THE WOMEN'S HEALTH CAUCUS


 

Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus Co-Chairs and Members of State Senate Democratic Caucus Slam Supreme Court Decision, Call for Action to Preserve Abortion Access in Pennsylvania

(Jun 24, 2022)

HARRISBURG, June 24 — Co-chairs of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus (WHC) and members of the Pennsylvania State Senate Democratic Caucus criticized today's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The ruling by the court not only upheld a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks but also goes further and overturns both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, opening the door for states to outright ban or severely restrict abortion. The ruling eliminates the constitutional right to an abortion recognized by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Since a draft of the opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked and its authenticity subsequently confirmed by the court, advocacy groups, elected officials, and stakeholders have been issuing dire warnings about what such a radical decision would mean and the detrimental impact it would have on the health of millions of Americans. After today’s decision, the 13 states that passed trigger laws now have bans or severe restrictions already enshrined into law, leaving millions of Americans without access to abortion immediately. Arkansas, Idaho and Oklahoma law now criminalizes abortion with penalties ranging from 5 to ten years in prison. "The Supreme Court's decision is absolutely gutting and a severe blow to women across the country,” said WHC co-chair Sen. Judy Schwank (D-11th). “We have a maternal mortality crisis in the Read more

 

Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers Are Collecting Troves of Data That Could Be Weaponized Against Women

(Jun 22, 2022)

“It’s just nuts,” says Mary Jo Daley, a Democratic state representative in Pennsylvania, who introduced a bill directed at pregnancy centers. “They’re collecting all this information, and you don’t know how they’re gonna use it because they’re not health care providers. And women don’t know that. It’s frightening.” Read more

 

Opinion | Pro-Life Representatives may be the reason thousands of students can’t afford Pitt

(Jun 21, 2022)

This tuition discount is a life-changing benefit for many Pennsylvanian families and students. In many cases, it is the only factor that makes Pitt affordable. The fact the bill is at risk due to anti-abortion sentiment among state representatives is an indication of how backward the pro-life movement has become. Read more

 

Daley: Failure to enact workplace accommodations for nursing mothers is exacerbating the baby formula shortage

(May 31, 2022)

We are facing a baby formula crisis in which mothers searching for formula are visiting stores with empty shelves or are paying grossly overcharged amounts to simply provide nutrients for their babies. There is a confluence of reasons why this is occurring, including a recall by one of the industry's largest manufacturers, persistent supply-chain issues, and a market dominated by only a few manufacturers. While supply-chain issues caused by the pandemic are unavoidable, there are still policy choices that have long caused a dependence on baby formula. Currently, in Pennsylvania, without a comprehensive paid family leave law, mothers can be forced back into work quickly after birth. Once they are at work, nursing mothers may not be guaranteed to have a reasonable accommodation to pump breast milk. Without time to breastfeed at home or the ability to pump breast milk in a private and sanitary place during work, the opportunity to breastfeed is nonexistent for far too many new mothers. My legislation, H.B. 1739, would require reasonable accommodations for nursing mothers. These accommodations include providing a private, sanitary space – not a restroom – where an employee can express milk and providing unpaid break time or allowing an employee to use paid break, mealtime, or both to express milk. The refusal of the majority party to even call up H.B. 1739 hurts children and mothers. The formula shortage is bringing those harms to light. This Read more

 

Cephas announces Medicaid extension for postpartum care, highlights new money for maternal health initiatives

(Apr 18, 2022)

PHILADELPHIA, April 18 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas joined state Sen. Tim Kearney and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Meg Snead today at the Maternity Care Coalition in Philadelphia to highlight the implementation of Opt In PA, an initiative extending Medicaid support for postpartum individuals from 60 days to one year across the state. President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan Act included a provision that gives states an option to extend Medicaid coverage up to one year postpartum; the Pa. Department of Human Services made the decision to opt into this provision, extending that coverage from 60 days to one year. Implementation was effective April 1. “Constituents who use Medicaid should contact their providers to see how this impacts them and their care,” said Cephas, who co-chairs the General Assembly’s Women’s Health Caucus and serves on the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. Cephas also discussed a recently committed $25.6 million in American Rescue Plan funding for a new maternal and child health initiative in Pennsylvania called the COVID-19 Nurturing Maternal and Child Health Initiative. The initiative recognizes the impact the pandemic had on Pennsylvania communities and makes strategic investments to implement innovative and informed improvements into the public health continuum. NMCH will reach millions of more birthing parents and children through doula services, targeted services, healthy eating Read more

