On the heels of a rally at the Arizona State Capitol protesting anti-abortion laws in other states, Arizona lawmakers introduced two bills late Tuesday that would fund a "family health pilot program."
It came as a surprise to some of the demonstrators who had to re-group to show up to the capitol Wednesday morning to talk to lawmakers. The plan is to allocate $2.5-million for three years to fund a state-wide program that would:
- Encourage healthy childbirth
- Support childbirth as an alternative to abortion
- Promote family formations and increase a families economic self-sufficiency
Cathi Herrod heads up the conservative advocacy group, Center for Arizona Policy, the group pushing for the legislation.
"The family health pilot program is modeled after a successful program in Texas that found good success at reaching women who wanted to know about abortion alternatives, but they just did not know how to find out that information," said Herrod.
Herrod says the program would use sophisticated marketing techniques to make contact with the pregnant women.
"It’s over the internet. It’s over the phone plus it’s also I believe in-person services," said Herrod.
Opponents of the idea, including some who rallied at the capitol on Tuesday, and Planned Parenthood Arizona say they're worried the plan is starting to threaten women's rights.
"Once Roe v. Wade is gone -- If we’re not fighting here at the state legislature today, we’re going to go back to a time where it’s criminal and punished by five years in prison," said Tayler Tucker with Planned Parenthood.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the plan 6-4. It will now move to the Senate.