FILE - Ohio Capitol Columbus

The Ohio State Capitol in downtown Columbus.

An Ohio state representative introduced legislation to offer tax credits to people who donate to nonprofit crisis pregnancy centers.

These centers are designed to discourage abortion and help expecting mothers in crisis situations find alternative solutions. They oftentimes offer counseling to pregnant women, assist with child-rearing services and provide financial assistance.

Donations to these nonprofit pregnancy centers are already tax deductible as are donations to nonprofits that promote abortion rights, such as Planned Parenthood. But this bill would institute an additional credit for donations to these crisis pregnancy centers, which incentivizes prospective donors to give them more money. The bill would establish a 50 percent tax credit for these donations, which means that donors would receive a 50-cent tax rebate for every dollar donated to one of these centers.

“We want to see families and children thrive here in the state of Ohio,” Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, told The Center Square via email. “This bill specifically does that – it comes alongside families who are in need of help. 163 pregnancy resource centers are doing incredible work in our state. We are here to protect life in all forms and all stages, and a pregnancy resource center comes alongside families and really helps them thrive.”

Powell is sponsoring the legislation, House Bill 297, with Rep. Timothy Ginter, R-Salem.

Gov. Mike DeWine has argued that investing in children and families is a top priority, an initiative with which Powell said this legislation will help. She said that Ohioans know how to spend money better than the government and that this bill provides an incentive to help families in their communities.

The measure has received support from activists who oppose legal abortion rights, but opposition from activists who support legal abortion rights.

“We are certainly supportive of this legislation, which incentivizes people to give generously to local life-affirming pregnancy resource centers,” Jamieson Gordon,  director of communications and marketing for the Ohio Right to Life, told The Center Square in an email.

“Pregnancy centers act as bridges to connect women in need with resources in their community,” she said. “The services that they provide include medical services and parenting classes, but they are not limited to that. They can also include connections to low-income or subsidized housing, childcare, or even help navigating WIC. Each center is different, because each community is different, and they seek to meet the needs of the women and children in their community.”

Gabriel Mann, communications manager for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, told The Center Square that his organization opposes this legislation. Mann referred to these centers as “fake women’s health centers” and accused them of spreading misinformation to pregnant women.

“Fake women's health centers are ideologically driven organizations who are frequently not staffed by health care professionals and who give biased, anti-abortion messages to people,” Mann said. “It is never acceptable for tax dollars to be paying people to lie about pregnancy options.”

Earlier this year, DeWine signed legislation to prohibit abortion before a fetal heartbeat. Both the House and the Senate have a Republican majority.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Ohio for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.