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
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 22 – Grant funding of $220,748 has been approved to renovate 330 streetlights on West Market Street between the intersections of 46 th and 63 rd streets, state Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., announced today. Cephas said the grant to the nonprofit ACHIEVEability – awarded from the Local Share Account (LSA) administered by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development – will support the installation of modern LED lights to create better visibility for all travelers along West Market Street. “These fixtures will increase and improve current lighting conditions along the area to create a safer environment for residents and passerby that utilize the major road. The corridor connects West Philadelphians to the rest of the city through public transportation routes, walking, biking, and driving,” Cephas said. “A large section of the project area has recently added bike paths and increased lighting will provide safer roads for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians alike.” LSA grant eligibility varies by county. In Philadelphia, funds are sourced from license fees for slot machines operating within the city and are eligible for use on economic development, neighborhood revitalization, community development, and public interest projects in the city. In Philadelphia, LSA grant amounts can fall anywhere between $10,000 and $500,000. Read more
LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Department of Human Services that provides assistance for home heating bills so Pennsylvanians can stay warm and safe during the winter months. Read more
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
HARRISBURG, Oct. 7 – State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Morgan Cephas, both D-Phila., are introducing legislation to prohibit PA from imposing undue regulations on women’s reproductive health. This legislation would protect the health care women get and their access to safe abortions. It also would prevent women from being denied the right to an abortion. “Abortion is health care, and health care is a human right,” Kenyatta said. “Abortion care should be able to be accessed without any barriers, and we should put that into law.” Cephas said, “Women’s reproductive health issues are a major problem in our country, with extreme laws or proposals across the nation to restrict reproductive healthcare. Women of color suffer from it the most.” Executive Director of Planned Parenthood of PA, Signe Espinoza, joined the lawmakers at a news conference yesterday at the state Capitol to discuss the importance of having this protection in Pennsylvania. Read more
Feel free to share this resource among your networks and don’t forget to engage with the Women's Health Caucus on social media using the #OptInPA. Read more
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
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
HARRISBURG, Aug. 26 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., today announced that she was recently appointed to the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, also known as Pennvest, and said she aims to address the longstanding environmental challenges that exist in underserved communities throughout Pennsylvania in her new role. “Over the years the presence of lead in our drinking water, the ongoing need to remediate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in water sources and the importance of repairing miles of old infrastructure throughout the commonwealth have been well-documented,” Cephas said. “With resources potentially coming from the federal government, now is a great time to be strategic by leveraging Pennvest resources to further expand economic and workforce development opportunities.” Since its inception, Pennvest has been committed to serving communities and residents of Pennsylvania by funding sewer, stormwater and drinking water projects throughout the commonwealth through low-cost financial assistance opportunities. These projects not only contribute to improving Pennsylvania's environment and the health of its people, but they also provide opportunities for economic growth and jobs for Pennsylvania's workers. "In my new role, I am excited to examine and approve projects that will create healthy and safe communities across Pennsylvania," Cephas said. Read more
“I am grateful to House leadership for recognizing this and for working with the Women’s Health Caucus to get the message across – birthing people in Pennsylvania need access to care to improve maternal and child health outcomes. I am also grateful that the department recognizes the role they play in improving outcomes and has decided to act. Together we can make improvements for Pennsylvania’s families,” Cephas said. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 5 – Today, the Women’s Health Caucus offered its support to the Wolf administration and Human Services Department Secretary Meg Snead on their decision to extend medical assistance coverage to 12 months postpartum. Under the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden, states have the option to extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum women from the current 60 days to a full year. At a press event today and in response to a letter sent by House Democratic leadership, Snead confirmed the department is prioritizing extending coverage for the full year. “I'm pleased to see DHS taking steps to prioritize maternal health,” said WHC co-chair Sen. Amanda Cappelletti. “By extending care to 12 months postpartum, we can lift some of the burden off of so many new parents and make health care more accessible for those who need it most.” Nationally, the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates when compared to similarly wealthy countries. Growing evidence shows that the postpartum period lasts longer than 60 days and extending coverage for a full year can reduce maternal mortality rates and improve outcomes for both mothers and children. WHC co-chair Sen. Judy Schwank emphasized the importance of this decision, saying, "We cannot stress enough how important it is to help new moms and babies get a healthy start. By extending Medicaid coverage, health issues, including mental Read more
HARRISBURG, June 25 – Today the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus touted the $30 million included in the state budget which will go toward community violence prevention including fighting gun violence, according to state Rep. and PLBC Chair Donna Bullock, D-Phila. Earlier this year, Bullock along with state Reps. Morgan Cephas and Amen Brown, both D-Phila., introduced H.B. 696 which provided for a similar community violence grant program. State Sen. Art Haywood, D-Phila., introduced a companion bill in the Senate. “Gun violence is epidemic in scope but personal in nature,” Bullock said. “The families of loved ones who have lost their lives to gun violence have rallied with us and asked us as legislators to do something. This money is an investment to be used toward that next step in the work for which the PLBC has been laying the groundwork for years. This investment will finally help us move forward to begin investing in programs that we know will work and are led by people in our communities with boots on the ground.” “Countless Pennsylvanians are carrying the physical and mental trauma of gun violence, with many experiencing the devastating effects daily,” Cephas said. “The funding is available for our legislature to become intentional with quelling this public health crisis. As lawmakers, it is our moral obligation to protect residents across this state, and the budget must reflect that. Read more
If you are ever faced with an unwanted or nonviable pregnancy, make no mistake: You have the right to choose how to handle it. The ultimate decision must be yours, and we will fight to ensure that remains true. Read more
