Pregnancy support services are under attack, suffering arson, vandalism, censorship, slander from politicians and more — simply for helping mothers and babies in need.
And Real Alternatives, a program established 27 ago by former Pennsylvania Democrat Gov. Bob Casey Sr. to support pregnant mothers who choose life for their unborn babies, has not been immune.
That is one of the many reasons why the program strives to maintain the highest standards, said Kevin I. Bagatta, Esq., president and CEO of Real Alternatives. Of course, the most important reason is to provide the best possible support to the hundreds of thousands of women it serves in Pennsylvania and Indiana through maternity homes, pregnancy resource centers, adoption agencies and Catholic charities.
“We help people. We solve problems. And that’s what this program represents,” Bagatta told Fox News in a recent interview.
Real Alternatives has received praise from U.S. Department of Health and Human Service officials, politicians and pro-life leaders for its excellence in serving mothers who choose life for their babies.
“The track record of our Pennsylvania program in helping women is just phenomenal!” Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told LifeNews. “Time and time again, women testify to the tremendous assistance they have received through this life-affirming program.”
But abortion activists and many mainstream news outlets ignore patients’ testimonies and attack the essential, life-saving work of such programs. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, even recently claimed pregnancy centers “torture” women and demanded that they be “shut down.”
Among abortion activists’ claims are that pro-life organizations deceive women about abortion risks and the medical services that they provide, and pressure women into keeping their babies.
None of that is true at Real Alternatives, Bagatta told LifeNews.
They strive to ensure that every woman receives compassionate, non-judgmental and accurate information and support, and their service providers make it clear that abortion is not one of their services, he said.
“Misleading a woman in unexpected pregnancy about the scope of available services is not only dishonest, it is neither compassionate nor caring,” he said. “… Real Alternatives reviews each potential service provider’s pregnancy-testing and other intake procedures to make sure nothing could contribute to the anxiety of a woman experiencing a unexpected pregnancy.”
All the educational materials that they use to counsel women cite authoritative sources like the Centers for Disease Control and medical studies in reputable journals, Bagatta continued. Nothing is judgmental, political or religious.
Sometimes, he said there is conflicting research about abortion risks, such as the potential increased risk of breast cancer. In those cases, instead of denying that there may be a risk – as abortion activists often do, Real Alternatives believes women deserve to know about the conflict so they can make their own decisions.
“… it is the philosophy of Real Alternatives that the client must be provided with all such relevant information so that she can make an educated and informed choice about her health and that of her baby,” Bagatta said.
They also encourage service providers to keep up to date about new research on abortion risks and other pregnancy-related matters, he said. They train and educate every service provider “to recognize that providing dishonest information is not only unethical and wrong, but that it is ineffective in developing the necessary relationship of trust with the client” as well, he continued.
As to medical services, he said Real Alternatives does not provide them — though some of its service providers do apart from the program. The program primarily offers counseling and material support for pregnant and new moms, and, like rape crisis centers and domestic abuse shelters, refers women to medical and other community services that they do not provide, he said.
“The value of Real Alternatives-funded service providers is in no way diminished because they don’t provide medical services,” Bagatta continued. “On the contrary, the value of these organizations is derived from the fact that they provide unique crisis counseling and mentoring services most medical providers do not provide to women experiencing a unexpected pregnancy: professional peer counseling, mentoring, education classes and materials assistance.”
Nearly half a million mothers and babies have received help through Real Alternatives in Pennsylvania and Indiana, and countless more through other state programs that it has helped to establish.
Through Real Alternatives and other programs, Gallagher said pro-life advocates are the ones really helping families in need.
“What help are the abortion industry and its apologists providing to pregnant women who want to keep their babies?” she told LifeNews. “The answer is clear. Rather than attacking those who provide much-needed support to pregnant women, lawmakers should be celebrating and investing more resources in this groundbreaking program.”