Why the Rise in Taxpayer Funding of Abortions in PA?

Image result for guy reschenthaler

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

A Pennsylvania Congressman wants to know why the Keystone State has seen a dramatic increase in taxpayer-funded abortions.

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA 14th district) sent a letter this week to pro-abortion Governor Tom Wolf demanding answers to a series of pointed questions about Medicaid-funded abortions in the Commonwealth.

The reasons for Reschenthaler’s concerns are as clear as the abortion industry’s penchant for increasing abortions. While other states (excluding Nevada) recorded a decline in the number of abortions eligible for federal funding, Pennsylvania’s taxpayer-funded abortion rate rose astronomically during a recent four-year period.

In fiscal year 2013, Pennsylvania recorded 317 Medicaid-funded abortions, according to a recent study published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). By fiscal year 2017, that number had skyrocketed to 982.

Federal funding of abortions in Pennsylvania is limited to the rare cases involving rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. “Given the narrow scope in which taxpayer funds are permitted to cover abortions, I am alarmed by the significant increase and overall numbers of Medicaid-funded abortions in Pennsylvania compared to other states,” Reschenthaler told Wolf.

The GAO report stated, “when excluding Nevada and Pennsylvania, states reporting information showed an aggregate decrease in the number of abortions eligible for federal Medicaid funding they covered during the fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2017. When data from these states were included, there was an aggregate increase, as the number of abortions covered by Nevada and Pennsylvania was much higher in later years.”

The Congressman has asked the Governor to provide answers to the following questions:

  • What are the requirements in Pennsylvania for Medicaid funding of abortion?
  • What was the annual denial rate in Pennsylvania for Medicaid funding of abortion claims from FY 13 to FY 17?
  • Does Pennsylvania have protocols to prevent misuse of federal Medicaid spending for abortion?
  • What were the reported number of abortions eligible for federal funding covered in FY 18 in Pennsylvania?

Given the fact that poll after poll shows that citizens do not want tax money to pay for abortions, Pennsylvania’s taxpayers deserve answers. Now.

 

 

Marking a Pro-Life Legislative Milestone

Babies with flowers

 

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

History is being celebrated this year in Pennsylvania, as pro-life activists mark the 30th anniversary of the passage of the landmark Abortion Control Act.

The result of much research and planning, this trailblazing piece of legislation was tailor-made with the U.S. Supreme Court in mind. Legislators drafted the bill believing that it could be upheld by the High Court—a prediction which largely came to pass.

In the end, in a case known as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court struck only the spousal notification portion of the law, a provision which had stated that a spouse be notified before an abortion could take place. But the rest of the law stood—and it has stood the test of time.

The life-saving legislation provided for informed consent, meaning a woman had to be told the risks of abortion and apprised of alternatives to abortion before an abortion could take place. It also provided for parental consent, meaning that one parent had to give permission before an abortion occurred. The law also included a 24 hour waiting period for abortions, allowing women time to reflect and to discuss their decision with family and other confidantes before an abortion took place.

In addition, the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act banned sex selection abortions, meaning that a baby girl could not be aborted if the mother wanted a boy (and vice-versa). At a time when sex selection abortions remain an important gender equality issue, the 1989 Abortion Control Act definitely seems ahead of its time.

Legal challenges prevented the Abortion Control Act from taking effect until 1994. But once the law kicked in, abortion totals plummeted by the thousands in Pennsylvania. It is estimated that more than 150,000 lives have been saved in the Keystone State as a result of this ground-breaking law.

In addition, the Abortion Control Act paved the path for other states to pass similar legislation. A flurry of new protections for preborn children and their mothers followed, ushering in a golden era of state legislation on the pro-life front.

Pennsylvanians had hoped that the Abortion Control Act would overturn Roe v. Wade, the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling which struck abortion laws in all 50 states. While that dream might have been delayed, the law did help to propel the pro-life movement forward, both legislatively and educationally speaking.

