The nonprofit behind an Indiana Department of Health Services program for parents and expectant mothers is celebrating six years serving Hoosiers and an 8% decrease in the state abortion rate during that period. It's also marking a busy quarter-century helping Pennsylvanians choose life.
“Thanks to this continued statewide program, pregnant women have another person to assist them, which empowers them to overcome obstacles and pressures so they can choose life for their preborn baby,” said Real Alternatives CEO Kevin Bagatta in a statement on the group's Indiana work.
The charitable organization, in releasing its fiscal year 2019-2020 year-end figures, said it provided “life-affirming counseling, mentoring and support services” to over 16,000 Hoosiers in running the Indiana Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program. The Health Department said the state’s abortion rate dropped 3.4% in the same time frame.
Mary Ellen Van Dyke, executive director of Right to Life of Southwest Indiana, told The Christian Post her group supports RA’s program, which received $2.25 million from the state government last fiscal year. She said such efforts help prospective mothers think through their choices and opportunities.
“I believe it makes a world of difference to have someone to present to you the facts, the realities, and to calm your fears,” she said to CP.
Real Alternatives said its work in the last year also led to 600 clients’ children getting updated immunizations, which the company calculated saved the state government over $12 million in medical costs. It also reported that counselor referrals for prenatal care for close to 12,000 women prevented $270 million in additional medically related spending.
Nearly 72,000 Indianans have used Real Alternatives’ services over its half-dozen years serving the state, which began by order of then-Gov. Mike Pence in 2014. “Real Alternatives has empowered women for life by providing positive, life-affirming pregnancy and parenting support services to women and families in need. I am grateful to all the men and women who have dedicated their time and talent,” Pence later wrote to the organization.
RA helps Hoosiers through a network of more than 20 pregnancy support centers and social service agencies throughout the state. They cover 90 of Indiana’s 92 counties.
The announcement comes on the heels of Real Alternatives in September marking 25 years of providing similar services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where it’s had greater than 320,000 clients. RA’s Keystone effort has a network of 29 service providers with 86 pregnancy support centers, maternity homes and other pregnancy help sites for roughly half the state’s counties.
“It’s so important to have someone to go to who will assure you your crisis pregnancy will be all right,” Van Dyke said to CP. She added that such a situation can last just nine months and end “beautifully” in a new life for the mother or an adopting family instead of becoming a lifelong regret and problem through abortion.
“After the pregnancy, especially with young people, that unplanned pregnancy or unexpected pregnancy can become a crisis parenting situation,” Bagatta said in a statement. “We’ll be there with them for that time to make sure they are ready and are providing good parenting and good nurturing and are being taken care of during that first year of life.”
The nonprofit in fiscal 2019-2020 received $6.3 million from the Pennsylvania state government and $1 million from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Real Alternatives said across states, life is the choice of 60% of its abortion-minded clients and 89% of those pressured to have the procedure. In addition to Indiana and Pennsylvania, the state of Michigan retained its services in 2013-2019.