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Lowering Age Limit For Single-Dose Emergency Contraception Irresponsible and Disappointing

usccblogoWASHINGTON—The April 30 move by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve over-the-counter sale of “Plan B One-Step” to minors 15 years and older is a “disappointment,” said a spokesperson for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

“The FDA has acted irresponsibly by approving sales of the powerful drug, single-dose Plan B, for those 15 and older,” said Deirdre McQuade, assistant director of policy and communications in the Pro-Life Secretariat. “The rule change subjects girls to risks of STDs and manipulation by others, a risk that is compounded by allowing males to purchase the drug even for girls under the age of 15.”
“Many studies have shown that wider access to so-called ‘emergency contraception’ reduces neither pregnancy nor abortion rates, but can contribute to higher rates of sexually transmitted disease, especially among young people,” McQuade said, “No public health consideration justifies the unsupervised sale of such drugs to young teens.”
McQuade added, “While the FDA is failing here in its responsibility to protect children, we continue to hope it will appeal the April 5 decision by one federal judge insisting that this drug be made readily available without any age limit at all.”
“Plan B One-Step” is a large dose of the hormonal drug levonorgestrel. It is available only by prescription when used either in two doses (in Plan B and its generic versions), or in smaller doses for ongoing contraception.

Past and Present Pro-Life Legislation in Pennsylvania

AllIssuesLADPro-life advocacy is a priority for PCC staff in each legislative session. The 2013-2014 session is no different, with staff and advocates working to keep taxpayer funded abortions out of the federal health care exchanges to be set up in Pennsylvania. Advocates, including you, can easily send a message to legislators by clicking here. For the first time in decades, the prospect of execution is imminent, with several prisoners exhausting their appeals in recent and coming months. You can send a message about that issue here. These are just two examples of the respect for life debate in Pennsylvania. [Update: Pro-Life HB 818 passed in June. Elective abortion coverage cannot be included in the insurance plans set up in the Pennsylvania exchange. Read more here]

The roots of Pennsylvania’s pro-life laws are found in the Abortion Control Act. The PCC was instrumental in the passage of the Abortion Control Act in 1982 and its subsequent amendments. The law was ultimately upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

To see how Pennsylvania compares to other states, we can look to the state-by-state analysis produced by Americans United for Life (AUL), which ranks each state on its protection of life policies. This year Pennsylvania is again ranked #3 on the list. liftbaby

It is clear that, to be truly a Commonwealth of citizens that protect life from conception to natural death, Pennsylvania must continue to be a leader in passing legislation that shows respect for the human person. Imagine the voices of Pennsylvania’s 3 million Catholics speaking together in support of pro-life issues! Send a message to your legislator in support of pro life legislation today.

Summary of Pennsylvania’s Pro-Life Laws:

The successes in Pennsylvania to protect life and conscience (some of which are listed in the AUL report) are listed below.

Current Abortion Regulations in PA:

  • Informed consent requirements
  • Mandated 24-hour reflection period prior to an abortion
  • Parental consent required for a minor seeking an abortion or, in the absence thereof, a court order allowing the abortion to proceed
  • Abortion providers are required to state in their printed materials that it is illegal for someone to coerce a woman into having an abortion
  • Medicaid funds cannot be used for abortion unless to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest
  • No public funding or public facilities may be used for abortion unless abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest
  • No health plan for state employees shall include coverage for abortion unless abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest
  • No public funds for legal services or IOLTA (legal aid fund) funds may be used to advocate for abortion rights
  • Programs receiving funds through the Department of Welfare, women’s services programs may not promote, refer for, or perform abortions or engage in any counseling to encourage abortion, and physical and financial separation from abortion services is required.
  • Pennsylvania prohibits the use of family planning funds for abortion-related activities, and requires family planning services providers and subcontractors to keep a state-funded family planning project physically and financially separate from abortion-related activities, with exceptions for abortion in the case life endangerment, rape or incest.
  • Abortion clinics must meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers (Act 122 enacted on December 22, 2011 following the Grand Jury Report concerning the Gosnell clinic in Philadelphia).
  • Only physicians or doctors of osteopathy licensed to practice medicine in PA are allowed to perform abortions.  Abortion providers must maintain hospital admitting privileges at Pennsylvania hospitals or have in place a written transfer agreement with a hospital which has emergency and surgical services available.
  • Pennsylvania has allocated millions of dollars to pregnancy care centers and other abortion alternative programs. Entities receiving the funds cannot perform abortions or provide abortion counseling.
  • Pa offers “Choose Life” license plates, the proceeds of which are used to fund adoption and abortion alternatives programs.
  • Pennsylvania also requires any insurance providers offering health care or disability insurance within the state to offer policies that do not cover abortion except when necessary to save the life of the mother or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Insurance providers may offer policies which do not cover abortions at all.
  • The state has an enforceable abortion reporting law.  The measure pertains to both surgical and nonsurgical abortions and requires abortion providers to report short-term complications.