 

PA Women’s Health Caucus Applauds Medicaid Coverage Extension for Postpartum Individuals

(Feb 25, 2022)

PHOENIXVILLE, Feb. 25 -- The co-chairs of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus (WHC) hosted a press conference today at Tower Health in Phoenixville to applaud the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ decision to opt in our Medicaid program for postpartum individuals. “As a public health expert, it is important that we prioritize our resources in ways that will ensure better health outcomes for all Pennsylvanians,” said Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti (D-17 Montgomery/Delaware) and co-chair of the Women’s Health Caucus. “Birthing individuals can experience health complications up to one year postpartum and beyond. By extending Medicaid coverage to one year, we are improving maternal mortality and morbidity, improving childhood health outcomes, and ensuring a healthy start for Pennsylvania families.” As part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, this provides a federal option for states to extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum individuals from 60 days to one year. The program will start on April 1, 2022 and be available for five years in Pennsylvania. "It's clear that 60 days of postpartum coverage is not only insufficient, it's also dangerous,” said Senator Judy Schwank (D-11 Berks) and co-chair of the Women’s Health Caucus. “By extending postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months, Pennsylvania is seizing a major opportunity to address the shocking rate of postpartum Read more

 

Daley to introduce legislation to protect privacy of pregnant people

(Feb 15, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 15 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, plans to introduce legislation barring crisis pregnancy centers from sharing personal and health data gathered without permission from individuals. The legislation comes following an addendum to a 2021 report on CPCs and their use of taxpayer dollars to fund their operations. The addendum , released today, outlines the sophisticated collection of personal and health data being used to surveille pregnant people after going to a CPC. Since these centers typically do not provide any true medical services, they are not subjected to current laws surrounding patient privacy. “Now that we’ve seen citizens-turned-vigilantes empowered to take those seeking reproductive health care to court in other states, this mining of personal information can open the door for personal attacks on pregnant people looking for help,” Daley said. “Regulations must be put in place to protect the personal information of those who interact with a CPC.” According to the newly released report, CPCs are collecting information from individuals and sending it to the larger network of facilities. Daley says these “digital dossiers” could be used to prosecute women in a post-Roe world, as well as actively try to influence a person’s decision over reproductive health care. “These regional and nationwide groups are taking sensitive information and disseminating it through their Read more

 

Cephas joins First Lady Wolf, administration officials, Tuttleman Foundation to announce doula pilot program for pregnant women who are incarcerated

(Feb 14, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas joined First Lady Frances Wolf and the Departments of Human Services and Corrections to announce a new partnership that is bringing doula services to women who are pregnant while incarcerated. Doula services have been found to ease the pregnancy and labor process and improve birth outcomes for both mother and child, according to many studies. Funded through the Tuttleman Foundation, the doula pilot at State Correctional Institute Muncy will expand pregnancy and parenting supports for women who are incarcerated, a key goal of Cephas’s. Wolf said that the goal of the program is to support mothers through a difficult and vulnerable period and empower them as they prepare to re-enter their communities. “I'm glad – and proud – to see that the Department of Corrections is recognizing the importance of doulas in the fight to reduce maternal mortality among incarcerated women and improve birthing outcomes for birthing people and children,” Cephas said. “We now have an opportunity to capitalize on this momentum to pass legislation in the House or Senate to include Medicaid coverage for doulas for all birthing people, and the full Dignity for Incarcerated Women bill to show compassion for the unique circumstances that these women face.” Cephas was previously joined by Dream Corps JUSTICE, the American Conservative Union and Ardella’s House, along with other stakeholders, Read more

 

PA Women’s Health Caucus Responds to Governor Tom Wolf’s Budget Address

(Feb 10, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 9 -- The co-chairs of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus (WHC) applaud Governor Tom Wolf for his budget proposal that utilizes the nearly $6 billion budget surplus and puts Pennsylvania on the path to make historic investments in education, criminal justice, and public health. The WHC said it is proud to see numerous proposals related to the health and wellness of women and families across the Commonwealth, specifically: $8 million to extend postpartum coverage for birthing parents eligible for Medical Assistance to 12 months. $15 million, a 77% increase, to implement additional evidence-based home visiting and family support services to 3,800 additional families across the Commonwealth. $1.2 million to add postpartum depression as an eligible tracking category for early identification of need for early intervention services. $500,000, a 50% increase, to support “It’s On Us PA”, which promotes healthy relationships and protects students from sexual violence. $30 million to fund two new childcare options for state employees. $1 million for reentry services to women. Increase in the minimum wage: proposing an increase to $12 an hour effective July 1, 2022, with an annual increase of 50 cents until it reaches $15 in 2028. “I’m thrilled to see many proposals geared towards expanding healthcare coverage, increasing access to childcare, and broadening evidence-based home visiting,” said Senator Read more

