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Pregnancy centers the “silver lining” as Pennsylvania moves toward taxpayer funded abortion

by | Feb 14, 2024

By Tabitha Goodling

Pennsylvania tax dollars may soon begin funding abortions according to a ruling from the commonwealth’s Supreme Court. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the 1982 state law stating Medicaid could not be used to fund abortions, arguing the Pennsylvania constitution includes a “fundamental right” to “reproductive autonomy.” The ruling came in a three-to-two vote on January 29.

In its ruling, led by three Democrat justices, the majority stated:

“The right to make healthcare decisions related to reproduction is a core important right encompassed by the enmeshed privacy interest protected by our Charter. Whether or not to give birth is likely the most personal and consequential decision imaginable in the human experience. Any self-determination is dependent on the right to make that decision.”

While the decision does not enshrine abortion in the Pennsylvania constitution some have speculated it will provide precedence future abortion access laws. The case will now go back to a lower court to hear. 

Republican Pennsylvania State Senator Judy Ward actively supports pregnancy centers and the pro-life movement in her state. 

“They’re going against the will of people in our state,” Ward stated, saying most Pennsylvanians do not want their tax dollars funding abortion.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation echoed Ward’s thoughts in a press release.

“The vast majority of Pennsylvanians do not want to see their hard-earned tax dollars spent on abortion, which is the taking of an innocent, unrepeatable human life,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Keystone State affiliate of National Right to Life.

“Research clearly indicates that, when taxpayer funding of abortions occurs, abortion totals skyrocket,” Gallagher said. “More than 34,000 abortions took place in Pennsylvania in 2022, according to statistics from the PA Department of Health. That’s truly alarming.” 

“The women of the Commonwealth and their babies need comprehensive care and support, not a blank check for taxpayer-funded abortions,” Gallagher added. 

The “silver lining,” Ward said, is pregnancy centers. 

Ward started a caucus for maternal and infant health in the legislature. She listed the locations she has visited where women are supported during and after their pregnancies including Catholic Charities. She and other state legislators continue to visit centers across the state, noting some Democratic House and Senate members have visited these organizations.

“And they were impressed,” Ward said, but, she said, there are few Democratic colleagues who have made this effort.

“If the other side of the aisle professes (that) they care about women, why leave them in their greatest hour of need,” Ward asked. “Pregnancy centers help them. We can give them what they need.”

This ruling comes on the heels of the Pennsylvania Department of Health releasing its 2022 abortion statistics which revealed abortions increased from the previous year and the number of abortion complications also increased. 

Ward said she expects these numbers to double in the coming years if taxes fund these procedures. 

“This is exactly why Real Alternatives existed,” she said of the umbrella program that funded pregnancy centers in the state. Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro cut those funds in 2023

Abortion is permitted in Pennsylvania until the 23rd week of pregnancy. 

Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and reposted with permission.