July 20, 2020 Press Release


July 20, 2020

Real Alternatives Is a Real Waste of Pennsylvania Tax Dollars

7.20.20 – Today, reproductive rights watchdog group Equity Forward launched Real Waste, a campaign to educate Pennsylvanians about their tax dollars going to waste on a corrupt anti-abortion program.

Real Alternatives, the state-funded anti-abortion center program that has received more than $45 million dollars in taxpayer funding in the last eight years alone, has fought for years to hide its spending from taxpayers. Instead of using the millions in tax dollars as it was intended to in Pennsylvania, an investigation by the state Auditor General uncovered that Real Alternatives siphoned a significant amount of the money to fund operations in Indiana and Michigan. In June, the group received an additional $3 million as part of the budget to address the state’s COVID-19 crisis.

“There is no dispute that Real Alternatives used money meant for Pennsylvania and spent it in other states. The question on the table now is why has it not faced a single consequence for doing so? With so many needs facing families struggling to get by, it is unfathomable that the organization would get more money from the state of Pennsylvania,” said Mary Alice Carter, Senior Advisor of Equity Forward.

In addition to taking money from Pennsylvania programs, the Office of Open Records revealed that Real Alternatives and anti-abortion centers are risking people’s privacy rights. Anti-abortion centers sent records that included people’s names, along with the services they received, to Real Alternatives. This information could identify a person’s pregnancy status, sexual history or STD information.

“Real Alternatives, a group bound by no medical privacy laws, is getting information that reveals the identity of women who are getting confidential services. When someone turns over information, especially when they are getting what is portrayed as a medical service, it is reasonable to assume that their privacy will be respected. This revelation raises multiple questions about how or if this program is handling sexual and medical history.”

Through the Real Waste campaign, Equity Forward is calling for Real Alternatives to be transparent about what it is doing with Pennsylvania tax dollars and for more oversight of the program. For more information, visit www.realwaste.org.



Equity Forward is a watchdog project that seeks to ensure transparency and accountability among anti-reproductive health groups and individuals who are actively working to deny people access to services such as birth control and abortion. We are a staff of researchers, lawyers and communications professionals that uses research to inform reports and campaigns to effectively reduce or eliminate the damaging work of anti-reproductive health forces.