Legal Recognition of Unborn and Newly Born:

  • Under Pennsylvania criminal law, the killing of an unborn child at any stage of gestation is defined as homicide.
  • Pennsylvania defines a nonfatal assault on an unborn child as a criminal offense.
  • The state allows wrongful death (civil) actions when a viable unborn child is killed through a negligent or criminal act.
  • The state has created a specific affirmative duty for physicians to provide medical care and treatment to born-alive infants at any stage of development.
  • Pennsylvania funds drug treatment programs for pregnant women and newborns.
  • Pennsylvania law provides for “fetal death registrations.”
  • Pennsylvania law provides for certificates of birth for stillborn babies.


Bioethics Laws:

  • Pennsylvania does not ban or regulate human cloning, but it does prohibit destructive embryo research performed in Pennsylvania.  It does not however prohibit embryonic stem cell research where the cells are extracted in another jurisdiction.
  • Pennsylvania prohibits experimentations on a live human baby, but allows experimentation on a dead baby with consent of the mother.
  • A healthcare provider providing services to a pregnant woman must advise her of the option to donate umbilical cord blood following delivery, and all healthcare facilities and providers must permit the woman to arrange for an umbilical cord donation.
  • Pennsylvania requires quarterly reports of assisted reproductive technologies data, including number of eggs fertilized, destroyed, or discarded, and the number of women implanted.


End of Life Laws:

  • In Pennsylvania, assisting a suicide is a felony.
  • Pennsylvania’s Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney Law specifically states that it does not “condone, authorize or approve of mercy killing, euthanasia or aided suicide.”

a)      An employee or staff member of a health care provider may not be required to participate in the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment.

b)     In the case of an incompetent pregnant woman who has an end stage medical condition or who is permanently unconscious,  life sustaining treatment, nutrition and hydration shall be provided notwithstanding the existence of a living will, a health care decision by a health care representative or health care agent or any other direction to the contrary, unless such treatment will not maintain the pregnant woman in such a way to permit the continuing development or live birth of the unborn child or if such treatment will cause her harm or pain that cannot be alleviated by medication


Healthcare Rights of Conscience Laws:

Note: This is a list of laws at the state level. At the national level, the contraceptive mandate imposed on health plans by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) violates freedom of conscience, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment and several federal laws. Send a message in support of conscience here.

Participation in Abortion

  • If an objection is made in writing and is based on religious, moral, or professional grounds, a physician, nurse, staff member, or other employee of a hospital or healthcare facility is not required to participate in abortions and cannot be held liable for refusing to participate.  Medical and nursing students are also protected.
  • Except for facilities that perform abortions exclusively, each facility that performs abortions must prominently post a notice of the right not to participate in abortions.
  • A private hospital or healthcare facility is not required to perform abortions and may not be held liable for this refusal.
  • Pennsylvania also protects healthcare providers who object to providing abortion-inducing drugs.


Health Care

  • Pennsylvania’s Managed Care Law provides that “a managed care plan shall not exclude, discriminate against or penalize any health care provider for its refusal to allow, perform, participate in or refer for health care services when the refusal of the health care provider is based on moral or religious grounds and that provider makes adequate information available to enrollees or, if applicable, prospective enrollees.”


Conscience Protection

  • The Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Restoration Act specifically provides that “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require a religiously affiliated health care facility to provide, allow, participate in or refer for health care services which are contrary to the religious beliefs or practices of the facility, provided that the facility shall provide notice to its patients of its policies regarding those health care services.”


