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Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

Losing Real Alternatives in Pennsylvania 

Maria V. Gallagher

Legislative Director

Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation   |  19 February 2024


The pro-abortion bait-and-switch is now complete in Pennsylvania, which has historically been a leader in the pro-life movement. Democrat Governor Josh Shapiro’s Administration has taken the money that for 28 years supported life-affirming pregnancy care centers and transferred it to abortion-promoting organizations.


Back in the summer, the PA Senate, which is led by pro-life lawmakers, agreed to a budget deal which increased funding to pregnancy resource centers by two million dollars. However, as soon as the Governor signed the budget, he announced that he was canceling the contract of Real Alternatives at the end of the year. Real Alternatives administered Pennsylvania’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services program, which funded pregnancy resource centers, adoption agencies, and maternity homes throughout the Commonwealth.


The Shapiro Administration has now taken the money that was allocated to alternatives to abortion for nearly three decades and awarded it to pro-abortion groups. Not only did the Shapiro Administration engage in deception. It has also, in essence, given a raise to pro-abortion outfits which have already been receiving state funds.


The Governor is making it clear: His Administration is bound and determined to build up the abortion industry with taxpayer money. The abortion business bailout runs counter to the will of the people. A recent poll showed a majority of Pennsylvanians support public funding for life-affirming pregnancy care centers.


At a recent roundtable discussion at the Capitol, Gov. Shapiro actually bragged about the withdrawal of funds from Real Alternatives. He received a round of applause from the crowd, which was made up of Planned Parenthood officials, pro-abortion state legislators, and members of the news media. Ironically, the discussion took place in the very hearing room where, years ago, lawmakers talked about the vicious crimes of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.


Gosnell ran a “House of Horrors” abortion facility in West Philadelphia. Prosecutors believed that he murdered hundreds of newborn babies by “snipping” their spinal cords. However, Gosnell had destroyed so many records that charges could be brought in only a handful of cases.


The abortion kingpin was ultimately convicted of murdering three newborn babies and causing the death of a female immigrant patient, Karnamaya Mongar. He is now serving three consecutive life terms in prison. His notorious case became the subject of a book and a movie.


It is important to note that Gosnell’s abortion facility was not inspected in 17 years. Imagine patronizing a restaurant which had not been inspected in that length of time! The grand jury in the Gosnell case concluded that pro-abortion politics in the Governor’s office had resulted in a moratorium on abortion center inspections. In fact, hair and nail salons received greater scrutiny than abortion facilities.


The Gosnell case triggered the passage of an abortion center regulation law in 2011. This time-tested measure assures regular inspections of abortion facilities and demands that abortion centers meet basic health and safety standards. Pro-abortion forces in the state legislature are now working to repeal this important law, which became a model for the rest of the nation.


The abortion lobby is also trying to pass a pro-abortion Constitutional Amendment which would wipe out all protections for preborn children. The Amendment would mean an end to the Abortion Control Act. That law, which has been in effect since the 1990s, is credited with cutting abortion totals in half in Pennsylvania.


The Abortion Control Act includes parental consent, informed consent, a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, protections against abortion in the later stages of pregnancy, and protections against taxpayer funding of abortion. The law was the basis of the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Planned Parenthood v. Casey.     


The pro-abortion power grab comes at a time when abortions are already increasing in Pennsylvania. Statistics from the PA Department of Health show that 34,838 abortions took place in the Commonwealth in 2022—an increase of 1,632 over 2021 totals. The Governor has made it clear he has no interest in reducing abortions. In a raw exercise of executive power, he is working to expand the abortion industry—despite its abysmal safety record.


Still, advocates for life in Pennsylvania are undaunted. We have faced tremendous struggles before and we are motivated by a profound love for pregnant women, their children, people with disabilities, and the frail elderly. We will continue to raise awareness, through both traditional media and through social media, about the threats to innocent human life present in our Commonwealth. And we will do all we can to promote the rebuilding of a culture of life, where every single human life is protected, treasured, and cherished.


Action Item: Please contact PA state lawmakers and let them know you want funding to Real Alternatives restored. You can send an immediate message to your state lawmaker by clicking here:

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