Pennsylvania pregnancy centre fights to keep federal funding

CARLISLE, Pa. — Lewisburg Health Center, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income people who are pregnant access prenatal care, will contest the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s decision to strip its charity status, arguing it provides needed health care, reproductive health and education services to women across the U.S.

“Our mission is to provide accessible and affordable services, including basic health care, as well as comprehensive education and prenatal care and education services to people who do not have sufficient financial resources to ensure the health and well-being of their child,” Lewisburg Health Center president and chief executive Karen Pressler wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Friday.

Pressler contended that Lewisburg Health Center is a hospital provider and therefore is allowed to receive federal funding under the Medicaid program.

According to the health centre, the center’s medical services at its Perry County location help infants gain 10 pounds in their first six months of life, reducing the likelihood of infant mortality by more than 30 per cent, as well as health screenings to evaluate for gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, screening for diabetes in women with gestational diabetes.

Pressler wrote that Lewisburg Health Center’s resources also include parenting classes, infant feeding supplies, adoption assistance and specialty school tuition.

The Lewisburg health centre will appear as one of 21 abortion providers that will fight HHS’s decision to strip their charity status and bar them from receiving taxpayer-funded family planning funds.

The Supreme Court has struck down four separate federal laws that have prevented Planned Parenthood and other health care providers from getting family planning funds.

The Trump administration issued new rules Monday making it easier for states to require family planning providers to tell women when they are at risk of getting illegal abortions.

Abortion rights groups and Planned Parenthood immediately criticized the new rules.

Trump signed an executive order in May directing federal agencies to rescind rules put in place during the Obama administration that restricted the ability of state Medicaid programs to use family planning money to pay for abortions.

The government will have 60 days to weigh in with comments on the rule, after which time the Federal Register notice asking for comments will be published. The rule is the latest effort by the administration to chip away at a 2014 federal court ruling that found restrictions on abortion funding were unconstitutional.

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