Participation in Research Harmful to Human Life

  • Pennsylvania currently provides no protection for the rights of healthcare providers who conscientiously object to participation in immoral medical research.


 Send a message to your legislator in support of pro life legislation today.

PCHA Featured on Comcast Newsmakers

The chairman of the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) board, Greg Wozniak, appeared on a recent episode of Comcast Newsmakers to talk about the 50th anniversary of the association.

The interview highlights 50 years of successful public policy advocacy and showcases the unique commitment of Catholic health care to serving the poor and underserved.

Founded in 1963, PCHA is a statewide organization whose membership is composed of 60 Catholic hospitals, long-term care facilities, multi-facility health systems and other related health care entities, as well as sponsoring religious congregations and individuals.

PCHA is a catalyst that enables the Catholic health ministry to continue and strengthen its vital role as Christ’s healing presence in the mission of the Church and communities served.

Watch the Comcast Newsmakers clip here.

Pro Life Bill Passes House, Heads to Senate

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) specifically permits states to prohibit insurance providers that participate in the exchange from covering elective abortions. Governor Corbett has indicated that Pennsylvania will not create its own exchange. Therefore, to assure that elective abortion is not included in the federal exchange to be implemented in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth must affirmatively opt out by passing a state law. House Bill 818 clearly prohibits the taxpayer supported insurance plans from covering elective abortions.

HB 818 passed the House today with a vote of 144 to 53. It now heads to the Senate, where a vote is expected in the coming weeks. Click here to send a message to your legislators in support of HB 818.

Abortion coverage has long been prohibited in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program (except in cases of rape, incest or to avert the death of the mother). Currently no tax dollars are used for elective abortions anywhere in Pennsylvania. HB 818 guarantees that the taxpayer supported plans in the federal government’s new health insurance exchange are in line with this long-standing policy.

House Bill 818 does not eliminate coverage of abortions in the cases of rape, incest or to avert the death of the mother.  Only elective abortions are excluded.

Click here to send a message to your legislators in support of HB 818.

The vote is as follows, listing by diocese:

Allentown Diocese

Caltagirone, Thomas R. (D- Berks) – District 127 X
Cox, Jim (R- Berks) – District 129 X
Day, Gary (R- Lehigh) – District 187 X
Emrick, Joe (R- Northampton) – District 137 X
Freeman, Robert (D- Northampton) – District 136 X
Gillen, Mark M. (R- Berks) – District 128 X
Goodman, Neal P. (D- Schuylkill) – District 123 X
Hahn, Marcia M. (R- Northampton) – District 138 X
Harhart, Julie (R- Northampton) – District 183 X
Heffley, Doyle (R- Carbon) – District 122 X
Knowles, Jerry (R- Schuylkill) – District 124 X
Mackenzie, Ryan. (R- Lehigh) – District 134 X
Maloney, David M., Sr. (R- Berks) – District 130 X
McNeill, Daniel (D- Lehigh) – District 133 Excused Excused
Rozzi, Mark  (D- Berks) – District 126 X
Samuelson, Steve (D- Northampton) – District 135 X
Schlossberg, Mike (D- Lehigh) – District 132 X
Simmons, Justin J. (R- Lehigh) – District 131 X
Tobash, Mike (R- Schuylkill) – District 125 X

Altoona- Johnstown Diocese

Barbin, Bryan (D- Cambria) – District 71 X
Benninghoff, Kerry A. (R- Centre) – District 171 X
Burns, Frank (D- Cambria) – District 72 X
Conklin, H. Scott (D- Centre) – District 77 X
Fleck, Mike (R- Huntingdon) – District 81 X
Haluska, Gary (D- Cambria) – District 73 X
Hanna, Michael K. (D- Clinton) – District 76 X
Hess, Dick L. (R- Bedford) – District 78 X
McGinnis, John (R- Blair) – District 79 X
Metzgar, Carl Walker (R- Somerset) – District 69 X
Stern, Jerry (R- Blair) – District 80 X

