Aug. 07, 2023

Why is Gov. Josh Shapiro removing resources for women? As a pro-life legislator, I am deeply concerned about the governor’s recent move to end the contract with Real Alternatives.  While presented as progress for women's health, this action will erase a crucial resource. For years, this resource has provided vital support and options for women facing unexpected pregnancies, especially in rural areas across Pennsylvania where local access to maternity services is fading.

Throughout the nation, and our Commonwealth, rural communities are struggling with the closure of maternity wards. Data from the Rural Health Research Center reveals that between 2004 and 2014, over half of rural counties lost hospital-based obstetric services. This alarming trend leaves pregnant women in vulnerable positions, struggling to access proper prenatal care and safe delivery options.

In many rural regions, crisis pregnancy centers associated with organizations like Real Alternatives have stepped in as a major resource for women. These centers, like Your Loving Choices in Bloomsburg, provide vital counseling, information and support during pregnancy, becoming lifelines for women in areas with limited health care options. By ending the contract with Real Alternatives, Gov. Shapiro is worsening the challenges faced by women in rural Pennsylvania communities. 

These centers prioritize providing accurate medical information, emotional guidance and practical help to women. These centers offer essential assistance to those dealing with unexpected pregnancies and have compounding benefits in areas where proper medical facilities are scarce.

Gov. Shapiro's decision underscores another issue – the growing health care gap between urban and rural areas. By restricting access to resources like Real Alternatives, he's disregarding the needs of women in underserved rural regions and the crucial freedom to choose non-abortion alternatives.

A comprehensive approach to women's health means recognizing the unique situations and difficulties faced by women in all regions. Resources like Real Alternatives are essential for non-abortion support, education, and options for all women in both urban and rural areas.

Ending the contract with Real Alternatives doesn't just overlook the importance of varied support systems for women's choices. It also dismisses the crucial role these resources play in rural communities across Pennsylvania and puts rural women at more risk.

Representative Robert Leadbeter
109th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jacob Misal