Tax credit for life-affirming pregnancy centers to benefit Vicksburg’s Center for Pregnancy Choices

Published 10:34 am Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed the Pregnancy Resource Act into law on April 21, a first-of-its-kind legislation benefitting life-affirming pregnancy centers including Vicksburg’s Center for Pregnancy Choices.

Sponsored by House Speaker Philip Gunn, the law establishes a $3.5 million tax credit to help pregnancy resource centers serve women and children in their communities and is the first such law in the country.

“Mississippi has an unwavering commitment to ensuring that every heartbeat inside the womb has the opportunity to beat outside the womb,” Reeves said in a statement. “Today (April 21), we take another step towards protecting the sanctity of life and standing up for the unborn.”

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Mississippi is home to more than 30 life-affirming pregnancy centers that provide care and practical support to women and babies before and after birth. In 2019 alone, these centers provided $1.9 million in services and materials to more than 12,000 people. There are 2,700 pregnancy centers nationwide that provide essential medical, education and support services to millions of clients a year.

Locally, the Center for Pregnancy Choices at 1401 Adams St. sees nearly 1,000 women each year. It provides free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, 3D ultrasounds, parenting classes, counseling for expectant parents and comprehensive explanations of the options a woman has when she becomes pregnant. Mothers also have access to the center’s “baby boutique” and a free convertible car seat for their child.

Director Shannon Bagley said the Pregnancy Resource Act will greatly benefit Vicksburg’s only pregnancy resource center.

“What I love about it is, (the state legislature) could’ve just said, ‘We’re giving everyone a certain amount of money,’ and that would’ve been great, too,” Bagley said. “But that would’ve made us very reliant on the governmental system, and I think they were trying to guide away from that.

“Instead, it’s like, how can we encourage the state as a whole to support these places in what they’re doing? For me, it’s very innovative.”

Bagley said the tax credit will be applicable for both businesses and individuals, and those eligible for the tax credit will be eligible to get up to 50 percent of their donation returned to them. For Vicksburg’s center, she said, it’s an incentive to further build a local donor base.

In addition to local patients, Vicksburg’s Center for Pregnancy Choices serves women from as far as Natchez, Port Gibson, Madison, Jackson and East Louisiana. It served 800 women in 2021 alone, and in previous years served more than 1,000.

“We help women and families that are in an unexpected pregnancy, who are feeling overwhelmed and unsure how they’re going to have this child or have the addition of another child in their life,” she said. “Our mission is to educate, to help people know there is more for them and that there is someone in their life who wants to see them succeed.”