By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
Some Pennsylvania lawmakers are expressing great skepticism about pro-abortion Governor Tom Wolf’s attempts to funnel money to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation.
Wolf, who once was a volunteer “escort” at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, has included in his budget a line item for “access to reproductive health care.” That is code language for $3 million in taxpayer funds for abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
During a recent legislative hearing on the budget, state Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York County) asked pointed questions of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Teresa Miller, about the controversial new line-item (You can view the YouTube video of the exchange here.
Senator Phillips-Hill said she has had “many constituents contact (her) with great concern with regard to this new line item with the belief that it would provide taxpayer-funded abortions.”
The Senator pointed out that the money would go solely to Planned Parenthood; no other organization that provides reproductive health care would receive a share.
Miller acknowledged that the line item was meant to address the loss of federal funds to Planned Parenthood—a hallmark initiative of the Trump Administration. (Planned Parenthood stop participating in the Title X program when the Trump Administration’s “Protect Life Rule” restored Title X family planning regulations that prohibit grantees from co-locating with abortion clinics or from referring clients for abortion.)
But Miller maintained that the money will not go to abortion “services” and said Planned Parenthood already has to verify to the state that they separate abortion from other family planning services, both financially and physically.
But Senator Phillips-Hill pointed out that “recently we have learned that grant money has not been used as the Commonwealth saw fit.” (The controversy involved money that had been allocated for high-speed Internet for rural areas, but the money was never used for its intended purpose.)
Given that experience, the Senator argued, “How do you intend to audit to assure that those grant funds are used for what they’re being said they are used for?”
Miller responded that independent audits would be conducted and that the Commonwealth “will be checking.”
But Senator Phillips-Hill remained leery of the department’s assurances that tax money would not be used for abortion.
“I can certainly say that it would be incredibly difficult to support a budget proposal that provides $3 million for abortions, but a $45 million cut to school safety.
“I think that would send a very disturbing message to the public,” Senator Phillips-Hill warned.
Miller shot back, “It is not funding abortions. Just so we’re clear.”
But it would be funding an operation that is by far the largest “provider” in an industry that takes the lives of more than 330,000 precious preborn children in one year alone.
Pro-life advocates will be watching carefully to see if the Republican-controlled legislature strips the Planned Parenthood funding from the Governor’s budget—as by rights they should do.