Erie Diocese

Bizzarro, Ryan (D- Erie) – District 3 X
Brooks, Michele (R- Mercer) – District 17 X
Causer, Martin T. (R- McKean) – District 67 X
Fabrizio, Florindo J. (D- Erie) – District 2 X
Gabler, Matt (R- Elk) – District 75 X
Harkins, Patrick J. (D- Erie) – District 1 X
James, Lee (R- Venango) – District 64 X
Longietti, Mark (D- Mercer) – District 7 X
Lucas, Greg (R- Erie) – District 5 X
Oberlander, Donna (R- Clarion) – District 63 X
Rapp, Kathy L. (R- Warren ) – District 65 X
Roae, Brad (R- Crawford) – District 6 X
Sankey, Thomas  (R- Clearfield) – District 74 X
Smith, Samuel H. (R- Jefferson) – District 66 X
Sonney, Curtis G. (R- Erie) – District 4 X
Stevenson, Richard R. (R-Mercer) – District 8 X

Greensburg Diocese

Daley, Peter J. (D- Washington) – District 49 X
Dunbar, George (R- Westmoreland) – District 56 X
Evankovich, Eli (R- Westmoreland) – District 54 X
Harhai, R. Ted (D- Westmoreland) – District 58 X
Krieger, Timothy (R- Westmoreland) – District 57 X
Kula, Deberah (D- Fayette) – District 52 X
Mahoney, Tim (D-Fayette ) – District 51 Excused Excused
Markosek, Joseph F. (D- Allegheny) – District 25 X
Oberlander, Donna (R- Clarion) – District 63 X
Petrarca, Joseph A. (D- Westmoreland) – District 55 X
Pyle, Jeffrey P. (R- Armstrong) – District 60 X
Reed, Dave (R- Indiana) – District 62 X
Reese, Mike (R- Westmoreland) – District 59 X
Smith, Samuel H. (R- Jefferson) – District 66 X
Snyder, Pam (D- Greene) – District 50 X

Harrisburg Diocese

Aument, Ryan P. (R- Lancaster) – District 41 X
Benninghoff, Kerry A. (R- Centre) – District 171 X
Bloom, Stephen (R- Cumberland) – District 199 X
Boback, Karen (R- Luzerne ) – District 117 X
Culver, Lynda Schlegel (R- Northumberland) – District 108 X
Cutler, Bryan (R- Lancaster) – District 100 X
Delozier, Sheryl M. (R- Cumberland ) – District 88 X
Denlinger, Gordon (R- Lancaster) – District 99 X
Fee, Mindy (R- Lancaster) – District 37 X
Fleck, Mike (R- Huntingdon) – District 81 X
Gillespie, Keith (R- York) – District 47 X
Gingrich, Mauree (R- Lebanon) – District 101 X
Greiner, Keith (R- Lancaster) – District 43 X
Grell, Glen R. (R- Cumberland) – District 87 X
Grove, Seth M. (R- York) – District 196 X
Harris, C. Adam (R- Juniata) – District 82 X
Helm, Susan C. (R- Dauphin) – District 104 X
Hickernell, David S. (R- Lancaster) – District 98 X
Kauffman, Rob W. (R- Franklin) – District 89 X
Keller, Fred (R- Union) – District 85 X
Keller, Mark K. (R- Perry) – District 86 X
Kim, Patty (D- Dauphin) – District 103 X
Marsico, Ron (R- Dauphin) – District 105 X
Masser, Kurt A. (R- Northumberland) – District 107 X
Mentzer, Steven (R-Lancaster) – District 97 X
Millard, David R. (R- Columbia) – District 109 X
Miller, Ron (R- York) – District 93 X
Moul, Dan (R- Adams) – District 91 X
Payne, John D. (R- Dauphin) – District 106 X
Regan, Mike (R- York) – District 92 X
Rock, Todd (R- Frankin) – District 90 X
Saylor, Stan (R- York) – District 94 X
Sturla, P. Michael (D- Lancaster) – District 96 X
Swanger, RoseMarie (R- Lebanon ) – District 102 X
Tallman, Will (R- York) – District 193 X


