CNA Staff, Dec 14, 2020 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- Abortion clinics and lobbyists received millions of dollars in emergency small business loans during the pandemic, one pro-life group reports.

According to data from the Small Business Administration (SBA) reported by the group Secular Pro-Life, abortion businesses received more than $3.5 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a federal program set up in March to provide emergency loans to small businesses and non-profits.

These recipients included women’s health clinics and centers from around the country such as the Washington chain Feminist Women’s Health Center which received a $443,321 loan, Atlanta Women’s Medical Center which received a $211,864 loan, and the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, recipient of a $121,500 loan.

In addition, pro-abortion lobbying groups also received more than $9.3 million in PPP loans, including national groups such as the Center for Reproductive Rights—more than $3.3 million—the National Abortion Federation—more than $583,000—and the Guttmacher Institute—more than $3 million.

According to the PPP rules, abortion provider Planned Parenthood was intended to be excluded from the small business loans, as a non-profit with more than 500 employees.

However, it was reported in May that 37 of the organization’s affiliates received more than $80 million, and the SBA canceled the loans. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) requested an SBA investigation into the matter.

A group of senators led by Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) introduced the LIFE NOW Act to allow larger non-profits with more than 500 employees to access the PPP loans, such as the YMCA and religious groups. However, the legislation specifically excluded abortion providers from the loans.

State affiliates of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) also received PPP loans, according to SBA data reported by Secular Pro-Life. NARAL affiliates in Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, and Oregon received more than $256,000 in PPP loans.

Other pro-abortion lobbying groups included the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which received more than $95,000 in PPP loans, the National Network of Abortion Funds which received $685,000 in PPP loans, and the National Institute for Reproductive Health, which received a $434,000 loan.

As CNA reported earlier this year, religious organizations and churches were among those to receive PPP loans. A July 9 AP report showed that Catholic groups received between $1.4 and $3.5 billion in PPP loans

Catholic Charities affiliates, for instance, received an estimated $100-200 million in PPP loans, but reported distributing nearly $400 million in relief during the pandemic.

When the program was first created, small religious groups—such as individual Catholic parishes—were unsure if they would qualify for the small business loans, as they might be counted together with larger entities such as their diocese, and thus be considered too large for the program.

However, subsequent guidance from the SBA clarified that many religious groups would not be counted together.

Read More: CNA US News