Pennsylvania Governor Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) passed a new state budget last week that strips pro-life pregnancy centers of state funds.
Shapiro announced on Thursday that he will no longer fund Real Alternatives, a nonprofit organization responsible for running Pennsylvania’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services. The contract with the agency will be terminated effective in January 2024.
Planned Parenthood, which lobbied vocally for Shapiro’s election to office, praised the decision, calling it “an enormous win for every Pennsylvanian.”
“We all deserve access to the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health care, and yes that means abortion too,” said Signe Espinoza, Planned Parenthood P.A. Advocates executive director.
State senator Doug Mastriano, who ran against Shapiro for the governor’s mansion in 2022, criticized his former opponent.
“Gov. Shapiro’s actions will jeopardize the health of pregnant women and lives of babies across the commonwealth,” Mastriano said in a statement. “Pennsylvania women currently have access to counseling and services that provide resources about parenting, adoption and other healthy alternatives to abortions. Gov. Shapiro’s decision amounts to a death sentence for countless Pennsylvania babies.”
Pennsylvania women who experience crisis pregnancies deserve to know there are options available to them other than abortion, Mastriano stated. “It is sad to realize that abortion-on-demand extremists oppose giving women information about the safe and healthy alternatives available to them.”
Real Alternatives said it was “shocked” by the decision and noted it had a track record of supporting women and families in need.
“For 27 plus years, Real Alternatives and its service providers have served close to 350,000 women at 1.9 million office visits,” the group told LifeNews. “At every visit, women are directed to call Real Alternatives with any complaint or concerns about the services they received. There has never been a complaint from the 350,000 women we have served.
“Presently, 83 centers throughout the Commonwealth provide compassionate caring support services to 13,500 women a year, from the moment they find out they are pregnant through 12 months after the birth of the baby,” the pro-life group stated. “Those centers are made up of Catholic Charities and social services agencies (48%), pregnancy support centers (37%) and maternity homes (15%).”
The group noted its program has been “commended … by two Pennsylvania governors, three secretaries of the Department of Public Welfare, one United States vice president, and one assistant secretary of the US Health and Human Services in charge of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding.”
Planned Parenthood called on Shapiro earlier this year to defund pregnancy resource centers. According to P.A. Family, Planned Parenthood received nearly $4 million in state funding between 2013 and 2016, largely under the tenure of former governor Tom Wolf, a radical pro-abortion activist. Following last year’s U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down Roe v. Wade, Wolf signed an executive order to “protect” abortions in the Keystone state and announced Pennsylvania would not cooperate with states where pro-life laws required an individual in Pennsylvania to be arrested for violating the law. Wolf also sued his own state’s duly-elected legislature to prevent lawmakers from introducing a ballot initiative to constitutionally outlaw abortion in Pennsylvania.
Shapiro picked up the pro-abortion mantle, even placing Planned Parenthood employees on his staff, including appointing former Planned Parenthood political operations executive Lindsey Mauldin as his health department liaison. And when his initial budget continued funding pregnancy resource centers, Planned Parenthood issued a statement, which resulted in Thursday’s announcement that Real Alternatives would no longer receive state funding to assist pregnant mothers.
Real Alternatives will continue to receive state funding until the end of 2023. The organization has held a state contract for over 27 years, starting when pro-life Democrat governor Bob Casey wanted to introduce a program to provide alternative routes for pregnant women who felt pressured into abortion.
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