Pennsylvania Abortion Alternatives Program Helps Nearly 20K Women Last Year
by Steven Ertelt
January 12, 2009
Harrisburg, PA (LifeNews.com) — The nation’s first and largest state-funded program providing women with alternatives to abortion set a record last year in helping nearly 20,000 women. Real Alternatives, statewide administrator for the Pennsylvania Alternative to Abortion Services Program helped a record 19,747 women.
The women were provided with comprehensive counseling, mentoring, and support throughout their entire pregnancy and for one year following the birth of their baby.
In fiscal year 2007-2008 the program received its highest funding of $6.5 million per year from the state welfare department. Most of the money goes directly for the programs helping women, with just 8.5 percent funding administrative costs.
Kevin Bagatta, an attorney who is the head of the program, has been in touch with LifeNews.com over the years about its success and says it has helped reduce abortions in Pennsylvania to historic lows.
"We have seen a steady decrease in annual abortions since the start of the program 13 years ago," he said.
Overall, Bagatta says the state has spent $59 million to help 150,000 women experiencing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy avoid abortion.
"We are striving for the day when no woman in the Commonwealth feels that she must have an abortion - that is what the program is about," he said.
The program involves 118 Real Alternatives-funded pregnancy support centers, Catholic Charities, social service agencies, maternity homes, and adoption agencies throughout the state.
There is a center within an hour’s drive of every Pennsylvania woman and the centers provided services to 19,747 women at 83,263 visits last year. Since its inception 13 years ago, Real Alternatives has served over 150,000 women at over 645,329 office visits.
Bagatta says Real Alternatives is the only state-funded program in Pennsylvania dedicated to lowering abortions after there is a crisis pregnancy.
"It continues to work because of the approximately 500 counselors and mentors statewide meeting the needs of women in unplanned and crisis pregnancies," he said.
"By providing a counselor to be with the woman in need from the moment she finds out she is pregnant to 12 months after the birth of the baby, this program empowers her to overcome her obstacles and crisis," Bagatta explained. "She is not alone. She knows someone is with her to help her."
Bagatta told LifeNews.com that helping women avoid abortions involves more than distributing literature.
"An alternative to abortion is not a pamphlet, it is another person," he said. "It is one woman seeing another woman in crisis and loving her and supporting her like she is her own daughter. This program represents the best in America."
Related web sites:
Real Alternatives – https://www.RealAlternatives.org
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