 

Cephas, McClinton applaud VP Harris’ call to action to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity

(Dec 08, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 8 – State Reps. Morgan Cephas and Joanna McClinton, both D-Phila., applauded the maternal mortality and morbidity call to action issued by Vice President Kamala Harris this week , citing legislation that can be enacted in Pennsylvania to improve health outcomes and save lives. “The issue of maternal health and the devastatingly high rates of maternal mortality and maternal morbidity in Pennsylvania and across the country have been and continue to be a top priority of mine,” Cephas said. “I’m grateful that Vice President Harris has issued this call to action, elevating this issue in front of the entire country.” “Maternal health is at the core of family wellness,” House Democratic Leader McClinton said. “Despite our nation’s strengths, the fact that we have one of the highest maternal mortality rates is a stain on our country. “I applaud Vice President Harris’ actions to bring visibility to this issue that impacts so many women in our communities.” According to the call to action issued by Harris, the maternal mortality rates in the United States are among the highest in the developed world and are especially high among Black women and Native American women, regardless of income or education levels. As part of the call to action, $3 billion in Build Back Better funding will be invested in maternal health and states will be encouraged to extend Medicaid programs to 12 Read more

 

Women’s Health Caucus: Report shows crisis pregnancy centers misleading patients using taxpayer dollars

(Oct 26, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 26 – Chairs of the Women’s Health Caucus today condemned the actions of taxpayer-funded crisis pregnancy centers following the release of a report detailing some of their deceptive anti-abortion practices in nine states, including Pennsylvania. The report , titled “Designed to Deceive: A Study of the Crisis Pregnancy Industry in Nine States,” was published today by the Women’s Law Project in collaboration with The Alliance and the California Women’s Law Center. The study highlights the deceptive practices used by CPCs to steer pregnant patients away from abortion. The report found almost two-thirds (63%) of CPCs promoted medical falsehoods and 95% offered no prenatal care. Women’s Health Caucus co-chairs Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., Sen. Amanda Cappelletti, D-Delaware/Montgomery, and Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, said CPCs serve no real medical purpose and taxpayer funds should only be used for evidence-based services. “Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Pennsylvania have long diverted money from a program that actually helps needy families in Pennsylvania,” Daley said. “CPCs often target low-income women and women of color by providing them with biased and false medical claims. Instead, we should be promoting science-based and safe family medicine practices across the Commonwealth.” In Pennsylvania, CPC’s outnumber abortion care clinics nine to Read more

 

Women’s Health Caucus applauds efforts to improve outcomes for women returning to their lives following incarceration

(Oct 14, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 14 – Members of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus applauded Pennsylvania First Lady Frances Wolf for organizing a virtual discussion Wednesday to discuss the unique needs of women who are incarcerated and those leaving prison and returning to their families and communities. The virtual discussion among formerly incarcerated women, corrections professionals, reentry experts and advocates focused on the challenges that women face while incarcerated and during reentry, how the needs of these women are currently being met, and how the criminal justice system can improve to better serve them. Women’s Health Caucus co-chairs Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, and Sen. Amanda Cappelletti, D-Delaware/Montgomery, said the respectful treatment of women while in prison and when they are reentering society is a priority for the caucus and its legislative agenda. Over the span of three decades Pennsylvania has seen a significant increase in the number of incarcerated women. “We appreciate the efforts and commitment of First Lady Frances Wolf for understanding that there is a necessity to address the needs and concerns of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women in our state,” Cephas said. “Conversations like this can and should lead to better public policy and the enactment of legislation to help prevent negative mental and physical health outcomes for all of Read more

 

Women’s Health Caucus’ #OptInPA: Roadmap to Medicaid Coverage 1-Year Postpartum for Pennsylvanians

(Oct 07, 2021)

The Women’s Health Caucus is in full support of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and all partners and providers in implementing a state plan to extend Medicaid coverage to one-year postpartum for Pennsylvanians by April 1, 2022. This page is intended to serve as a hub of resources and information on the road to improving health outcomes across Pennsylvania, for communities impacted by the maternal mortality and postpartum health crisis. Feel free to share these resources amongst your networks and don’t forget to engage with us on social media using the #OptInPA. Read more

