08 June 2023- Reps. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover) and Paul Schemel (R-Franklin) convened a hearing with the House Republican Policy Committee today to discuss pregnancy resource centers and supporting Pennsylvania parents.
Pregnancy resource centers serve mothers and fathers facing an unplanned pregnancy who are searching for assistance and support. They provide free prenatal testing and medical procedures like ultrasounds, education in the form of parenting classes, counseling services, and material resources like diapers and formula for new parents. The impact of these centers can be seen long after a baby is born.
“Pregnancy resource centers play an integral role in the health of children and families in our communities. The testimony we heard during today’s hearing was powerful; and it made it clear these centers do a world of good. The people who staff them go above and beyond their job description to aid and encourage Pennsylvania families,” Klunk said. “The impact of these centers can be seen across generations, and they deserve our full support. Pregnancy resource centers provide something everyone can benefit from, whether in a crisis pregnancy circumstance or not, and should be widely recognized for the critical work they do, not slandered for their efforts to preserve and protect life.”
“The testifiers who shared their personal stories before the committee should be commended, as should the service providers who are on the front lines helping our communities. Pregnancy resource centers inspire courage and perform life-changing work that creates strong families,” said Schemel “The testifiers asked we consider expanding these programs beyond the current one-year limit, so families obtaining these important services can continue to benefit, and I’m ready to explore those options.”
“One of the most rewarding life experiences is becoming a parent,” said Rep. Joshua D. Kail (R-Beaver/Washington), chairman of the House Policy Committee. “As a father of eight children, it is of utmost importance to me to ensure all mothers and fathers receive the necessary care as they approach parenthood. I agree with former Democrat Gov. Bob Casey who said, ‘Pregnancy resource centers, and the services they provide, help to fight the poison of hopelessness with love.’ Thank you to Reps. Klunk and Schemel, as well as all of the testifiers, for coming together to show how these resource centers provide hope to parents and soon-to-be parents.”
Hearing testifiers include Amy Scheuring, executive director of Women’s Choice Network; Jill Hartman, executive director at A Woman’s Concern; Chelsey Youman, national legislative advisor and Texas state director of the Human Coalition; and Quinn Laffin, Chrystal Morales, Lindsay Smith and Nicholas Luccarella, who are all clients of Women’s Choice Network or A Woman’s Concern.
The client testifiers unanimously stressed the positive impact the centers had on their lives and the lasting relationships they have formed with the organizations. They shared how the centers provided them with the support they needed when they most needed it. They said they received timely assistance with their unique needs – both emotional and material. While the clients are predominantly young women, the centers also recognize the crucial role of their male partners and provide programs to help and support them as well. Luccarella, a father of two, is a member of the support group Courageous Dads. He said it has helped him to realize he is not alone, and with the friendship and support of other fathers, he has matured as a dad.
The lawmakers, pregnancy resource centers, and Commonwealth statute share a common tenet. Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act states, “In every relevant civil or criminal proceeding in which it is possible to do so without violating the federal Constitution, the common and statutory law of Pennsylvania shall be constructed so as to extend the unborn the equal protection of the laws and to further the public policy of this Commonwealth encouraging childbirth over abortion.”
Questions about this hearing and other state-related issues can be directed to Klunk’s office at 717-630-8942.