One Year After Roe Was Overturned, Pennsylvania Advocates Call for Expanding Reproductive Freedom

Photo - Sean Kitchen: Planned Parenthood PA Advocates Executive Director Signe Espinoza speaking at a press conference at the North Office Building on June 7, 2023

By Sean Kitchen

June 23, 2023

Reproductive freedom advocates are calling on the Pennsylvania General Assembly to stop funding Crisis Pregnancy Centers and expand access to reproductive health care.

Saturday marks one year since the Supreme Court’s decision overturned Roe v. Wade and the federal right to abortion care. 

While access to abortion care is still legal in Pennsylvania, the Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization allowed more than a dozen states to completely or mostly ban abortion in its aftermath. 

But the decision also galvanized voters to turnout in the 2022 election. 

In Pennsylvania, voters were able to protect reproductive freedom by electing Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro and a Democratic-controlled state House, which prevented Republicans from advancing constitutional amendments that would undermine access to reproductive care.  

“Last year, we saw an overwhelming number of voters turn out to defend the right to reproductive access here in Pennsylvania, where we were able to elect a one-seat Democratic majority that is committed to defending choice and expanding access to reproductive health care,” State Rep. Leanne Krueger (D-Delaware) told reporters during a press call this week.  

Signe Espinoza, the executive director of Planned Parenthood PA Advocates, is calling on legislators to be more proactive when it comes to protecting reproductive freedoms. 

“It’s not enough anymore to vote against the bans or veto them; now is the time to be proactive and bold in defense and protection of reproductive health care,” Espinoza said in a statement. 

Planned Parenthood PA Advocates wants lawmakers to expand the types of providers that can practice abortion care, make contraceptives universally accessible and fund comprehensive sex education and sexual and reproductive healthcare. 

The organization also wants the Pennsylvania General Assembly to stop funding Pennsylvania’s anti-abortion movement. The legislature has funneled $7 million in federal block grants from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in the state budget to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) over the past decade. 

CPCs are designed to deceive and dissuade women from seeking abortion care. According to a study conducted by The Alliance, an organization that advocates for women’s rights and gender equality, CPCs outnumber abortion providers by a nine to one ratio. There are 156 CPCs in Pennsylvania and only 17 abortion clinics. 

TANF is a cash assistance program that provides $16.5 billion to states and gives states the flexibility in operating programs designed to help low-income families. For the 2022 fiscal year, TANF assistance helped 28,651 families with the majority of that help going to single parent families or no parent families.   

At a Planned Parenthood lobby day, Espinoza explained how the money from TANF should be going to parents and children and not CPCs. 

“Those funds are being directed to anti-abortion centers who do not provide medically accurate information, are biased, and have one ultimate goal which is to steer people away from the healthcare that they need.” 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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