A Pennsylvania program that empowers women to choose life over abortion has achieved a seven percent drop in the number of resident abortions in the state over the last 17 years.
Real Alternatives, a charitable nonprofit organization that is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, is the nation’s first alternative program of its kind. The organization states that its mission is to “provide life-affirming alternatives to abortion services throughout the nation.”
The program offers support services to women throughout pregnancy, including maternity residences, adoption education, and parenting skills training. Real Alternatives has served more than 200,000 women throughout Pennsylvania since the program began in 1996. The organization offers free and confidential support, counseling, and guidance to pregnant women, in an effort to provide an alternative to abortion.
“It has been so gratifying over these years that so many women who were alone and facing a crisis pregnancy had another person to assist them and empower them to overcome obstacles and pressures so they could choose life for their preborn baby,” said Kevin Bagatta, president and CEO of Real Alternatives, in a Wednesday statement.
Real Alternatives offers funding for pregnancy support centers, Catholic Charities, maternity homes, and counselors who provide support as well as education services.
During the last fiscal year, the program assisted nearly 19,000 women and received $5.794 million through the state’s DPW. In addition, Real Alternatives has served as a model program for other states. The organization has assisted 14 other states, Texas among them, in initiating taxpayer-funded programs to reach out to women in crisis pregnancies. The Texas Pregnancy Care Network has also experienced success in providing pregnancy and parenting support services to nearly 72,000 women in that state.