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    Alternatives Pregnancy Care Clinic sues California Department of Health


    On March 19, Alternatives Pregnancy Care Clinic, through attorney Tim Smith of McKinley and Smith, filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Health Services (DHS) for violating the requirements stipulated in Gov. Wilson’s Community Challenge Grant Program.

    Approved on July 20, 1996, the Program was designed “…to provide community challenge grants to reduce the number of teenage and unwed pregnancies” by “…funding existing and new community-based nonprofit organizations and county and local governments,” as stated in Assembly Bill 3483, section 18993.

    Dana Serrano, Alternatives’ administrative director, is not happy that the funds allocated by the program have been denied. The DHS turned down her request for funds, and Serrano appealed. The following month, February, they turned her down again. This is when Capitol Resource Institute (CRI) stepped in, and took her case. “This is wrong,” she said flatly. “Those funds are there for abstinence-promoting organizations, and they aren’t getting the money.”

    In fact, only one percent of the $50 million in state grants went to abstinence-only organizations, and this only after the Santa Clara and Orange county groups filed appeals.

    “I think the deck is stacked against pro-life organizations,” commented Bob Sheridan, president of the board of directors of Life Choices. “Governor Wilson has had a history of looking down on pro-life and Christian organizations.”

    Alternatives’ board met to decide on what to do after being turned down, and prayerfully considered the possibility of negative publicity and the effort, and went forward with legal action.

    “Our biggest concern is to make people aware of the problem so things will change,” said Serrano. “No one else is in a position to sue and we want to get the money to the right people.”

    Sheridan does not believe that the decision will effect other organizations, even if Alternative’s legal action results in the awarding of funds.

    In an effort to unite abstinence-only agencies, CRI created the California Abstinence Coalition (CAC). Through the CAC, CRI hopes to get the Challenge Grant Program’s funds in the appropriate hands.

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