NRL News

A supportive and caring program that transforms the life of pregnant women who are uncertain and alone

by | Jul 20, 2020

Real Alternatives, Inc. has served more than 320,000 pregnant women and their families

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Editor’s note. This appeared in the July digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please read the entire 45-page issue and share with your pro-life family and friends.

A woman is pregnant and alone, not knowing where to turn for help in a moment of crisis. She hears about Pennsylvania’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support program, and her life is transformed.

“They’re very supportive and they help you with whatever you need,” she says. “They really are there.”

The breakthrough Pennsylvania program is celebrating an important milestone—its 25th anniversary. Now administered by Real Alternatives, Inc., the program has served more than 320,000 pregnant women and their families with compassion, steadfastness, and love.

As one counselor put it, the women who come to the program “believe that when they walk through our doors that they are not going to be judged. That it is confidential and they can come in and get the help they need.”

The help the Pennsylvania program provides is truly impressive—everything from counseling to shelter, parenting classes to food and furniture. And the success stories are remarkable—women completing their GEDs and launching college careers, all as a result of the support of caring counselors who accompany the women through their pregnancies.

As columnist Michelle Malkin stated, “Real Alternatives counselors and volunteers are ‘true agents of hope and change’ . . . This army of compassion has succeeded against enormous odds . . . and their success is being replicated across the country.”

The landmark Pennsylvania program has often been described as a “government program that really works.” The program, which has become a model for the rest of the nation, has an inspiring mission: to “empower women to protect their reproductive health, avoid crisis pregnancies, choose childbirth rather than abortion, receive adoption education, and improve parenting skills.”

The program’s measurable outcomes are impressive, including:

  • enhanced physical and emotional support for women
  • improved parenting
  • lower health and Medicaid costs because of high pre-natal and pediatric care rates and increased immunization rates for children.

Deena Burnett, who lost her husband Tom when terrorists attacked his airplane on 9/11/2001, once noted, “I’m certain that the little things you do every day you do every day have a greater impact than you may realize. You have the opportunity to make an incredible difference in the life of everyone you meet. In a word, to be a hero. When learning about the difference that your work makes, I was reminded how one life, one life saved can make an incredible difference.”

With two-and-a-half decades of service to the women of Pennsylvania, the program has shone a brilliant light into the darkness of uncertainty for mothers throughout the Keystone State. Its dedicated counselors have provided help and hope at a critical juncture in women’s lives. Throughout its history, the program has garnered broad, bipartisan support in the corridors of the state Capitol.

The late Governor Robert Casey, Sr., who was instrumental in launching the Pennsylvania program, said of the project, “Our business is to fight the poison of hopelessness with love.”