Reproductive health is a critical component of an individual's general health and involves the reproductive process, functions, and systems of men and women, according to the World Health Organization. Two programs at the Department of Human Services (DHS) focus on reproductive health: Family Planning Services and Alternatives to Abortion Services.
The Family Planning Services program in Pennsylvania provides services, information, and counseling related to family planning. Services are free or low-cost and are always confidential.
The program provides family planning and family planning-related services, pharmaceuticals and supplies to people of any age who:
What Services Are Covered?
The following is a partial list of the services included in this Family Planning Services program:
- Office visits to your family planning health care provider for evaluation, follow up, and referral to other health care providers as necessary
- Counseling from your health care provider regarding pregnancy — to prepare for pregnancy, to prevent unintended pregnancies, and to enable individuals to control the timing and spacing of pregnancies
- Initiation and management of contraception, including male and female sterilization
- Birth control supplies and medications
- Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with vaccine and condoms
- Treatment of STDs through medications and/or procedures
- Laboratory services for the screening of STDs, HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), anemia, sickle cell disease and pregnancy
- Screening and education regarding breast, reproductive and testicular cancer
- Counseling regarding smoking cessation
A typical family planning office visit for women may include: a pelvic exam; screenings for breast and reproductive cancers; screening for high blood pressure, anemia and diabetes; tests for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV; counseling about a woman's plans for pregnancy, and if appropriate, a prescription for contraception.
A typical family planning office visit for men may include testing and treatment for STDs and condoms for prevention, HIV testing and prevention education, testicular exams and education about testicular cancer, and information on safe and effective contraception for you and your partner.
If you have questions about what is covered, please check with your provider.
How to Apply
You can apply for the Family Planning Services program by:
COMPASS is the online application for Pennsylvanians to apply for many health and human services programs, including the Family Planning Services program. This is the easiest, fastest, and preferred way to apply for family planning servicesod.
The paper application is called "Application for Health Care Coverage." It is available at county assistance offices (CAOs) and on this site. After you complete the application, you will need to mail it to your local CAO.
For more information about PA's Family Planning Services program, email RA-PWFamilyPlanning@pa.gov or call 1-800-537-8862.
Pennsylvania Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Program
Pennsylvania’s Alternatives to Abortion
Many women of all ages, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds are faced with the news that they are pregnant at a time when they did not expect to be. This news can be overwhelming. If this happens to you or someone you know, there is no need to panic. Free, caring, confidential, and non-judgmental pregnancy and parenting support services that offer you alternatives to abortion are available. Whatever the reason, help is available.
Who Is Eligible?
Free and confidential alternatives to abortion services are available to:
Where to Go for Help
What services are available?
- Free, self-administered pregnancy test kits;
- Counseling and education;
- Educational referrals to improve skills or obtain a GED if you are interested in continuing your education;
- Referrals to and coordination with other community agencies for medical care (pre- and post-natal), assistance with food, financial help, and a host of other supports that you may need to care for your baby;
- Maternity and baby clothing, food, and furniture — whatever you may need to keep you and your baby healthy;
- Help finding temporary shelter (if you don't have a place to live) — a safe place where you can live before and even after your baby is born;
- Pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting classes; and,
- Other related services necessary for the health of the mother and child
General Information About Real Alternatives: By going to
www.RealAlternatives.org, you can be rapidly connected to a Real Alternatives provider services site that is closest to you via a locator page. If you choose instead to call Real Alternatives at 1-888-LIFE AID, you will be connected to a Real Alternatives provider nearest you who will help you every step of the way. You may even talk with someone who has been in your situation, who has most definitely helped others like you, and who can give you the guidance you need.
About the Program: The program sites across the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are monitored annually by Real Alternatives to ensure they follow program and Department of Human Services' standards, and are staffed with caring and trained counselors.
The program promotes childbirth and provides help to women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy at the time she is making a decision about the outcome of her pregnancy. This free aid includes information and referrals for certain needed services.
The program has been administered through grants with the private, nonprofit company, Real Alternatives, for over 28 years. Privately-owned and operated entities throughout the state, in turn, provide the services mentioned above through subcontracts with Real Alternatives.
www.RealAlternatives.org or call 1-888-LIFE AID for these free valuable social and educational services such as training/counseling regarding childbirth, parenting, and abstinence, as well as for food and clothing items, housing assistance, and other available services. These services are available to all women completely free of charge.
Request for Application released for Women's Service Programs
The Department of Human Services (DHS) announced the release of a Request for Applications (RFA) for women's service programs that will aim to broaden health care access, amplify awareness, and cultivate well-informed decision-making with a particular focus on women, pregnant women, and new mothers. Applications are being solicited on a regional basis.
Applications are due by October 2, 2023. More information about the RFA and all necessary documentation to prepare an application is available on eMarketplace. All inquiries and communications concerning this RFA must be referred to the Issuing Officer identified in the RFA.