Philadelphia Archdiocese

Adolph, William F., Jr. (R- Delaware) – District 165 X
Barrar, Stephen (R- Delaware) – District 160 X
Bishop, Louise Williams (D- Philadelphia) – District 192 X
Boyle, Brendan F. (D- Philadelphia) – District 170 X
Boyle, Kevin J. (D- Philadelphia) – District 172 X
Bradford, Matthew D. (D- Montgomery) – District 70 X
Briggs, Tim (D- Montgomery) – District 149 X
Brown, Vanessa Lowery (D- Philadelphia) – District 190 X
Brownlee, Michelle F. (D- Philadelphia) – District 195 X
Clay, James W.  (D- Philadelphia) – District 179 X
Clymer, Paul I. (R- Bucks) – District 145 X
Cohen, Mark B. (D- Philadelphia) – District 202 X
Corbin, Becky (R- Chester) – District 155 X
Cruz, Angel (D- Philadelphia) – District 180 Excused Excused
Daley, Mary Jo (D- Montgomery) – District 148 X
Davidson, Margo L. (D- Delaware) – District 164 X
Davis, Tina M. (D- Bucks) – District 141 X
Dean, Madeleine  (D- Montgomery) – District 153 X
DeLissio, Pamela A. (D- Philadelphia) – District 194 X
DiGirolamo, Gene (R- Bucks) – District 18 X
Donatucci, Maria P. (D- Philadelphia) – District 185 X
Evans, Dwight (D- Philadelphia) – District 203 X
Farry, Frank A. (R- Bucks) – District 142 X
Galloway, John T. (D- Bucks) – District 140 X
Godshall, Robert W. (R- Montgomery) – District 53 X
Hackett, Joseph T. (R- Delaware) – District 161 X
Harper, Kate (R- Montgomery) – District 61 X
Harris, Jordan (D- Philadelphia) – District 186 X
Hennessey, Tim (R- Chester) – District 26 X
Kampf, Warren (R- Chester) – District 157 X
Keller, William F. (D- Philadelphia) – District 184 X
Killion, Thomas H. (R- Delaware) – District 168 Excused Excused
Kinsey, Stephen (D- Philadelphia) – District 201 X
Kirkland, Thaddeus (D- Delaware) – District 159 X
Lawrence, John A. (R- Chester) – District 13 X
McCarter, Steve (D- Montgomery) – District 154 X
McGeehan, Michael P. (D- Philadelphia) – District 173 X
Miccarelli, Nick (R- Delaware) – District 162 X
Micozzie, Nicholas A. (R- Delaware) – District 163 X
Milne, Duane (R- Chester) – District 167 X
Miranda, J.P. (D- Philadelphia) – District 197 X
Murt , Thomas P. (R- Montgomery) – District 152 X
Neilson, Ed (D- Philadelphia) – District 169 X
O’Brien, Michael H. (D- Philadelphia) – District 175 X
O’Neill, Bernie (R- Bucks) – District 29 X
Painter, Mark. (D- Montgomery) – District 146 X
Parker, Cherelle L. (D- Philadelphia) – District 200 X
Petri, Scott A. (R- Bucks) – District 178 X
Quinn, Marguerite (R- Bucks) – District 143 X
Roebuck, James R., Jr. (D- Philadelphia) – District 188 X
Ross, Chris (R- Chester) – District 158 X
Sabatina, John P., Jr. (D- Philadelphia) – District 174 X
Santarsiero, Steven J. (D- Bucks) – District 31 X
Sims, Brian (D- Philadelphia) – District 182 X
Stephens, Todd (R- Montgomery) – District 151 X
Taylor, John (R- Philadelphia) – District 177 X
Thomas, W. Curtis (D- Philadelphia) – District 181 X
Toepel, Marcy (R- Montgomery) – District 147 X
Truitt, Dan (R- Chester) – District 156 X
Vereb, Mike (R- Montgomery) – District 150 X
Vitali, Greg (D- Delaware) – District 166 X
Waters, Ronald G. (D- Philadelphia) – District 191 X
Watson, Katharine M. (R- Bucks) – District 144 X
Youngblood, Rosita C. (D- Philadelphia) – District 198 X

