Thursday, November 8, 2018

Real Alternatives Serves Women in Indiana


Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives provides women with pregnancy support, as well as a diverse range of reproductive health services, information about adoption, and parenting assistance. Several states, including Indiana, have entered into contracts with Real Alternatives to fund centers that provide these services.

In 2015, then-governor Mike Pence declared that Indiana would support Real Alternatives in establishing 16 women's health centers to provide counseling for issues ranging from emotional and physical abuse to breastfeeding and child care. The contract, which stipulated $2.25 million in funding from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, ensured that thousands of women would receive counseling and support throughout their pregnancies and for the first year of their children's lives.

Prior to the announcement of the contract, the organization had already completed a year-long trial program in the state. During that time, it assisted more than 8,400 individuals at a cost of only $1 million to the Indiana State Department of Health, helping those feeling hopeless to find healing and support.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Babies in the Womb Respond to the Outside World


Since the 1990s, Pennsylvania-based Real Alternatives has served as a resource for women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. The nonprofit, now a government social service partner provider in three states, offers free counseling sessions, referrals for adoption, and a full year of support for mothers who choose to raise their babies. Due to Real Alternatives’ compassionate, caring approach, women have learned that they are not alone as they struggle against pressures to abort their babies.

Research has shown the extraordinary responsiveness of unborn babies to outside stimuli, and even to their mothers’ moods. These developing human beings are far from passive inhabitants of the womb.

As soon as the eighth week after conception, a baby has developed a sense of touch. Ultrasounds have shown that by 11 weeks, many unborn babies have begun to explore their own worlds by putting a hand to their mouths, or even by “walking” up the inside of the amniotic sac.

Unborn babies also display definite reactions to their mothers’ movements, often turning over in the womb, or striking back with an arm, in response to a touch from outside.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that emotion-triggered chemicals released into a mother’s bloodstream are transmitted to her unborn baby. Ultrasounds have also shown that when their mothers laugh, babies in the womb may respond with enthusiastic bouncing movements, and when their mothers are sad, they tend to become more quiescent.

Monday, October 22, 2018

How Ultrasound Technology Has Transformed Discussions of Abortion


A nonprofit organization based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives has helped hundreds of thousands of women through a compassionate approach that makes it easier to choose life over abortion. Now an official partner with government social services agencies in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan, Real Alternatives also offers extensive information on the development of babies in utero as a resource for women contemplating abortion.

Ultrasounds, now a staple of prenatal medical care, provide detailed views of the development of an unborn child. In fact, the precision of ultrasound technology played a significant role in increasing public support for the pro-life viewpoint, as it enabled a new generation to see that unborn babies possess the physical characteristics of full human beings. As such, science has transformed the public conversation about abortion.

For example, in its 1973 decision on abortion, the US Supreme Court relied on then-current medical thinking that an unborn child stood a chance of achieving viability outside the womb at 28 weeks. Today’s advances have moved that figure closer to only 22 weeks.

A range of recent surveys show the influence of ultrasound technology on the public’s views on abortion. One of these, produced by the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, reported that almost 80 percent of women surveyed chose to have their babies after viewing an ultrasound photograph of their child in the womb.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Are on the Rise


Real Alternatives serves women in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan through a network of crisis pregnancy centers that provide free counseling, adoption information and referrals, and ongoing material support for the first year of a baby’s life. In addition, the nonprofit offers resources on sexual health, including how to identify and prevent sexually transmitted diseases. 

The number of people affected by sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, has risen in recent years. The National Institutes of Health has differentiated some two dozen STDs to date and estimates that they infect close to 20 million people annually.

Individuals of any age or social background can contract STDs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young adults between 15 and 24 years of age, as well as pregnant women, are among the groups most at risk for common STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. Many women do not know they have contracted an STD, because they may remain symptom-free, yet the complications women experience are typically more severe than those experienced by men.

A major reason for the increase in the number of STD cases is that sexually active individuals today often have a greater number of partners over their lifetime. The CDC points out that the most effective means of avoiding STDs are abstention from sharing needles and abstention from sex outside of a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Real Alternatives Supports Pregnant Women and Lowers Medical Costs


Pregnancy centers can be a lifeline for women who feel pressured to have abortions. When a woman calls or visits a pregnancy center, she will find trained, compassionate counselors on hand who will talk with her about her emotions and circumstances and assist her throughout her pregnancy.

Real Alternatives administers pregnancy support and parenting programs at more than 135+ pregnancy support centers, social service agencies and maternity homes in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan. At these centers, caring counselors provide individual support for clients, who also receive everything from maternity clothes to day-care referrals depending on their needs.

The state’s investment in Real Alternatives has paid off. The program saves the state money in medical and societal costs, as women under the care of these centers are more likely to get regular prenatal care and have a decreased risk of low-birth-weight babies. Clients also are more likely to vaccinate their children on schedule. 

As a result, many states are modeling outreach programs after those of pregnancy support centers that partner with Real Alternatives. That means more women are receiving support and counseling during their pregnancies and for up to a year after the child is born.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Advice for Women Pressured to Have an Abortion


Real Alternatives has assisted upward of 300,000 women with crisis pregnancy services. The Pennsylvania-based nonprofit partners with government social service agencies in three states to deliver the help that can make all the difference in a woman’s choice to keep her baby.

Real Alternatives wants to be sure this message goes out to women in crisis: It is against the law to force any woman to undergo an abortion. No one, not the baby’s father, and not even her own parents if she is a minor, can make that decision for her. No doctor is permitted to perform an abortion without the individual woman’s informed consent; to do so means risking loss of his or her medical license.

Women unwilling to go through with an abortion should tell every staff member that they have not agreed to the procedure. If a physician attempts to perform the procedure, the woman - even if she is not yet 18 - has the right to say no. She can additionally tell the physician that she intends to file a lawsuit should she be forced into an abortion.

Trained, empathetic counselors are available at 1-888-LIFE-AID at any time of the day or night, to help women understand their rights and options, and to connect them with financial and social service support.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Pregnancy Support Centers Dedicated to Helping Women


Committed to helping women to find life-affirming alternatives to abortion, Real Alternatives possesses a network of pregnancy support centers designed to help women during and after their pregnancies. Real Alternatives' experienced counselors provide new and expectant mothers with kind and compassionate care.

At the centers, women have access to parenting, pregnancy, and childbirth classes. Providing confidential counseling and mentoring services, Real Alternatives furnishes mothers with vital items such as food, furniture, and baby and maternity clothing. Moreover, the counselors supply adoption information and encourage women to obtain well baby and prenatal check-ups during and after their pregnancies. The counselors also help mothers to make career and educational decisions. 

Offering women access to free pregnancy self-test kits and assistance in locating temporary shelter, the pregnancy support centers also give referrals to community agencies.

A nonprofit organization, Real Alternatives operates a network of 144 centers in Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. For more information, call 1-888-LIFE-AID.