North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the “good outweighs the bad” in the state budget.
 Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

North Carolina lawmakers agreed on a state budget with no Medicaid expansion—but over $15 million in funding for deceptive anti-choice pregnancy centers.

Last Thursday, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed North Carolina’s first state budget in his five years as governor, insisting that the “good outweighs the bad” in a bill that passed with veto-proof majorities in the Republican-controlled legislature. But there’s a lot of bad.

While the budget increased the child tax deduction, it didn’t expand Medicaid, which would have allowed more than 500,000 people in North Carolina to become eligible for health insurance, according to Planned Parenthood.

“State lawmakers have again put politics before the health of North Carolinians by rejecting federal dollars to expand Medicaid, throwing away the most significant step state leaders can take toward getting the coverage people need to live healthy, productive lives, and lowering infant and maternal mortality in the state,” Alison Kiser, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic, said in a press release.

The budget does, however, include more than $15.6 million for deceptive anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers.” North Carolina has 83 of these in the state, compared to just 15 abortion clinics.

As Caroline Reilly wrote for Rewire News Group:

CPCs are more than just a money-draining nuisance—for many patients, a CPC can delay access to actually having an abortion at, you know, a real clinic. The federal money these fake clinics receive is a blatant affront to the separation of church and state as, unsurprisingly, many are religiously affiliated.

Not to mention, They are part of a grander scheme of anti-abortion culture that perpetuates violence against patients and providers. And they do it all under the guise of “pregnancy counseling” or some other vague phrase they know will mislead people into thinking they actually provide care.

Abortion is severely restricted in North Carolina, with parental notification laws and provider requirements that shame and hinder pregnant people seeking abortions. The new budget even excludes abortion providers from state funding for family planning, pregnancy prevention, and teen parenting programs.

North Carolina has the country’s 30th highest maternal mortality rate, according to Planned Parenthood. At least nine maternity units in the state have closed since 2013. It’s pretty clear what North Carolina lawmakers’ priorities are, and Black women—who are three to four times more likely to die due to pregnancy-related complications than white women—are not one of them.