Pittsburgh Diocese

Brooks, Michele (R- Mercer) – District 17 X
Christiana, Jim (R- Beaver) – District 15 X
Costa, Dom (D- Allegheny) – District 21 X
Costa, Paul (D- Allegheny) – District 34 X
Daley, Peter J. (D- Washington) – District 49 X
Deasy, Daniel J. (D- Allegheny) – District 27 X
DeLuca, Anthony M. (D- Allegheny) – District 32 X
Dermody, Frank (D- Allegheny) – District 33 X
Ellis, Brian L. (R- Butler) – District 11 X
English, Hal (R- Allegheny) – District 30 X
Frankel, Dan (D- Allegheny) – District 23 X
Gainey, Ed (D- Allegheny) – District 24 X
Gergely, Marc J. (D- Allegheny) – District 35 X
Gibbons, Jaret (D- Lawrence) – District 10 X
James, Lee (R- Venango) – District 64 X
Kortz, William C., II (D- Allegheny) – District 38 X
Kotik, Nick (D- Allegheny) – District 45 X
Maher, John (R- Allegheny) – District 40 X
Markosek, Joseph F. (D- Allegheny) – District 25 X
Marshall, Jim (R- Beaver) – District 14 X
Matzie, Robert F. (D- Beaver) – District 16 X
Metcalfe, Daryl D. (R- Butler) – District 12 X
Molchany, Erin (D- Allegheny) – District 22 X
Mustio, T. Mark (R- Allegheny) – District 44 X
Neuman, Brandon P. (D- Washington) – District 48 X
Ravenstahl, Adam (D- Allegheny) – District 20 X
Readshaw, Harry (D- Allegheny) – District 36 X
Saccone, Rick (R- Allegheny) – District 39 X
Sainato, Chris (D- Lawrence) – District 9 X
Snyder, Pam (D- Greene) – District 50 X
Stevenson, Richard R. (R- Mercer) – District 8 X
Turzai, Mike (R- Allegheny) – District 28 X
Wheatley, Jake (D- Allegheny) – District 19 X
White, Jesse (D- Washington) – District 46 X

Scranton Diocese

Baker, Matthew E. (R- Tioga) – District 68 X
Boback, Karen (R- Luzerne) – District 117 X
Brown, Rosemary M. (R- Monroe) – District 189 X
Carroll , Mike (D- Luzerne) – District 118 X
Everett, Garth D. (R- Lycoming) – District 84 X
Farina, Frank (D- Lackawanna) – District 115 X
Flynn, Marty (D- Lackawanna) – District 113 X
Haggerty, Kevin (D- Lackawanna) – District 112 X
Kavulich, Sid Michaels (D- Lackawanna) – District 114 X
Major, Sandra (R- Susquehanna) – District 111 X
Mirabito, Rick (D- Lycoming) – District 83 X
Mullery, Gerald J. (D- Luzerne) – District 119 X
Mundy, Phyllis (D- Luzerne) – District 120 X
Pashinski, Eddie Day (D- Luzerne) – District 121 X
Peifer, Michael (R- Wayne ) – District 139 X
Pickett, Tina (R- Bradford) – District 110 X
Scavello, Mario M. (R- Philadelphia) – District 176 X
Toohil, Tarah (R- Luzerne) – District 116 X

Governor Recognizes PCHA 50th Anniversary

PA Catholic Conference, Gov Corbett
Tom Corbett

Tom Corbett

Governor Tom Corbett has recognized the 50th anniversary of the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA).

In a letter sent to PCHA president Sister Clare Christi Schiefer, O.S.F., Governor Corbett wrote, ” Five decades of success is certainly a testament to this organization and I commend PCHA for their efforts to provide support, advocacy, and education to the Catholic healthcare community in Pennsylvania. It is my hope that this organization and its members will continue to improve the quality of life for Pennsylvanians through the contributions to health and wellness for years to come.”

Governor Corbett continued, “As Governor, and on behalf of all Pennsylvanians, I am pleased to congratulate the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association on its 50th anniversary. Please accept my best wishes for continued success in the future.”

You can view the letter from Governor Corbett here  and read more about PCHA here.

View a list of PCHA members here.

Simplified Application Helps Business Owners Offer Scholarships to Local Students

The words “simplified,” “tax” and “form” are not often found in the same sentence; but a revision to the application for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program puts them together.

After persistent feedback by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) and others about the cumbersome application process, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) simplified the tax credit form making it easier than ever for companies to receive a financial benefit in return for their support of education.

Continue Reading →

2013 Civic Commemoration of the Holocaust

vigliettawebsiteOn Monday, April 8, the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition hosted the 2013 Civic Commemoration of the Holocaust.

