New proposal would give tax credit to Nebraskans who donate to pregnancy help centers

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) —A new proposal in the Legislature would provide a tax credit to people who support pregnancy help centers.

The Nebraska Pregnancy Help Act, sponsored by Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston, was discussed Friday by the Revenue Committee.

Karen Bowling, executive director of the Nebraska Family Alliance, said more than two dozen such organizations “provide essential and professional care in virtually every type of community: urban, rural, college settings and even mobile medical units. They are bright light of compassionate care.”

Supporters said the bill would especially help low-income and minority women in Nebraska. 

“Building stable families builds a much better local community, and local communities make for a better Nebraska,” said Laura Buddenberg with Essential Pregnancy Services in Omaha.  

The bill would only offer the credit to donors who give to pregnancy support organizations that do not perform or refer for abortions. 

These are nonprofits that provide services like counseling, housing, job training, diapers and baby formula. 

Opponents of the bill said many of these groups have religious ties. Abortion rights advocates say some of these organizations provide misleading information on abortion. 

“Unfortunately, those who are opposed to abortion have developed a national network of anti-abortion organizations called crisis pregnancy centers that restricts control and manipulates information,” said Claire Weibe with Planned Parenthood.  

Opponents also said these places lack medical professionals, so they don’t have to follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the medical privacy law.

“HIPAA laws that protects patients’ information only apply to medical clinics and providers,” said Mindy Rush Chipman, executive director of the ACLU of Nebraska. “Therefore, information shared with these facilities is not protected and not required to be treated as confidential.” 

The bill requires the Nebraska Department of Revenue to verify these nonprofits groups in order for donations to qualify.

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