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Pennsylvania uses TANF money to fund crisis pregnancy centers

Since 1995, the General Assembly has used taxpayer and welfare dollars to pay for Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the Commonwealth.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — With Roe v. Wade overturned by the Supreme Court, abortion rights advocates are raising awareness of pro-life organizations being funded by federal welfare dollars.

Since 1995, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has provided grants to Crisis Pregnancy Centers using both taxpayer money and funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. 

In a recent Pennsylvania Senate hearing led by Senator Katie Muth (D., Montgomery County), the Department of Human Services stated that $60 million has been funneled to Crisis Pregnancy Centers since the 2014-15 fiscal year.

“These programs should have basic accountability and oversight," said Tara Murtha, director of communications with the Women's Law Project.

According to a recent study by the Women's Law Project, Pennsylvania is one of nine states that fund Crisis Pregnancy Centers using TANF and taxpayer funds. 

“What that means is that the state taking safety net money, taking that away from the families, and funneling it towards anti-abortion executives overseeing Crisis Pregnancy Centers, purporting to be helping the very people the money was siphoned away from," said Murtha.

In a statement provided to FOX43, Real Alternatives, a crisis pregnancy center from Harrisburg, stated that they have been able to help nearly 60,000 women using TANF funds. A statement from the state DHS reaffirmed the Shapiro administration's stance on the right to choose reproductive healthcare services.

However, the DHS noted serious concerns about deceptive practices used at some Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

“We found that 65% of Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Pennsylvania promote false and misleading medical claims," said Murtha, referencing the study from the Women's Law Project.

Pennsylvania was the first state to use TANF funds to support Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

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