In Major Win for Women’s Health, Shapiro Administration Announces Contract with ‘Real Alternatives’ to Expire by End of the Year

Harrisburg, PA - Following Governor Josh Shapiro’s signing of the 2023-2024 budget, Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh today announced the Commonwealth’s contract with Real Alternatives – an organization that purports to provide counseling, referrals, and other services through partnerships with crisis pregnancy centers – will come to an end by December 31, 2023. In a few weeks, DHS will be soliciting applications for women’s health providers across the state to address women’s health needs.

“The Shapiro Administration is taking a huge step forward today by ending the Real Alternatives contract after 30 years. Every woman seeking reproductive health care has the right to unbiased, medically accurate care and counsel,” said Secretary Arkoosh. “The Department of Human Services has an obligation to ensure our contractors and partners are acting in line with these values and being good stewards of taxpayer resources, and we will not relent on this commitment.”

“For decades, taxpayer dollars have gone to fund Real Alternatives. My Administration will not continue that pattern – we will ensure women in this Commonwealth receive the reproductive health care they deserve,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Pennsylvanians made clear by electing me as Governor that they support a woman’s freedom to choose, and I will be steadfast in defending that right.”

For many years, the General Assembly (GA) has allocated funding for programs that provide alternatives to abortion services. Historically, per the fiscal code, DHS was required to administer those GA funds, and has done so through an agreement with Real Alternatives since 1995. Real Alternatives works with a network of non-medical providers, which includes crisis pregnancy centers (also known as pregnancy resource centers). No Commonwealth agency has licensing oversight of crisis pregnancy centers or how they assist pregnant women.

DHS will soon issue a Request for Applications (RFA) seeking applications for women’s health service programs as allocated in the 2023-24 Budget.

The Shapiro Administration continues to unequivocally support a woman’s right to choose and access the full scope of reproductive health care. These services are essential, and Pennsylvanians deserve honesty and unbiased advice from those they trust with medical care or counsel.

All Pennsylvanians should know that abortion and reproductive health services remain safe, legal, and accessible here in Pennsylvania.

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DHS Media Contact Details

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Brandon Cwalina

Press Secretary Department of Human Services 717-425-7606
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