By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
For me, 2023 has been a year which demonstrates quite clearly the importance of the resiliency of the pro-life movement.
In Pennsylvania, pro-abortion Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro announced he was ending the Commonwealth’s contract with Real Alternatives, which has run Pennsylvania’s award-winning Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services program for 28 years. The August announcement sent shockwaves through the pro-life movement, since the program has successfully served more than 350,000 women during its decades of operation.
Advocates for pregnant women sent thousands of messages to their state lawmakers, urging them to find a way to salvage the program, which has become a model for the rest of the nation. In the absence of state funding, Real Alternatives is now transforming the program into a privately-funded entity.
Pennsylvania also saw House passage of a bill which could be labeled “The Abortionist Protection Act.” The legislation would allow Pennsylvania abortionists who botch abortions in other states to escape justice. Alarmingly, a dozen Republicans who had previously been considered pro-life voted for this abhorrent bill. Thankfully, the Pennsylvania Senate, led by firm Senators who are advocates for life, can put a stop to the measure.
Earlier this year, pro-abortion Democratic lawmakers introduced House Bill 803, a proposed pro-abortion Constitutional Amendment. House leaders referred the bill to the Health Committee. Apparently dissatisfied with that approach, pro-abortion legislators introduced House Bill 1888, which contained the same wording as HB 803, but was referred to the Judiciary Committee, where the previously mentioned Abortion Protection Act had been passed.
No matter what number they put on it, or which committee they refer it to, the Constitutional Amendment is a bad bill. It would mean taxpayer funding of abortion across the board. It would also take away vital protections such as informed consent, parental consent, and 24-hour waiting periods for abortion. It would also permit abortion up to the moment of birth—a particularly gruesome possibility.
Yet, despite these challenges, the pro-life movement in Pennsylvania remains dynamic, strong, and dedicated.
I for one cannot wait for 2024 to unfold.