Pennsylvania recently recorded its lowest abortion total ever—a testament to the power of a pro-life law, enacted a generation ago. The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act was an historic achievement which has made the Keystone State a better place to live.

 

The New York Effect on the Pro-Life Movement

Baby sleeping

 

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

In recent days, our office at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation has been receiving call after call from people wanting to volunteer for the pro-life movement. It seems that this is the effect of the bizarre pro-abortion law in New York and the equally strange legislation in Virginia. The legislation permits abortion up to birth–and offers no protection for those babies who survive botched abortions. People are very upset about what’s going on, but they want to do something positive to counteract it. It’s inspiring!

We have also received a number of emails from people wanting to join a local chapter of National Right to Life. In all my time in the pro-life movement, I have never before seen such an outpouring of activism.

We even received an email about a family who is considering moving from New York to Pennsylvania to escape Governor Andrew Cuomo’s abortion extremist regime. The inquiry came in the form of a question: What is the forecast for Pennsylvania? Is it in danger of going the way of New York?

Fortunately, Pennsylvania has pro-life majorities in both the PA House of Representatives and the Senate. Pro-life legislation is welcomed and encouraged. We are also home to the first-in-the-nation state-assisted pregnancy and parenting program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc. Hundreds of thousands of women and their families have been served by this network of pregnancy resource centers.

But the Keystone State faces its own threats. Our Governor, Tom Wolf, once volunteered as a clinic escort for Planned Parenthood. He has a radically pro-abortion position, opposing a ban on brutal dismemberment abortions, where a baby is torn limb by limb from a mother’s womb.

The Commonwealth has also been hit by a lawsuit from the abortion industry, which wants to end our long-standing ban on Medicaid-funded abortions. This despite the fact that taxpayer-funded abortions are wildly unpopular in Pennsylvania.

Nationwide, the prospect of abortions up to the moment of birth has led not only to an outcry–but also action. The New York effect is sparking a renewed interest in the pro-life movement from people who steadfastly believe that babies should be protected–both inside and outside their mothers’ wombs.

Taking a Deeper Look at PA Abortion Statistics

Sad woman at the window

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

Figures recently released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health show the total number of abortions in Pennsylvania are at an all-time low.

Still, looking deeper at the statistics, certain trends emerge that are of serious concern.

For instance, late-term abortions…abortions performed at 21-23 weeks…rose to 436. Keep in mind that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would have changed the abortion limit in PA from 24 weeks to 20 weeks gestation to reflect changes in viability. Thanks to medical breakthroughs, doctors and nurses are able to save babies at ever-earlier stages of development. The bill would have also banned the brutal practice of dismemberment abortion, where a baby is torn limb by limb from a mother’s womb.

Meanwhile, the abortion pill RU-486 accounts for an increasing number of abortions in Pennsylvania. These chemical abortions–also known as medical abortions–account for 11,496 of the 30,011 abortions performed in the Commonwealth.

Also of concern is the number of repeat abortions in the Keystone State. Nearly half of the abortions–14,172–were performed on women who had anywhere from one to four or more previous abortions. This demonstrations the disturbing trend of abortions being used as a method of birth control.

Nevertheless, the downward dip in abortions in Pennsylvania is welcomed news. The closure of abortion facilities, advances in ultrasound technology, and the concrete support provided by pro-life pregnancy resource centers have all helped to make this miracle happen.

Good News for Mothers and Babies as Abortions Hit Record Low in PA

Ultrasound with couplePress Release from the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

HARRISBURG, Pa. –The annual total of abortions in Pennsylvania have reached a record low, according to figures released by the PA Department of Health.

             The yearly report shows 30,011 abortions occurred in the Commonwealth in 2017—down from the 30,881 which took place in 2016, a decrease of nearly three percent. Nearly 84 percent of the abortions occurred in five counties: Allegheny (6,140), Dauphin (1,152), Delaware (1,016), Northampton (2,772), and Philadelphia (13,999).

“The fact that abortions are now at a record low is good news for mothers and babies in Pennsylvania,” said Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life. “While every abortion is a tragedy, this historic low number is an important milestone,” Gallagher added.

