The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation receives Founders’ Award from Real Alternatives

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

A simple idea conceived by Pennsylvania Pro-lifers a quarter century ago to support women in unexpected pregnancies and to lower abortion rates has had a huge impact on over 323,000 women, their babies, their families, and the rest of America. Families are strengthened, relationships built, communities grown, and futures secured. The ripple effect seems infinite!

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation has advocated tirelessly for 25 years for the Pennsylvania Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Program. Due in part to the Federation’s efforts, Pennsylvania became the first state in the nation to fund such a program of hope with taxpayer dollars. That inspired 14 additional states, with Real Alternatives’ help, to follow a similar model.

From its inception, the program, administered by Real Alternatives, has provided critical services for approximately 323,000 Pennsylvania women in need, and consequently many others alongside them.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation was recently honored with the Founders’ Award, which recognizes action crucial to the growth and success of the program’s vision. President and CEO of Real Alternatives, Kevin Bagatta, said, “If it weren’t for the Pro-Life Federation, we certainly would not be here.”

Started during pro-life Governor Robert Casey’s administration, the program funds pregnancy support centers, maternity homes, adoption agencies, and social service agencies throughout the state to provide much needed services and support to vulnerable women.

According to Federation Board President, Susan Rogacs, Real Alternatives has always been a priority because lives are saved. The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation continues in its efforts to protect and promote the program, fighting against every attack to ensure that money in the state budget goes to help women and their babies. “We’ve lobbied legislators, issued press releases, and educated the public about the importance of this program. We stand firm in resisting those extremists who would take the safety net away from women,” said Rogacs.

Several other champions for life were honored with the Founders’ Award including former Governor Mark Schweiker, former U.S. Congressman Joe Pitts, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, and Morning Star Pregnancy Services, who began the program 25 years ago. In addition, Real Alternatives staff members Cliff McKeown and Tom Lang were honored with the Founders’ Award for their dedicated service over many years.

In his closing remarks at the program’s virtual 25th celebration, Bagatta thanked “all those people who had their fingerprints on history and didn’t know it.”

The Federation is honored to be part of a team that created a first-of-its-kind program that continues to generate ripples of life across the state and country.

Women’s Lives Transformed Through Ground-Breaking Program

Real Alternatives mother and childBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

The young woman stands at a crossroads between compassion and cold-heartedness. Family and friends have abandoned her, believing that her pregnancy is a problem to “be gotten rid of.” And yet, a caring stranger is willing to support both the woman and her baby, equipping her with the tools that will help her succeed at motherhood, college, relationships, and the rest of the elements of her life.

The support system she finds at Pennsylvania’s Alternatives to Abortion program is kind-hearted, clear-thinking, and loving. The program is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc. and, over the past two decades, has helped more than 200,000 women and their families to find solace, hope, and encouragement for the future.

As writer Frederica Matthews-Green stated so eloquently, “They (Women have) said if I’d only had one person to stand by me, and it could have been a stranger, but they’d say I needed somebody to be a sister to me, I needed someone to be a friend . . . I would have had that baby. And, that’s what you do in maternity homes and crisis pregnancy centers and in offering adoption services. You are that friend . . .”

The statewide network of nearly 100 non-profit agencies and close to 350 counselors reaches out to women of all backgrounds and walks of life with services that are 100 percent free. The success stories are inspiring…women finishing their GED’s and obtaining gainful employment…women leaving dangerous abusive relationships…women empowered to become effective decision-makers for themselves and their families.

As Kellyanne Conway, now a counselor to the President, once said, “Your trophy does not sit on a shelf . . .the trophy for your hard work plays on a swing, moves a tassel during a graduation ceremony, and yes even one day experiences the joy of motherhood.”

One incredible aspect to Real Alternatives is the cost savings it provides for taxpayers. For instance, in fiscal year 2015-16, the taxpayer savings amounted to an estimated $317 million because more than 15,000 clients were receiving proper prenatal care. Add to that a tax savings of $106 million because of clients ensuring that their children received proper immunizations.

Pennsylvania’s abortion totals are now at the lowest level recorded since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion on demand. Part of that success story has to be attributed to the milestones achieved by Real Alternatives.

The award-winning program has had a ripple effect throughout the country. As Real Alternatives President & CEO Kevin Bagatta stated, “If it wasn’t for the keystone state – 12 states wouldn’t have programs helping women and saving babies.”

