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Pennsylvania governor ends pregnancy resource center funding after 30 years. Here’s why.

by | Aug 11, 2023

By Bridget Sielicki

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) announced last week that it will not be renewing its contract with Real Alternatives, a pregnancy resource center (PRC) that operates 77 facilities throughout the state.

According to New Castle News, Real Alternatives has received $60 million in state funding since 2012, and more than $134 million total since the mid-1990s. Though the state’s budget, signed by Governor Josh Shapiro, allocated $8.2 million for a line item that traditionally went to PRCs — a $2 million increase from last year — it was announced that Real Alternatives would no longer be receiving any of the money. Shapiro’s office will reportedly be soliciting applications from other “women’s health providers” who believe they qualify for the funding.

“For decades, taxpayer dollars have gone to fund Real Alternatives. My administration will not continue that pattern — we will ensure women in this commonwealth receive the reproductive health care they deserve,” Shapiro said in a press release. “Pennsylvanians made clear by electing me as governor that they support a woman’s freedom to choose, and I will be steadfast in defending that right.”

The existence of pregnancy resource centers does not change abortion laws; they simply give women tangible resources should they wish to choose not to have abortions. A poll of 1600 respondents from late last summer revealed that “74% of Americans surveyed said they support public funding of pregnancy resource centers after learning about their services” (emphasis added).

This included 66% of self-identified “liberals.”

“The Shapiro Administration is taking a huge step forward today by ending the Real Alternatives contract after 30 years. Every woman seeking reproductive health care has the right to unbiased, medically accurate care and counsel,” DHS Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh said. “The Department of Human Services has an obligation to ensure our contractors and partners are acting in line with these values and being good stewards of taxpayer resources, and we will not relent on this commitment.”

In reality, it is PRCs that offer life-affirming options for women who may not truly want an abortion, but need tangible resources to enable them to choose life for their children. Many PRCs, like Real Alternatives, do not commit or refer for abortions, but they offer countless other resources to women and families in need. According to its website, Real Alternatives provides counseling, pregnancy testing, clothing, food, furniture, temporary shelter, pregnancy and childbirth classes, adoption information, and more. These types of services are widely unavailable at abortion facilities.

“Real Alternatives is shocked that Governor Shapiro’s administration has decided to not renew its contract with us as the administrator of the award-winning Pennsylvania Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Program. We believe the governor has been terribly misinformed about the need for the program its success,” the organization said in a statement. “The services that this program provides to the women of Pennsylvania are crucial. Approximately 60% of women who come to our program considering abortion choose to bring their baby to term. Also, 84% of women pressured to abort choose to bring their baby to term.”

The organization added, “Terminating this program will result in an increase in abortions throughout the Commonwealth” — a fact of which the Shapiro administration is likely aware.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and reposted with permission.