The decline in abortions can be attributed to a number of factors. “Technology has created a window to the womb, thanks to advancements in Ultrasound. Women are much more likely to choose life for their babies, if they view an Ultrasound in a supportive environment,” Gallagher said.

“In addition, abortion totals in Pennsylvania would be much higher were it not for the caring pregnancy resource centers administered by Real Alternatives and other groups. These life-affirming organizations provide everything from diapers to day care referrals, along with comprehensive counseling to pregnant women,” Gallagher added.

Still, one troubling trend is the disproportionate number of abortions performed on African-American women and the rise in abortions among Latina women. A total of 12,865 African-American babies died from abortion in 2017, while 3,038 Hispanic babies were aborted the same year.

“We grieve every abortion, because it is the taking of an innocent, unrepeatable human life. Yet, Pennsylvanians can take great pride in the decline in abortions, which has been aided by the loving alternatives to abortion that exist in the Commonwealth,” Gallagher added.

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The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation is a grassroots right-to-life organization with members statewide.  As the state affiliate of National Right to Life, PPLF is committed to promoting the dignity and value of human life from conception to natural death and to restoring legal protection for preborn children.

Setting the Record Straight: Scott Wagner Has Strong Pro-Life Stand

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Republican candidate for Governor Scott Wagner

 

 

The following statement can be attributed to Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation:

“For the second time in weeks, Senator Scott Wagner’s record on the life issues has been misrepresented. Senator Wagner has a 100 percent pro-life voting record.

“For those not familiar with Senator Wagner’s record, here are the facts:

·  Scott Wagner is a cosponsor of Senate Bill 3, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks and outlaw dismemberment abortions.

·  Scott Wagner is a cosponsor of Senate Bill 300, which would defund Planned Parenthood.

·  Scott Wagner has denounced the horrific impacts Roe v Wade has had on the preborn and has fought  to ensure that the Pennsylvania Department of State would not repeat the mistakes that led to the lack of enforcement that enabled abortionist Kermit Gosnell to ply his trade in West Philadelphia.

·  Scott Wagner sponsored a trip to Washington, D.C. for a group of pro-life advocates so they could participate in the March for Life.

“While national, liberal interest groups like Planned Parenthood are pledging to spend millions of dollars on the radical pro-abortion candidate for Governor, Tom Wolf,  those of us who truly are pro-life should be coming together. Anyone who spreads misinformation about a candidate’s pro-life record is falling into Planned Parenthood’s trap.”

 

Planned Parenthood Fails Inspection After Inspection

WomanBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director gallagher@paprolife.org

“Care. No matter what.”

That is a favorite slogan of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation, which performs more than 320,000 abortions a year.

But records from the Pennsylvania Department of Health show that the abortion giant has failed inspection after inspection since the beginning of the year.

A March inspection of a Planned Parenthood in Harrisburg showed that the abortion center failed to maintain a sanitary environment.

An April inspection of a Planned Parenthood in Warminster revealed that the abortion operation failed to ensure that emergency equipment was available in case a patient had to be resuscitated. A follow-up inspection in August showed that staff failed to inform the state of a serious incident in which a patient’s uterus was perforated. The patient was not transported to a hospital, but did later up in an emergency room hemorrhaging.

An August inspection at a Planned Parenthood in Allentown revealed the facility failed to administer Immune Globulin to an Rh-negative patient. Rh-negative is a type of blood group that does not contain the Rh antigen in red blood cells. Staff also failed to remove expired medications from an emergency kit.

The Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania failed inspection in August, when it was cited for building violations which could have threatened the safety of patients.  Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood on Locust Street in Philadelphia also failed a building inspection in August, due, in part, to obstruction in the stairways.

These multiple violations at various Planned Parenthood facilities in Pennsylvania show that the abortion giant does not have an unblemished safety record. Rather, numerous health and safety violations could potentially jeopardize the well-being of patients.