As Governor of Indiana, current Vice President Mike Pence had this to say about Real Alternatives’ impact on the Hoosier state: “Real Alternatives provides positive, life-affirming services for Hoosier women and families. It is important to not only ensure that pregnant women receive proper prenatal care, but also the emotional and physical support they need for a healthy pregnancy. Real Alternatives helps ensure that women in need are connected with all the community and social services resources available to them to support them both during and after their pregnancy.”

Real Alternatives provides an important safety net to women and their families as they face the challenge of an unexpected pregnancy. Born in the Keystone State, it is an idea which should bloom and flourish throughout the U.S., according to a bipartisan group of Pennsylvania leaders.

“Hopefully, one day, there will be programs like Real Alternatives helping women and their children in all fifty states,” said Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati.

“There are many important lines in the state budget. But there are not many lines that you can point to and say that every dollar we put into the program is saving lives. Real Alternatives and the work you do is important, and we are saving lives.”

For more information about Real Alternatives’ life-saving and life-changing program, visit .

Do You Know How Many Babies from Your County Were Aborted?

The annual Pennsylvania Department of Health report about abortion statistics may look like just a bunch of numbers to some people, but to those of us who are pro-life, each number represents an innocent life lost to abortion.

In 2014, Pennsylvania lost 18 more babies to abortion than it did in 2013, according to the report. That’s a 0.1-percent increase – a tiny number to statisticians; but to us, it’s almost a whole kindergarten class of children who were denied their right to life.

The state statistics show 32,126 abortions occurred in the Keystone State in 2014. The vast majority of the abortions occurred in four counties: Allegheny, Dauphin, Northampton, and Philadelphia.

But every county lost babies to abortion in 2014. Whether you live in a big city or in the backwoods, your neighborhood is missing babies because their moms had abortions. Below are the numbers of abortions reported, based on the county where the woman lives:


PAabtn2PAabtn3Click here to find the full state abortion report for 2014.

The good news is that the 2014 total represents a 51.2 percent decrease from the record high number of 65,777 in 1980. The dramatic decrease in abortions over the past few decades can be attributed to a number of factors, including protective laws such as the Abortion Control Act, which provides for informed consent, parental consent, and 24-hour waiting periods for abortion.

Much work still remains. Please consider getting involved with one of our pro-life chapters in a county near you. You could help save a baby’s life. Click here to find a chapter in your area.

Report: 18 More Babies Die in Abortions in 2014; 32,126 Total

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Abortions increased slightly statewide in Pennsylvania in 2014, according to figures released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“Even a slight increase in the abortion totals is troubling,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the state affiliate of National Right to Life. “Eighteen more preborn children lost their lives to abortion in 2014, compared with the previous year. That’s nearly the equivalent of one kindergarten class,” said Gallagher.FIG6

The DOH statistics show 32,126 abortions occurred in the Keystone State in 2014. The vast majority of the abortions occurred in four counties: Allegheny, Dauphin, Northampton, and Philadelphia.

Still, the 2014 total represents a 51.2 percent decrease from the record high number of 65,777 in 1980. The dramatic decrease in abortions over the past few decades can be attributed to a number of factors, including protective laws such as the Abortion Control Act, which provides for informed consent, parental consent, and 24-hour waiting periods for abortion.

The closing of abortion centers, the advent of 4D ultrasound technology, and the rise of social media have also had an effect in lowering abortion totals over the last decade.

“The abortion rate in Pennsylvania would also be much higher were it not for the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc. ( ),” Gallagher added. “This ground-breaking program provides women with comprehensive counseling and material aid so that women are fully supported during their pregnancies.

“Real Alternatives centers, along with other pro-life pregnancy help centers throughout the Commonwealth, are offering a much-needed lifeline to women and their families. Women can receive everything from diapers to day care referrals, and from mentoring to maternity clothes, thanks to these incredible centers,” Gallagher said.

Why Does Society Push Abortion on Women in Crisis?

One of the things that compelled me to work in the pro-life movement was when I began to realize that abortion isn’t a choice that most women want to make.

Abortion is sold as the solution to a pregnant woman in crisis. If she is poor or abused, if Sadwomanshe lacks support from her partner or family, if she is still in school, our society tells her she should have an abortion. Many times, it’s the only “choice” she is offered.

