By: Alexis Stefani and Thomas Shaheen
Pennsylvania has a history of supporting alternatives to abortion – and for good reason. Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry preach how they want women to make their own decision about a pregnancy. This decision has three options: raise the child, allow a family to adopt the child or have an abortion. Yet the abortion industry has proven to care only about the option they profit directly from – abortion, and sadly they vehemently attack programs and organizations that support women who choose the other two options.
One such Pennsylvania program has come under attack in recent months by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale – endorsed by Planned Parenthood – and other political groups with deep-pocket out-of-state abortion backers.
Nearly 30 years ago, Pennsylvania’s Democrat Governor, Robert P. Casey, began including funding in the annual state budget for providing women with alternatives to abortion. This was consistent with the legislative intent stated in the Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act that Pennsylvania laws “shall be construed so as to extend to the unborn the equal protection of the laws and to further the public policy of this Commonwealth encouraging childbirth over abortion.”
So in 1995 a new program called Real Alternatives was created to administer “life-affirming pregnancy and parenting support services” with the grant money provided. Since then, close to 400,000 women have been served by Real Alternative’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Program. It was chosen as a finalist two years in a row for the “Seal of Excellence” from the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations.
Meanwhile, Big Abortion would rather our law be rewritten to encourage “abortion over childbirth” since we know every time a woman chooses life over abortion, it costs them money.
Despite their claim of supporting a woman’s right to choose, Planned Parenthood cares only about one of the three choices – abortion. They offer no prenatal care in Pennsylvania. No adoption services. Their actions speak louder than words.
Abortion – no matter what. Just recently they argued a case before the US Supreme Court, challenging a Louisiana law that required physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges with hospitals in case of an emergency. Not only is this standard for other outpatient surgical facilities, it is also better for the health and wellbeing of women. It allows for her to get faster care and for a more seamless transition. Without these admitting privileges, a woman would be responsible for taking herself to the emergency room at the nearest hospital, and explain what went wrong in a procedure she may not have even been conscious for.
Why would Planned Parenthood so vehemently oppose such a law? Because it could drive up costs and disqualify doctors who do not have the credentials to earn admitting privileges. It’s a willful decision to put profits over patients.
Substandard conditions are all too common with the abortion industry. In Pennsylvania last year, six in 10 Planned Parenthood abortion sites failed a health inspection. One location failed to report a botched abortion. Since 2012, the site that performs the most abortions for Planned Parenthood has failed more inspections than it passed!
Instead of holding this abortion giant accountable, Governor Tom Wolf wants to give them more taxpayer funding. It’s worth noting that Planned Parenthood in PA made over $35 million in their latest reporting fiscal year. They have received over $14 million in taxpayer funding since Gov. Wolf took office. And it’s estimated that they make over $18,000 from abortions every day. Yet in this year’s budget, Gov. Wolf wants to give them an additional three million dollars in taxpayer funding!
Planned Parenthood’s business model is abortion-centric. They’ve closed 16 clinics since 2010 – only one brought in some abortion on-site revenue. They perform zero mammograms – despite what some in the media claim. Other non-abortion services are declining – pap tests are down 48 percent for Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania. Yet they’ve maintained their abortion business and profits are up nearly 300 percent as a result.
For sources on abortion and Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania, read the 2020 State of Abortion in Pennsylvania – pafamily.org/stateofabortion)
The contrast between Real Alternatives and Planned Parenthood couldn’t be more apparent. Big Abortion tells women that bringing a child to term is a burden they can’t handle, then coerces them into hopelessness and abortion. Instead, women need to know they have the support, that there are resources, and there is information that empowers them to choose life for their offspring. In this era of Pennsylvania politicians labeling businesses “essential” or “non-essential,” organizations such as Real Alternatives are an essential part of furthering a culture that encourages childbirth over abortion.
Alexis Stefani is Communications & Policy Officer and Thomas J. Shaheen is Vice President for Policy at the Pennsylvania Family Institute.