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Pa. uses taxpayer money to fund antiabortion organization

Philadelphia Inquirer

October 25, 2021

Pennsylvania is one of 14 states that directly fund the antiabortion movement, some of it with money diverted from cash assistance for people in poverty.

Overall, the state has allocated tens of millions of dollars to Real Alternatives, a private nonprofit in Harrisburg that funnels money into crisis pregnancy centers. Such facilities advertise services offering pregnancy and parenting support to low-income women with the fundamental aim of dissuading them from getting abortions.

Though legal, the centers are said to use deceptive tactics and medical disinformation, sometimes misleadingly presenting themselves as abortion clinics.

An Inquirer examination of state records shows that, for decades, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has financed antiabortion activities by allocating more than $113 million in state money and $21 million in federal dollars to Real Alternatives.

The state has redirected $1 million a year since 2001 in TANF money to Real Alternatives, state records show. In fact, Pennsylvania was the first state in the nation to move cash assistance money to antiabortion programs.

“That’s an abysmal stewardship of public dollars,” said Mariana Chilton, director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health.

“The state is essentially stealing money from people who are already impoverished, and diverting it to right-wing groups who profit off pretending to do something for women and children. It’s a form of racism and sexism.”

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