By Maria Gallagher, legislative director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
Perhaps the biggest evidence that Pennsylvania’s landmark Alternatives to Abortion program is working—and working exceedingly well—is the fact that it is being targeted in the pro-abortion blogosphere.
RH Reality Check, an online apologist for the abortion industry, is bemoaning the fact that the program—which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc.—has received a vote of confidence by state leaders in the form of additional proposed funding. Whenever successful pregnancy resource centers earn accolades—and modest funding—they come under fierce attack from abortion businesses and their advocates.
Here’s an example of why the program has earned the ire of pro-abortion extremists.
The young woman who walks into the office may have been pro-life since she first became aware of the issue of abortion. And then, she finds herself pregnant, her boyfriend abandons her, and she feels completely alone. In that hour of crisis, she may be tempted to seek an abortion.
But the kind, compassionate woman who greets her in the pregnancy help center waiting room is just the person she needs in her life at this critical time, who can shine a light in the darkness which threatens to envelop her.
This is what Pennsylvania’s Alternatives to Abortion program offers—a ray of hope, a listening ear, a kind word, a trusted ally. The landmark program has now served more than 200,000 clients and their families—and similar programs have germinated across the nation.
The program was the brain child of former Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey and it enjoys the support of current Governor Tom Corbett, along with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers. Women facing unexpected pregnancies need more than a pamphlet, according to Real Alternatives President and CEO Kevin Bagatta. They need a person who will walk with them during their journey, who will offer comprehensive support, and who will not judge them.
And the program has had phenomenal success throughout the Commonwealth. Consider these figures from the 2010-11 fiscal year:
- 64% of women entering the program who were considering abortion chose childbirth
- 88% of women who were pressured by others to abort chose childbirth
- 67% of women who were pressured by others AND considering abortion chose childbirth
Real Alternatives also offers a toll-free hotline—1-888-Life-aid, which connects women to their local pregnancy resource centers, where they can receive free pregnancy tests, counseling, and support for themselves and their babies, both during their pregnancies and in the 12 months afterward.
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s bishops, has voiced strong support for the program, noting its ability to stand beside women in their hour of need. Pastors throughout the state have also hailed the program for its life-affirming, life-changing focus.
One national poll showed that more than 80 percent of the post-abortive women surveyed would have chosen life for their children—had just one person offered support. For many Pennsylvania women, that one person has been found at a Real Alternatives center.
“Number one, you’re not alone,” Real Alternatives’ Kevin Bagatta said in a recent K-LOVE Radio interview. “There are people who care about you…so you can be empowered…to choose life.”
For more information about Real Alternatives, visit www.realalternatives.org.