Currently funding 145 pregnancy support centers throughout three states, Real Alternatives provides reproductive health services, crisis pregnancy counseling, and a variety of other supportive services aimed at empowering pregnant women to choose childbirth. Real Alternatives began in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1996, and has since had a significant positive impact on expectant mothers throughout the state.
Statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Health recently revealed that the number of abortions performed in the state has decreased significantly since reaching a record high in 1980. The total of 32,126 abortions were performed in 2014 represents a 51.2 percent drop from the record 65,777 abortions that took place in 1980.
According to Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, there are numerous factors that have contributed to the decline in abortions among Pennsylvania women. These include legislative changes, such as the Abortion Control Act, which implemented new requirements for informed and parental consent and established a 24-hour waiting period. Ms. Gallagher also cited social media as a driving force influencing women’s decisions, as well as the rising prevalence of 4D ultrasound technology. In addition, she noted the integral role played by life-affirming organizations such as Real Alternatives, which has provided emotional and material support to over 275,000 pregnant women through Pennsylvania’s Alternatives to Abortion program since 1996.