PALMYRA, Penn., Feb. 13, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pennsylvania's first-in-the-nation Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program has served over 211,036 women the last 17 years. Started in 1996 to offer women counseling and mentoring support as an alternative to abortion, the statewide Program has provided over 1 million support service visits to women throughout Pennsylvania.
Real Alternatives is the statewide administrator for the Program. Kevin Bagatta, President & CEO of Real Alternatives said, "It has been so gratifying over these years that so many women who were alone and facing a crisis pregnancy had another person to assist them and empower them to overcome obstacles and pressures so they could choose life for their preborn baby." Real Alternatives uses 93 pregnancy support centers, Catholic Charities, and maternity homes, and their over 500 caring and compassionate trained counselors to provide free pregnancy support and parenting education services to women in our state.
In fiscal year 2011-12 ending June 30, 2012, 18,948 women were provided comprehensive counseling, mentoring, education, and support services throughout their nine (9) months of pregnancy and twelve (12) months after the birth of their baby. The program received funding of $5.794 million that fiscal year through the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. The Program's administrative cost ratio was 7.86%.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported that the number of resident abortions in Pennsylvania in 2011 dropped by 2.2% to 34,459 from the previous year. That figure represents a 7.3% drop from the 1995 number of 37,173 abortions, the year before the program began.
Real Alternatives Vice President, Thomas Lang pointed out, "With the difficult economic times we have experienced that last couple of years, comes increased pressure to abort. For women who come to our Program pressured by others to abort, 87% no longer consider abortion after receiving services." Lang continued, "Thankfully, in fiscal year 2011-12 we served more women seeking services for unexpected pregnancies than at any time in the program's 17 year history. A record setting 13,068 pregnant women received services that year."
Real Alternatives has assisted 14 other states to start taxpayer-funded programs to reach out to women facing unexpected pregnancies. In 2006, Texas, requested assistance in replicating the Pennsylvania program. That program, administered by Texas Pregnancy Care Network, has also been a great success in providing pregnancy and parenting support services to 71,978 women at 373, 963 support service visits.
For more information, www.RealAlternatives.org/film