By State Rep. Mike Armanini
75th Legislative District
With respect for the sanctity of life, Gov. Josh Shapiro has made a bad choice for unborn children and their mothers.
In August, our governor chose to terminate a nearly three-decade-long agreement with Real Alternatives, a pro-life organization that counsels pregnant women considering abortion. This critical program has served close to 350,000 women through nearly two million office visits over the past 30 years. Real Alternatives is a social service program, NOT a medical service provider. They are in the business of referring clients to counselors.
It has been a tradition that Pennsylvania has chosen to use taxpayer dollars to fund Planned Parenthood while simultaneously supporting pregnancy and parenting support services through Real Alternatives. This is a controversial issue, which state government has previously treated equally, rather than caving to political leanings.
Those days are over. Again, the mission of Real Alternatives is to serve as a gateway to social services organizations, pregnancy support centers, adoption agencies and maternity homes. They point families in the direction of assisting them with making the decision as to what is best for the mother and her unborn child. Real Alternatives is an asset to mothers and unborn children everywhere.
The governor pledged to work with both sides of every “aisle” on important issues. In choosing to defund Real Alternatives, he has selectively chosen to do away with partisanship on an extremely critical and volatile issue.
As an opponent of abortion, I believe Gov. Shapiro made the wrong decision when it comes to which of the two groups he chose to withdraw financial support for; however, the middle ground is the high ground, and I stand with the funding decisions made by previous administrations in the interest of equal justice and fairness for the unborn, whose cannot offer an opinion.
This is about more than money, but there is a financial component to consider. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated that last year, Pennsylvania saved $140 million in health care costs through its relationship with Real Alternatives due to their clients’ children’s immunizations being up to date. Another $247 million in health costs were saved thanks to proper prenatal care.
In the end, it is about choice…and Gov. Shapiro just took one away from mothers and their unborn babies.