 

Frankel joins nearly 900 state legislators to express support for abortion rights

(Sep 21, 2021)

“My name is on this brief because Mississippi’s fight is also Pennsylvania’s fight: The anti-choice movement is on a relentless march to turn back the clock, and we cannot miss a single opportunity to stop them,” Frankel said. Read more

 

Hanbidge: If We Fail to Act on Behalf of Women’s Reproductive Rights, Pa. will Become the Next Texas

(Sep 15, 2021)

We are closer to being like Texas than you can imagine. It’s up to all of us to ensure we don’t end up there, which we can do by demanding our elected state officials protect our rights. Read more

 

Women’s Health Caucus condemns Texas’ ban on abortion

(Sep 02, 2021)

Members of the Women’s Health Caucus said they want to remind Pennsylvanians that, while they are standing in solidarity with those negatively impacted by the new Texas law, abortion remains legal in Pennsylvania, and Gov. Wolf has guaranteed a veto if any restrictive legislation reaches his desk. Read more

 

Women’s Health Caucus applauds DHS’s commitment to maternal health

(Aug 05, 2021)

Under ARPA, this new option can take effect starting April 1, 2022, and would be available to states for five years. This means mothers will soon have access to vital medical care like screening and treatment for chronic conditions, mental health services, breastfeeding support, preventative care, substance use disorder treatment, and access to family planning services for a full year postpartum. Read more

 

Women in academia feel like they’re screaming into the void. Here’s why. | Expert Opinion

(Jul 21, 2021)

Two doctors analyzed 5,554 research articles in five top academic medical journals and found that articles written by women are cited less often than those written by men. Read more

 

The High Financial Price Paid by Victims of Sexual Harassment

(Jul 21, 2021)

A new study tries to quantify the cost in lost earnings—and lost opportunity. Read more

 

Lawmakers Tackle ‘Period Poverty’ With Tax Cuts, School Supplies

(Jul 12, 2021)

Financial barriers, stigma and poor education around menstrual cycles have forced many into period poverty, defined as inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products and education. The problem has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

 

Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus Co-Chairs and Members of State Senate Democratic Caucus Slam Supreme Court Decision, Call for Action to Preserve Abortion Access in Pennsylvania
Jun 24, 2022

Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers Are Collecting Troves of Data That Could Be Weaponized Against Women
Jun 22, 2022

Opinion | Pro-Life Representatives may be the reason thousands of students can’t afford Pitt
Jun 21, 2022

Daley: Failure to enact workplace accommodations for nursing mothers is exacerbating the baby formula shortage
May 31, 2022

Cephas announces Medicaid extension for postpartum care, highlights new money for maternal health initiatives
Apr 18, 2022

PA Women’s Health Caucus Applauds Medicaid Coverage Extension for Postpartum Individuals
Feb 25, 2022

Daley to introduce legislation to protect privacy of pregnant people
Feb 15, 2022

Cephas joins First Lady Wolf, administration officials, Tuttleman Foundation to announce doula pilot program for pregnant women who are incarcerated
Feb 14, 2022

PA Women’s Health Caucus Responds to Governor Tom Wolf’s Budget Address
Feb 10, 2022

Cephas, McClinton applaud VP Harris’ call to action to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity
Dec 08, 2021

Women’s Health Caucus: Report shows crisis pregnancy centers misleading patients using taxpayer dollars
Oct 26, 2021

Women’s Health Caucus applauds efforts to improve outcomes for women returning to their lives following incarceration
Oct 14, 2021

Women’s Health Caucus’ #OptInPA: Roadmap to Medicaid Coverage 1-Year Postpartum for Pennsylvanians
Oct 07, 2021

Frankel joins nearly 900 state legislators to express support for abortion rights
Sep 21, 2021

Hanbidge: If We Fail to Act on Behalf of Women’s Reproductive Rights, Pa. will Become the Next Texas
Sep 15, 2021

Women’s Health Caucus condemns Texas’ ban on abortion
Sep 02, 2021

Women’s Health Caucus applauds DHS’s commitment to maternal health
Aug 05, 2021

Women in academia feel like they’re screaming into the void. Here’s why. | Expert Opinion
Jul 21, 2021

The High Financial Price Paid by Victims of Sexual Harassment
Jul 21, 2021

Lawmakers Tackle ‘Period Poverty’ With Tax Cuts, School Supplies
Jul 12, 2021