Holocaust survivors were introduced to the standing room only crowd in the Governor’s Reception Room, and each present lit a candle in remembrance of the Holocaust. Students from Silver Academy in Harrisburg read excerpts from their essays, “Lessons Learned from the Holocaust.”

The program also included a welcome by Rabbi Eric Cytryn and remarks by Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley, Senator Mike Stack and Representative Dan Frankel.

Francis Viglietta, Director of Social Concerns for the PA Catholic Conference, offered the interfaith message. He said, “It is an honor to participate in this solemn commemoration… Because the lessons learned from the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime against the Jewish people seven decades ago are lessons for people of all faiths. They must never be forgotten. In fact, it is our sacred duty before God to remember always.”

Mr. Viglietta (pictured above) also quoted from “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah,” a document published by the Catholic Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. It can be read here. Upon its release, Pope John Paul II said, “May the Lord of history guide the efforts of Catholics and Jews and all men and women of good will as they work together for a world of true respect for the life of every human being, for all have been created in the image and likeness of God.”

The event closed with the singing of “Zog Nit Keynmol,” a Yiddish song inspired by the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

Pro-Life Bill Passes House Committee

House Bill 818, the bill that would ensure taxpayers do not fund abortions through the federal health care exchange administered in PA, was voted out of the House Health Committee today by a vote of 15 to 9.

HB 818 now proceeds to the full House for a vote. An identical piece of legislation, Senate Bill 3, was voted out of committee in the Senate last week.  Send a message to your legislators TODAY asking them to vote “yes” on HB 818 and SB 3!

The House Health Committee vote is as follows:


Representative Baker (Chair, Tioga)

Representative Corbin (Chester)

Representative Cutler (Lancaster)

Representative Day (Lehigh)

Representative Farry (Bucks)

Representative Gingrich (Lebanon)

Representative Grell (Cumberland)

Representative Hahn (Northampton)

Representative Kauffman (Franklin)

Representative Lawrence (Chester)

Representative Mullery (Luzerne)

Representative Simmons (Northampton)

Representative Stern (Blair)

Representative Toepel (Montgomery)

Representative Toohil (Luzerne)


Representative Boyle (Philadelphia)

Representative Brown (Philadelphia)

Representative Clay (Philadelphia)

Representative Daley (Montgomery)

Representative DeLissio (Philadelphia)

Representative Fabrizio (Erie)

Representative O’Brien (Philadelphia)

Representative Petri (Bucks)

Representative Sabatina (Philadelphia)

Representative Schlossberg (Lehigh)

PCHA and PCC Urge Consideration for Expanding Medicaid Eligibility



PA Catholic Health logo_v7The Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) issued this statement today urging the governor and the General Assembly to consider expanding Medicaid eligibility:

The Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) continue to support access to health care for all persons.

Our Catholic sponsored facilities have been providing health care to Pennsylvanians for more than 160 years with a special mission to serve the economically poor. They have historically faced daunting challenges in caring for those in need.

Today, unemployment and economic hardship has touched the lives of record numbers of families in Pennsylvania. One of the most devastating consequences of diminished income or losing a job is the loss of access to health care. Thousands of Pennsylvanians are uninsured. Our needs are great, but Pennsylvania’s resources are limited. We must make the most of what we do have to get us through these tough times.

PCHA and PCC acknowledge that reform increasing access to care is necessary. We also believe that states should have the independence and flexibility to use tax dollars for the greatest good. But we should not dismiss the opportunity to help Pennsylvanians today.

At this critical time, PCHA and PCC urge the governor and the General Assembly to consider expanding Medicaid eligibility as the Affordable Care Act allows, or explore options with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which would subsidize the purchase of private insurance for low income people. Expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania, or adopting another approach in cooperation with HHS, will ensure that thousands of low-income uninsured citizens will be able to access the health care they need now.

Our challenges in caring for those in need are still daunting. Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.” We cannot ignore those who need help now while we strive to achieve long term health care solutions.


NOTE: The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has been overshadowed by another serious concern, the infringement of religious liberty by a mandate that religious employers fund and facilitate services such as contraceptives, abortion causing drugs, and sterilization  that violate Catholic teaching and disregard of the conscience rights of for-profit business owners. Read more about the HHS mandate and learn how you can take action against it here.

 Read more about the HHS mandate and learn how you can take action against it here.