Casey's anti-abortion rights package would increase aid for pregnant teens

The Pregnancy Assistance Fund Expansion Act, S. 144, would increase funding for the remaining six years of the Pregnancy Assistance Fund by $25 million. The Pregnancy Assistance Fund — originally $250 million to be spent over 10 years — was created under the Affordable Care Act and gives states, colleges and high schools grants to provide assistance for pregnant and parenting teens, college students and pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking. 

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The program assists pregnant women so that they don’t get an abortion for financial reasons. Casey said if the program was expanded it could reach more women and babies.

Another Casey bill — S. 143, the Health Care Provider and Hospital Conscience Protection Act — would protect healthcare workers and hospitals that refuse to perform abortions or refer patients to places that provide the service. Hospitals and healthcare workers already have such a protection, but Casey’s bill would clarify that states and local governments aren’t allowed to discriminate against those facilities by withholding state funding and grants. Some religious medical facilities, such as Catholic hospitals, refuse abortion services. 

The Hyde Amendment Codification Act, S. 142, would permanently prohibit federal funds from being used for abortions, with the exception of cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger. That too is already current law, but Casey’s bill would make it that Congress would permanently ensure no federal dollars are spent on abortion, rather than short-term extensions done during the appropriations process.

Casey introduced these measures the day before the “March for Life” rally in Washington, D.C.