Pennsylvania Abortion Alternatives Program Helped Reduce Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 24, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pennsylvania Abortion Alternatives Program Helped Reduce Abortions

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
January 24, 2004

Harrisburg, PA ( — If you give women alternatives to abortion, they’ll take you up on the offer. 

That appears to be the case in Pennsylvania, where a drop in the abortion rate is being attributed, in part, to a ground-breaking government program which provides support to pregnant women.

The program, run by an organization known as Real Alternatives, reported a 9.6 percent increase in its services to women in 2001, a year in which the abortion rate in Pennsylvania fell by 4.5 percent.

A total of 15,965 Pennsylvania residents received pregnancy and parenting support services at 124 Real Alternatives centers throughout the Commonwealth.

According to Real Alternatives CEO Kevin Bagatta, Pennsylvania’s "abortion choice percent," or the percentage of pregnant women who obtained an abortion, has dropped to 19 percent.  But he estimates that, without the Pennsylvania program, the abortion choice percent could have been as high as 22.6 percent. 

"This program over the last seven years continually confirms that when women in crisis pregnancies are provided mentoring and practical support and are not facing their pregnancies alone, they choose childbirth rather than abortion," Bagatta said.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation agreed.

In a written statement, the statewide pro-life group said, "Pennsylvania’s abortion rate might be much higher, were it not for Real Alternatives. When women face an unexpected pregnancy, they need support — not a callous offer to abort their children."

Over the years, Pennsylvania’s alternatives to abortion program has served more than 75,000 women. The program receives $5.3 million dollars a year from the Commonwealth — money well spent, according to the Federation.

"Pennsylvania’s program is a model for the rest of the nation. Government can and should be committing its resources to life-affirming options for pregnant women and their children," the Federation said.

Pennsylvania women who are pregnant and would like assistance can find the pregnancy resource center near them by calling 1-888-LIFE-AID or by visiting the program’s website at