the Biden administration, that money can fund clinics providing abortions. Hobbs’ budget proposal takes $500,000 from pregnant, homeless women and matches $6.1 million in Title X contributions, generating millions in funding for abortion clinics.
Governor Hobbs hides behind the deceptive claim that 91% of Arizonans support abortion. But it is not the unrestricted abortion Hobbs champions. Of that 91%, only 41% support abortion without limits; 50% support abortion only under certain circumstances, which can range from cases of rape and incest to different stages of development.
Furthermore, a recent Marist poll shows 76% of Americans want significant restrictions on abortion, and they still oppose using taxpayer money for abortions.
Hobbs coined a nifty phrase to appeal to a diverse Arizona, claiming she is a “governor for everyone.” Apparently not for pregnant, homeless women, nor for children struggling in their neighborhood school and looking for a better option.
Hobbs wants to take choice away from 35,000 families who have found hope in the educational options afforded through universal Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.
Consider the growing number of students at Grace Evangelical Lutheran School who could not afford even the comparably inexpensive tuition if not for ESAs. The school charges these working-class families only what it costs to provide the education.
Pastor David Clark says students in his Glendale community fell behind during the shutdown but are now prospering in smaller classes and with one-on-one attention, thanks to ESAs. He believes public schools are a “tremendous blessing from God” but sees how Grace provides a unique niche that serves some in the larger community.
Hobbs, who had the benefit of a private education herself, wants to take that opportunity away from parents at Grace and other schools. This, although lawmakers increased public school funding by a billion dollars and promised to raise the Aggregate Expenditure Limit by the deadline.
Not everyone excels in public school. A single mother of a struggling middle school student in Phoenix realized that when her daughter started to regress academically and socially. A universally available ESA made it possible for her to attend Phoenix Christian Preparatory School. Now, her daughter is flourishing in a class of just 15 students and a better-suited environment. Hobbs’ budget would take that away from her and thousands of other students.
Arizonans want elected officials to work together. Legislative leaders have signaled an intention to do just that but were met with a less than serious proposition. A “governor for everyone” does not propose an ideologically driven budget that takes a hatchet to popular and meaningful programs serving Arizona families. Governor Hobbs should put her actions where her mouth is and work with the lawmakers Arizonans elected to solve real problems, instead of returning political favors and appeasing her base.
Cathi Herrod is president of Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), a nonprofit advocacy organization committed to promoting and defending the foundational principles of life, marriage and family, and religious freedom.