Our sister affiliate, Texas Right to Life, recently wrote about the issue for National Right to Life News Today:

Pregnancy magnifies these tragedies in the woman’s life, and the natural conclusion for many is that by eliminating the preborn child, the crisis will go away. In reality, the crisis remains without the child who seems to be exacerbating her ordeal. (Alithea Williams, a pregnancy center volunteer) shares the story of a woman who was utterly under the control of her child’s father. He had the power to have her deported or ejected penniless onto the streets. “She was completely dependent on him and he was physically and emotionally abusive,” the volunteer shared.
But forcing the woman to abort her child proved to be an effortless endeavor for the abusive man; he took her from the pregnancy center to the abortion mill, and the child was dead within hours of their encounter.
Abortion is portrayed as a woman’s right – an inviolable badge of her autonomy and freedom. And yet, every day countless women are forced and coerced into unwanted abortions, and the abortionists who operate under the auspices of “women’s rights” do absolutely nothing to counteract these disasters. “Silent complicity with abusive boyfriends is not what feminism has fought for,” said the volunteer.

A few weeks ago, I read about abortion advocates pushing the U.S. to provide abortions for the girls victimized by Boko Haram. As I read the reports, I kept wondering, is abortion really the best we can offer these victims? The more stories I read, the more women I talk with, the more I feel heartbroken that abortion is often the only solution our society offers pregnant women in crisis.

Thankfully, pregnancy resource centers are working hard to change that by helping both mom and baby through the crisis. They provide free pregnancy and parenting support, options counseling and more. If someone you know is pregnant and needs help, click here to find free, confidential, caring support.

It’s time that we remind our society: Why can’t we love them both?

Check Out New Edition of Our Pennsylvania Pro-Life Newspaper

It’s here! The Summer 2015 issue of our LifeLines newspaper is hot off the presses.

LifeLinesSummer2015deskphotoOur team puts a lot of effort into every issue of LifeLines, and this summer’s edition is no exception. In this issue:

  • The Fight for Life – and Against Assisted Suicide in Pennsylvania
  • State Government Website Linked Women to Pro-Abortion Group
  • First-place student essays from this year’s Pennsylvania Pro-Life Essay Contest
  • Healing programs for women and men who have been involved in abortions
  • ANNOUNCING: Our 2015 Celebrate Life Banquet speakers – Don’t miss this special event!
  • Real Alternatives celebrates 20 years of helping Pennsylvania moms and babies
  • And more …

Click here to read our LifeLines Summer 2015 issue online. We hope you enjoy it!

Celebrating an F on Pennsylvania’s Report Card

Every year, the radical pro-abortion group NARAL gives out grades based on state laws related to abortion.This year, Pennsylvania got an F on its report card.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Choose Life!Women in Pennsylvania must be offered accurate information about the abortion procedure, its risks and alternatives before having an abortion.
  • Our legislature provides money for our state’s innovative Alternatives to Abortion program administered by Real Alternatives, which ensures that pregnant and parenting moms don’t feel like abortion is their only option. This funding goes to pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and other social service organizations that offer women physical and emotional support while they are pregnant and parenting.
  • Young women under age 18 must have a parent’s consent before having an abortion.
  • Our state holds abortion centers accountable for meeting basic health and safety standards in their facilities.
  • Abortions are not allowed after a baby is viable outside the womb.

You can see their full list of reasons for our grade on NARAL’s website.

Pennsylvania’s report card is a reason to celebrate. Pro-abortion groups like NARAL are feeling afraid because of these basic, common sense provisions in our state. It’s evidence that we are making a difference. That’s why they gave us an F.

Abortions in Pennsylvania dropped to a historic low in 2013, and more women are being empowered with the resources to choose life for their babies. Please help us keep Pennsylvania a strong leader in the fight to protect babies and their moms from the tragedy of abortion. Click here to find out about how you can get involved.

Abortions Drop to All-Time Low in Pennsylvania in 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Abortions have dropped to an all-time low in Pennsylvania, according to 2013 abortion statistics released Wednesday by the state Department of Health.

Choose Life!“As abortion centers close and more life-affirming information and resources become available, more women are being empowered to choose life,” said Ms. Micaiah Bilger, education director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.

In 2013, the number of abortions in Pennsylvania dropped by 7 percent to 32,108, according to the report. The closure of abortion facilities, the assistance offered by pregnancy resource centers and state-of-the-art technology are all playing a role in the decrease in abortion totals in the Commonwealth.

