There's been a lot of attention paid to things being cut in Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett's proposed budget: funding for the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, a senior center staff member, the Chamber's Innovation Valley partnership. But for all the talk of belt tightening and hard times, there are a few new line items in the budget. A small but interesting one is a proposed $8,000 for the Hope Resource Center—an evangelical Christian health center that, among other things, counsels pregnant women against abortion. Burchett says he has toured the center and is impressed with its commitment to help mothers after they've given birth. "They provide educational classes for mamas with their kids," he says, "so that they know nutritional value and proper care of their children."
The website of the HRC (which, for the record, is a regular advertiser in Metro Pulse) includes information about abortion that seems designed to discourage it, warning of "the risk of physical harm." And the "About Hope" section of the site leaves little doubt about the Center's primary purpose:
In 2009, and so far in 2010 HOPE has served 2,930 women and men!
• 4,528 free services were provided
• 1,451 clients were presented with the Gospel of Jesus Christ
• 79 clients made a decision to receive Christ
• 352 clients were abortion minded
• 193 clients chose life!
Burchett says the county's proposed grant is aimed only at keeping children healthy, which he says will save money in the long run for the county's own health services. "The number of kids we see in our clinic is very high, and a lot of that's preventable," he says. "If we can prevent it on the front end, that's a small investment."