The Texas Tribune reports on an anti-abortion program in Texas that is drawing criticism for its secretiveness and rising cost — $100 million for the next two years.

This is the model for a counseling program adopted recently by the Arkansas legislature at the urging of Rep. Jim Dotson as part of the broad anti-abortion agenda of the Republican-controlled legislature.

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Dotson’s new law requires every woman seeking an abortion to talk with an anti-abortion counseling service about alternatives to abortion. The bill requires the Health Department to set up the hotline, a cost that has been estimated from $1 to $5 million. The Health Department would contract with a private agency to talk to women. They could NOT mention abortion as an alternative to a problem pregnancy.

The law takes effect in January, so we don’t yet know how it will evolve, but since it is modeled on the Texas law, the Tribune article provides some ideas of what might happen next, now that the state’s nose has been pushed into financing a tent full of private, non-profit agencies,, some focused more on preventing abortions that medical  or support services.

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Republican legislators aren’t concerned with the criticism and have protected the program while slashing others. Critics complain about lack of standards for services and the distribution of medically inaccurate information by some contractors.

Some contractors do provide some services pregnant women and new mothers need. Others are more focused on preventing abortions.

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Watch for this to happen in Arkansas.

The criticism about reliable data in Texas is relevant in Arkansas, because Dotson, citing putative Texas date, claimed the effort there discouraged a third of women contemplating abortions from following through. The Tribune report indicates reliable data aren’t available.

And speaking of Arkansas’s assault on women’s medical rights, here’s a new national article on the subject:

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