“It is dismaying that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle insist on bringing regressive anti-abortion legislation to a vote—legislation that stands to undo any progress in expanding reproductive health autonomy and cause more pain,” Cephas said. “For months, my colleagues of the Women’s Health Caucus, and those who stand with us have been investing time, energy, and resources to defend the rights of Pennsylvanians, and their personal healthcare choices. The people of Pennsylvania are deserving of so much better.” Read more
Mary C. Curtis sits down with Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, President Joe Biden's pick to lead the task force on health equity. They discuss why Black people suffer disproportionately and what is being done to change the equation. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 28 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., today announced that a $250,000 Commonwealth Financing Authority grant has been awarded to the Wynnefield Overbrook Revitalization Cooperation in the 192nd Legislative District. Cephas said the funding will go towards blight remediation efforts for two Brownfield parcels on Lancaster Avenue. Each site will be developed to include the Overbrook Urban Farm and Training Center (6122 Lancaster Ave.) and the Overbrook Farmacy Market (6150 Lancaster Ave.). Additionally, a building on 6150 Lancaster Ave. will be demolished and the site will be prepared for new development. “This grant aims to transform this former industrial site into a community showpiece that stands to benefit this West Philadelphia neighborhood,” Cephas said. “I am also proud to see that the pandemic hasn’t slowed down the commitment to making investments in our communities.” Cephas adds that interested parties should contact her office for more information about similar grant opportunities. Juveniles Active in Science & Technology (JASTECH) Development Services, Inc. in Overbrook served as a community partner in developing this grant application. The Commonwealth Financing Authority was established in 2004 as an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development to administer Pennsylvania's economic stimulus packages. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 26 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., along with state Reps. Tina Davis, D-Bucks; Mike Jones, R-York; and Lori A. Mizgorski, R-Allegheny, hosted a news conference today to unveil the Dignity for Incarceration Act, bipartisan legislation that aims to make comprehensive reforms to how women and femme-identifying people are treated in correctional institutions. “When we talk about the health and well-being of women, we mean all women and femme-identifying individuals including incarcerated women,” Cephas said. “We stand alongside one another today to send a message to our colleagues that dignity for incarcerated women transcends county and party lines and is an issue the state legislature should get behind. Our mothers, daughters and sisters deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and should not be forced to face inhumane treatment such as being shackled while giving birth or being denied necessary feminine hygiene or incontinence products. We must codify current state policy and enact this legislation to help prevent further mental and physical health implications for all of Pennsylvania’s incarcerated women, their children and families.” Over the span of three decades Pennsylvania has seen a significant increase in the number of incarcerated women, and the DFIW Act bill would provide well-vetted provisions at both the state and county level, with necessary oversight from children and youth services. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 19 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., announced today that she will host a virtual Youth Town Hall on ways young people can manage their mental health in the wake of two public health crisis: gun violence and COVID-19, while offering resources and activities for staying engaged this summer. Cephas said her town hall stands to provide much needed resources for local youth as they become increasingly susceptible to the adverse impacts of social isolation stemming from COVID-19, and grapple with the gun violence epidemic across Philadelphia. The virtual discussion will take place this Saturday, May 22 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Attendees will also learn about the COVID-19 vaccine for youth, summer youth employment opportunities, and will be able to register for on-site assistance with employment applications from 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. at one of the following local community centers: Shepard Recreation Center, 5700 Haverford Ave.,19131 Tustin Recreation Center, 5901 W Columbia Ave., 19151 Attendees must pre-register by calling Cephas’ district office at (215) 879-6625. Media is invited to attend . Read more
HARRISBURG, May 5 – To further protect workers from sexual harassment and retribution from exposing such behavior, the House today unanimously approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by state Reps. Kate Klunk, R-Hanover, and Morgan Cephas, D-Phila. Specifically, H.B. 938 would forbid employers from requiring employees and potential employees to sign nondisclosure agreements related to sexual harassment as a stipulation of employment. This would ensure workers who face sexual harassment in the workplace can exercise their voice to report such egregious offenses they may suffer at the hands of a co-worker or a superior. Employees and employers would still be able to voluntarily enter into such agreements. The bill also would clarify that nondisclosure agreements formed during the hiring process are to be considered involuntary, while those created during the settlement of a harassment case may be considered voluntary. “Far too often victims of workplace sexual harassment are dissuaded from coming forward with allegations because of nondisclosure agreements that essentially end investigations into these offenses before they even start,” Klunk said. “This leads to a culture that prevents justice from being served and aggressors being held accountable.” “Too many Pennsylvanians have had their sense of comfort and livelihoods ruined because they were victimized in the workplace and faced further abuse for speaking out. We Read more
HARRISBURG, May 5 – State House members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and supporters today outlined their legislative agenda for systemic equity at a Capitol news conference. Members spoke about bills that would resolve bias, create diversity and provide inclusion, bridging the racial divide and inequities in legislation, state government agencies and health care. “This agenda is a road map for changing the way we deliver services, distribute resources and otherwise do business in the Commonwealth in all matters so that everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, gender, or Zip code, will have the same access and the same expectation as residents of Pennsylvania,” said PLBC Chair and state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. “The inequities in health care, housing and employment that were exacerbated by the pandemic are not new. They are systemic and often rooted in generations of racism. To address these systemic inequities, we have to remove stigmas, address implicit bias, and invest in systemic equity in ways that provide fair and equitable access to wealth, health, safety and more. We cannot continue doing things as we’ve done in the past and expect the outcome to be different. I have said that before, it still holds true and will continue to be true until we make substantial changes. We won’t relent until we see these changes.” “I truly appreciate the leadership of PLCB Chairwoman Bullock to keep us Read more
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