These safety failures provide yet more evidence why Planned Parenthood should not be receiving our hard-earned taxpayer dollars. It would be far better to redirect those funds to federally qualified health centers which provide comprehensive care to women, including Mammograms–something that no Planned Parenthood in the country provides.

 

 

 

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Report Details Troubles at Pennsylvania Abortion Center

HillcrestBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

gallagher@paprolife.org

We now have a better idea of what led state officials finally to crack down on a troubled central Pennsylvania abortion center.

A report on the PA Health Department website dated July 8th offers details of the myriad of health and safety violations found at the Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center in Harrisburg in June.

The failures included:

  • Outdated medication and supplies
  • Lack of documentation that a consultant physician had proper credentials for advising staff to ensure satisfactory treatment of patients
  • Medication stored in refrigerators with inappropriate temperatures
  • Failure to provide a sanitary environment. Deficiencies included ceiling tiles stained with an unidentified brown substance, torn padding on exam tables, and a front yard with grass measuring two to three feet high.

Reading the 12 page report, it’s no wonder health officials shut Hillcrest down–but the closure came only after a complaint letter from state Senators demanding to know why the abortion facility was still open after a previous 44-page list of health and safety violations.

The latest report includes plans of correction for all the deficiencies cited. But, with Hillcrest failing inspection after inspection in the past, how can we trust the management to safeguard the health and safety of women?

Hillcrest has been closed until further notice by order of the state until it could be re-inspected.

However, Hillcrest has failed women time and time again with its abysmal safety record. It is time for the facility to be shut down once and for all.

Pushing Doctors to Perform Assisted Suicide

Assisted suicide 2

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

The old Hemlock Society wants to push doctors to perform assisted suicide–which is more aptly described as doctor-prescribed suicide.

Under the revised name of Compassion & Choices, they want the American Medical Association to end its long-standing opposition to the lethal practice. You can urge the AMA to stand strong by clicking here.

In addition, the lawyer who tried to create a Roe v. Wade-style judicial edict for assisted suicide is now suing a California hospital that refused to perform doctor-prescribed suicide. As ethics expert Wesley Smith notes:

The lawsuit illustrates where the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement wants to go. As in Ontario, Canada, they want doctors and hospitals to be forced to participate in assisted suicide or get out of medicine.
For resources for fighting the threat of doctor-prescribed suicide in Pennsylvania, visit www.noassistedsuicidepa.org .

Pennsylvanians Join Vice-President at March for Life

28 Marchers making their way up Constitution Ave

People from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be joining Vice-President Mike Pence at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. today in a show of solidarity with pregnant women, their children, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable Americans.

“We thank the Vice-President for his steadfast commitment to the most important human rights issue of our time—the right to life,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life. “We also commend President Donald Trump for taking concrete steps to ensure that protecting innocent human life is not merely a campaign slogan, but a matter of public policy.”

President Trump recently reinstated the Mexico City policy, which ensures that our hard-earned tax dollars will not be spent on organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas. He has also nominated Cabinet members who are dedicated to defending the sacredness of life. And he has pledged his support for the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, which would guarantee that tax dollars are safeguarded.

“The Pennsylvanians who are marching today are thankful to the Trump Administration and to those members of Congress who want to protect our tax dollars from being spent on the abortion industry. Public opinion polls show that 60 percent of Americans agree that their tax money should not be used for abortion.  We thank the Administration and the House for taking to heart the will of the people,” Gallagher added.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans gather in Washington, D.C. each January to commemorate the anniversary of the tragic 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion throughout the country.

“Those who attend the March for Life are marching in memory of the more than 59 million preborn children killed through legal abortion over the past 44 years. They are also showing their solidarity with the countless mothers and fathers who continue to grieve the loss of those children,” Gallagher said.

“They also march with the hope that comes with news that the number of abortions are declining both in the Commonwealth and across the country. No pregnant woman in Pennsylvania should feel as if she is alone—concrete help and support are available by calling the Real Alternatives hotline at 1-888-Life-aid,” Gallagher added.