Forced-pregnancy scam that masqueraded as abortion clinics won't account for $1M in Pennsylvania tax-dollars

Real Alternatives organizes and funds the notorious, deceptive anti-abortion centers ("crisis pregnancy centers") that pretend to be abortion clinics, luring in women who wish to terminate their pregnancies with deceptive advertising and then lying to them about abortion procedures in an effort to coerce them into carrying their fetuses to term; they got $30,000,000 from the state of Pennsylvania and are now suing the state over an audit that was triggered by nearly $1M worth of unaccounted-for state funding.

Real Alternatives gave out much of that $30M to contractors, to whom they charged at 3% "reimbursement fee," allowing the organization to siphon off $906,000 in tax-dollars that they can't or won't account for.

When Eugene DePasquale, Pennsylvania's auditor general, asked Real Alternatives to account for this money, they sued him, arguing that the state does not have the right to audit them. DePasquale's office conducts 5,000+ audits a year, and this is the first time his office has been sued by the target of one of their audits.

Real Alternatives says their services provide poverty alleviation assistance to women who are tricked or coerced into having children; the lifetime aid they provide is capped at $24/woman.

In response to DePasquale's accusations, Real Alternatives put out a press release claiming that the money in question comes from "other corporate contracts using private funds" and accusing DePasquale of "attempting to audit expenses related to Real Alternatives' non-government, private contracts expenses using private funds." When Salon called the organization, we got a recording referring all journalists to this public statement.

It seems as if the question of where this money is coming from and how it's being spent on could easily be resolved by opening up the books and letting Pennsylvania's audit be completed. Instead, Real Alternatives is suing to prevent just such an audit from happening.

"It wasn't like we were going to their office with baseball bats looking for this," DePasquale said. "This was not necessarily high on our radar screen, right up until they decided to sue us so we couldn't see it. Now I'm convinced there's something there."

Deceptive anti-abortion group under investigation for skimming state funds in Pennsylvania
[Amanda Marcotte/Salon]