A year ago, maybe even six months ago, I would not have thought this was a possibility. Pennsylvania has a conservative legislature, and even though our governor is very pro-abortion, I would have thought it would be impossible to quickly unravel the protections against abortion in Pennsylvania law.
Yet, here we are.
So, what is happening?
Allegheny Reproductive Health Center, along with nearly every other abortion provider in the state, has brought a case against the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. They are seeking to strike down Pennsylvania's law that prohibits using Medicaid funding for abortion services.
As it stands now, Medicaid funding (that is, health insurance through the state for people who are low income) can only be used if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or if the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.
If the abortion clinics win this case, Medicaid funding would be available for anyone on Medicaid who is seeking an abortion. Those abortions would almost certainly be provided with no copay or shared financial costs to the mother seeking an abortion.
In quite the plot twist, being pregnant and low income is one of the ways to get Medicaid insurance. In fact, when I became pregnant with my third and fourth sons I was popped onto Medicaid in a hip and hurry (as my grandma would say). Not only does Medicaid pay for pregnancy-related healthcare, it pays for all of your other healthcare (as it should - a healthy mom makes for a healthy baby). So, if this goes through it would be quite possible for a mother to become pregnant, get on Medicaid, get a free abortion, and then have free healthcare for a year or so. A woman can also continue to receive WIC benefits for a certain amount of time after an abortion, but that's another story.
The abortion clinics are essentially attempting to get the courts to state that, under Pennsylvania's Equal Protection Clause/Equal Rights Amendment, state funding is required because otherwise it creates a barrier for women seeking "reproductive health care." Since there are no barriers for men, because men can't be pregnant, it is unfair to women to put barriers in place for their care. The court would essentially find a "right" to abortion in the Pennsylvania constitution.
Plot twist #2 - "men," according to the common parlance of today, can become pregnant. So can they really say it is a gender issue?
Not only would a win for the abortion industry provide state Medicaid funding for abortion, it could quite possibly roll back the entire Abortion Control Act. This would mean there would be no 24 hour waiting period, no more informed consent, and no 24 week gestation abortion limit. It is also possible that this would remove all of the laws designed to keep women safe that were put in place after the Kermit Gosnell debacle.
Right now, the case is in the Commonwealth Court. It is believed that this court will rule against the abortion clinics. However, they will then appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If the Pennsylvania Supreme Court takes the case the experts are saying that the current members of the court will almost certainly strike down the law prohibiting the use of Medicaid funding for abortion, and that they will also quite likely find a "right" to abortion in the Pennsylvania state constitution.
Are you feeling completely shocked yet? I know I was when I first found out about all of this.
So. What can we do?
First of all, we need to pray. God can do amazing, incredible, and phenomenal things. He can prevent the case from making it to the Supreme Court, He can cause the Court to rule against the abortion clinics, or He could choose to intervene in a million other ways. I would note, though, that we (Pennsylvanians) got ourselves into this mess. If I remember correctly, the year the most recent justices were elected we had abysmally low voter turnout. If Christians don't vote, this is what we get.
Second of all, we need to strengthen our resolve to provide all women the information and resources they need to make a choice for life. There are pregnancy centers all across the state of Pennsylvania working to do just that. Find the one closest to you and get involved. If you're not sure which one is right for you, check out Promise of Life Network. We're a pretty great organization!
Third, get ready for a life-affirming constitutional amendment. The PA Family Institute is already preparing for this eventuality. In their words:
"A constitutional amendment is what is needed to protect against the threat posed by pro-abortion judicial activists. The process to enact an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution is as follows:
The exact same amendment language must pass both the PA House and Senate by simple majorities in two successive terms of the legislature. So the first vote would happen in the 2021-22 session; if it passes, the second vote would take place in the 2023-24 session.
Upon passage in the second session, the amendment then goes to a vote of the people on the ballot in the next scheduled election. Thus, the earliest the amendment can go to a vote of the people would be the primary election in Spring 2023.
Note: the amendment does not need the governor’s signature, nor can the governor veto it. Gov. Wolf may (and likely will) vocally oppose this amendment, but he cannot veto it."
This amendment would not only undo a Supreme Court ruling declaring a "right to abortion," it would also maintain our current laws and allow future legislation designed to protect women and their babies.
Even if the amendment is enacted, and we must do all we can to make sure that happens, we are still looking at a few years of "free abortion on demand" in the state of Pennsylvania. We could end up with unrestricted late term abortions, abortions free of charge to women considered low income, and new abortion clinics popping up in low income communities to take advantage of federal funding.
Join us in praying for God's protection over the unborn children in our state. Donate today to ensure that all mothers have the chance to hear about options other than abortion.