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.
Alternatives to Abortion Services Program
Alternative to Abortion and Pennsylvania Alternative to Abortion Services
Many women of all ages are faced with the news that they are pregnant at a time when they did not plan to be. This news can seem overwhelming. If this happens to you or someone you know, there is no need to panic. Free, caring, and confidential alternatives to abortion services are available to help you through your pregnancy and beyond. Whatever the reason, help is available.
Who Is Eligible?
Free and confidential services are available to:
Women or men who are involved in an unplanned pregnancy
Women or men who think they might be involved in an unplanned pregnancy
Parents of infants up to 12 months of age.
Where to Go for Help
What services are available?
Free pregnancy test kit
Ways to continue your education (if you are in school)
References to other supportive agencies for medical care, including food, financial help, and any other support you need to care for your baby
Help with maternity and baby clothing, food, and furniture — whatever you 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
Other related services necessary for the health of the mother and child.
General Information About Real Alternatives: When calling Real Alternatives, you will speak to someone who will help you every step of the way. You will talk to the pregnancy support counselor nearest to you. You may talk with someone who has been in your situation, has helped others through it, and can get you the help that you need. The counselors at Real Alternatives have helped more than 198,000 women to get support, encouragement, guidance, and other help so they did not need to choose abortion.
About the Program: Close to 100 centers across Pennsylvania are checked annually to ensure they follow the Department of Human Services' standards, and staffed with caring professionals and trained counselors.
The Alternative to Abortion Services Program provides help to women experiencing a crisis pregnancy at the time when a decision about the outcome of the pregnancy is being made. This help includes information and referral for needed services. The Alternative to Abortion Services Program promotes childbirth rather than abortion.
Services are provided through a grant with a private, nonprofit agency, Real Alternatives, which, in turn, has subgrants to provide the services throughout the state.
This program provides such social and educational services as training/counseling regarding childbirth, parenting, and chastity. Food and clothing pantries and housing assistance are additional services that are provided. These services are available to all women.