“Modern technology is making it easier to see the value of life in the womb and the tragedy of abortion,” Bilger said. “Ultrasounds allow parents to see their baby smiling or sucking his or her thumb, and a new study from the University of Florida showed that preborn babies can learn nursery rhymes in the womb.”

Tragically, however, more women are being harmed by abortions in our state. In 2013, abortion complications rose by almost 22 percent, according to the report.

“Women deserve to know the risks of abortion and their alternatives,” Bilger said. “Thanks to Pennsylvania pregnancy resources centers and our state Alternatives to Abortion program administered by Real Alternatives, Inc., more pregnant and parenting moms have access to this information and support.”

Real Alternatives offers free, confidential caring pregnancy services including pregnancy testing, temporary shelter, diapers and other baby supplies, food and shelter assistance referrals, counseling, and more. Learn more at

“This is key to ensuring that pregnant and parenting women have access to the support that they and their families deserve,” Bilger said. “We will continue to work so that every woman and her preborn child are protected and valued under the law.”

Read the full 2013 Pennsylvania Abortion Statistics report.

Pregnancy Resources Free Women from Pressure to Abort

An 18-year-old woman found herself all alone when she discovered that she was pregnant.

She was estranged from her mother, and the boyfriend who she was living with told her that she had to either move out or have an abortion.Choose Life!

Who could she turn to?

Fortunately, someone directed the young woman to a pregnancy resource center where, for the first time, someone actually listened to what she wanted. She felt encouraged, and the volunteers helped her to reconcile with her mother. Through the pregnancy center, the young woman received the resources and support that no one else was giving her.

She is just one of the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania women who found help at a pregnancy resource center.

Here in Pennsylvania, we recognize the critical need to provide support for pregnant and new moms so they don’t feel like abortion is their only choice. Real Alternatives, the state alternatives to abortion program, believes the answer to a crisis pregnancy is not to get rid of the baby but to get rid of the crisis.

“If the best we can do in this society is offer a woman in a crisis pregnancy an abortion, we have ceased to become the greatest nation on earth,” said Kevin Bagatta, the president and CEO of Real Alternatives.

Every year, Real Alternatives centers help more and more women and their families. Last year, 19,325 women were provided comprehensive free, caring and compassionate pregnancy and parenting services, according to a press release from the organization.

Their services are very much needed. Studies have found that more than half of all abortion-minded women are being pressured into making the decision. Pregnancy centers offer support to women so they don’t feel trapped into having an abortion.

Women and their babies deserve better. If you or someone you know is pregnant and needs help, click here to find pregnancy resources near you.

PA Abortion Rate Down 5 Percent in 2012 – Good News for Women, Babies

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania’s abortion rate is on the decline—and that’s good news for women and their families, according to the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the state’s largest single-issue pro-life organization.

“Fewer unborn children are losing their lives to abortion, and more women are being ultrasoundempowered to make life-affirming decisions for themselves and their families,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.

“Social media and 4D ultrasound are providing a window to the womb, showing the humanity of the unborn child. The Internet has also proven to be highly effective in linking pregnant women to the resources and comprehensive support they and their babies need. Technology is saving the day—and it’s saving unborn children and their mothers from the harm of abortion,” Gallagher added.

Statistics released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Friday show that abortions declined 4.8 percent in 2012. The closure of abortion facilities, the assistance offered by pregnancy help centers and state-of-the-art technology are all playing a role in the decrease in abortion totals in the Commonwealth.

“We know that Pennsylvania’s abortion rate would be much higher were it not for the state’s groundbreaking Alternatives to Abortion program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc. Real Alternatives centers, coupled with other pregnancy resource centers around the state, offer everything from diapers to day care referrals, counseling to classes in parenting and life skills, to assist pregnant women,” Gallagher added.

“No pregnant woman should feel as if she is alone. Thanks to Pennsylvania’s innovative programs and policies, women have somewhere and someone to turn to when faced with unexpected pregnancies. As a result, they can experience the unexpected joys and blessings that babies bring,” Gallagher added.

To view the full report, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation is a grassroots right-to-life organization with members statewide. As the state affiliate of National Right to Life, PPLF is committed to promoting the dignity and value of human life from conception to natural death and to restoring legal protection for preborn children.