For the fourth year in a row, Real Alternatives, the statewide administrator of the Pennsylvania Alternatives to Abortion Program, reports an increase in the number of women served. In fiscal year 2012-2013, 19,325 women were provided comprehensive free, caring and compassionate pregnancy support and parenting education services. For many such women, they were served at one of Real Alternative’s contracted sites across Pennsylvania throughout the full nine (9) months of their pregnancy, and for twelve (12) additional months after the birth of their baby. As the historical data always bears out, with increased funding to $6.044 million for the 2012-2013 fiscal year through PA’s Department of Public Welfare, the Real Alternatives statewide network of Service Providers were able to increase the number of women they were able to serve. The statewide program’s administrative cost ratio fell once again to 7.36%.
Not surprisingly, the recently released 2012 Abortion Statistics from the PA Department of Health reveal that there was 33,166 abortions, an almost 4% decrease in the number of abortions performed on residents of Pennsylvania as compared to the previous year. In fact, over the last four years, while Real Alternatives’ client numbers increased each year, there has been a steady decrease in the number of abortions in PA each year.
In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, 95 Real Alternatives-funded pregnancy support centers, social service agencies, maternity homes, and adoption agencies throughout the Commonwealth provided services to those 19,325 women at 90,002 visits. Since its inception in fiscal year 1995-1996, the program has served over 228,000 women at over 1,140,000 visits.
Never satisfied in its quest to reach out to all women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, Real Alternatives encouraged one of its service providers, Catholic Social Service of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, to find more innovative ways to bring life-affirming support services where they are most needed. The result was the New Beginnings Van [pictured above with Amy Stoner, Catholic Social Services of Philadelphia.
Spear-headed by Amy Stoner, Director of Community-based Services, she explained: “The New Beginnings mobile unit extends the reach of our counselors and resources beyond site-based engagement. We are no longer limited by where we have offices, or whether a prospective client can get to us. Now we are going out to them, in their neighborhoods, even in their own homes. The New Beginnings van is a visible witness to our support for pregnant moms, and positions us better than ever before to ensure that they have every opportunity to make the choice for life. With seasoned counselors now deployed right where the action is, this is truly front line pro-life work.”
Thomas A. Lang, Esquire, Vice President of Operations, agreed: “Through this mobile program you can have counselors right there who can provide the women support counseling and other referrals and let them know that help is out there,” he said.
Commenting on the increased services, lower abortions, and the New Beginnings Van, Real Alternatives’ President and CEO, Kevin I. Bagatta, Esquire said, “With news like this it’s not surprising to me that the State of Texas has been operating our program there since 2006, and that the State of Michigan recently requested Real Alternatives to operate our program in their state.” Bagatta continued, “The program simply works because of the devoted counselors who work very hard to meet the needs of women who are experiencing unexpected, unplanned, and oftentimes, crisis pregnancies. This is how we need to be helping women, not pushing them to abort their babies.” Visit www.RealAlternatives.org/film for a short film about the program. For more information, call Kevin Bagatta at 717-541-1112, or by e-mail to [email protected]