Birmelin includes pro-life legislation in state budget

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:01

    HARRISBURG - Legislation that will ensure that state funds will not be used to pay for abortion-related activities at family planning clinics has been approved by the General Assembly and sent to the governor. “We had been placing this language into the budget for the past several years; however, as part of the appropriations bill it was subject to a line-item veto,” said Rep. Jerry Birmelin, author of the language and leader of the Pro-life Caucus. “By making it part of the fiscal code it must remain part of the law,” the Pike -Wayne legislator reported Sunday. Under the measure, no family planning services provider or subcontractor will be permitted to spend any funds received from a planning services appropriation on abortion-related activities. Abortion-related activities include: • Performing or directly assisting in abortions or allowing the performance of abortions. • Referring a pregnant woman to an abortion provider for an abortion. • Counseling that advocates tor or promotes abortion including counseling that advocates abortion as an option for dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. “This language is consistent with the belief of a majority of Pennsylvanians that state funds should not be used to promote abortion,” he said Also under the measure each family planning services provider would be required to keep a project physically and financially separate from abortion-related activities conducted by that family planning services provider or subcontractor. “This is a major step forward for the pro-life movement,” Birmelin said. Any family planning services provider that also performs abortion-related activities would be required to obtain an annual independent audit of its facilities to assure compliance with the law. The measure passed in the House by a vote of 177-20 and in the Senate by a vote of 47-2.