Calendar October 29, 2018 15:21

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The Creation of Ultrasound Technology

 

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Dedicated to assisting women throughout Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana who are experiencing crisis pregnancies, Real Alternatives provides much-needed counseling, material support, and parenting education to its clients, free of charge. Real Alternatives additionally supplies information designed to educate the public about the medical risks of abortion, and about the scientific basis for a life-affirming point of view.

Ultrasound technology, invented more than half a century ago, has become more and more accurate at delineating the development of babies before birth. The technique uses high-frequency sound waves, harmlessly bounced back from the physical body of the unborn child, to create black-and-white images of their subject.

In Glasgow, Scotland, Tom Brown, Ian Donald, and John McVicar worked together to create the first clinical uses for ultrasound technology, which they debuted in 1956. Brown was an engineer, Donald an obstetrician, and McVicar a gynecological registrar. They grounded their technology in a previous system used to pinpoint flaws in the design of naval vessels. In fact, Donald gained his early observations on the capabilities of echo-sounding technologies from his experiences in the Royal Air Force during World War II.

Donald and his coauthors published an article on their work in a 1958 issue of the journal The Lancet. “Investigation of Abdominal Masses by Pulsed Ultrasound” offered the first ultrasound images showing fetal development, and went on to achieve landmark status in the medical profession.

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Calendar October 22, 2018 14:03

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Helping Pregnant Women in Crisis through Real Alternatives

Real Alternatives maintains a range of local crisis pregnancy and counseling centers in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana. To date, hundreds of thousands of women have benefited from the free services provided by Real Alternatives; in one recent year alone, some 25,000 women received these services. The nonprofit offers a number of ways for interested parties to contribute to its mission.

Making a tax-deductible donation helps Real Alternatives bring its program to other states. These new programs fund counseling sessions focused on abortion alternatives for women in crisis, support parenting education classes, as well as connections to adoption providers and social services. Donors should know that theses programs also provide housing, clothing, food, and other necessities for mother and child for up to a full year after a baby’s birth.

The nonprofit also encourages people to let friends and family know about its toll-free hotline, 1-888-LIFE-AID. Additionally, sharing the nonprofit’s “Miracle of Life” video, available at RealAlternatives.org, helps to educate the public about the neurological development and full humanity of babies before birth.

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Calendar October 22, 2018 13:57

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The Value of Compassionate Crisis Pregnancy Counseling

 

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As a partner to government social service agencies in three Midwestern states, Pennsylvania-based Real Alternatives provides women with free, nonjudgmental counseling, referrals, and information on alternatives to abortion. The nonprofit works from a core value of compassion for every woman who seeks its services. Its toll-free number, 1-888-LIFE-AID, connects women experiencing crisis pregnancies with trained counselors who have either undergone crisis pregnancies themselves or assisted others in the same circumstances.

Experts in the field of counseling note that emotional intelligence – and the empathy and compassion that tend to come with it – is an essential trait for any counselor to develop. Counselors who demonstrate compassion and empathy enable clients to tell their own stories, going the extra mile to share and affirm their feelings at every step along the way. The counselors’ responsiveness enables them to form a strong connection with their clients, who feel heard and respected. As a result, the counselors pave the way for the women to make decisions in their own best interests.

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Calendar October 22, 2018 13:46

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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.

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Calendar October 17, 2018 00:48

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Real Alternatives’ History of Offering Help and Hope

 

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Calendar October 17, 2018 00:21

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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.

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Calendar October 17, 2018 00:01

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Help in Saying No to Unwanted Sexual Experiences

Since 1996, Real Alternatives has sought to provide free, compassionate counseling and support to women going through crisis pregnancies. The organization offers a practical path to make it easier for women to choose life over abortion. In addition to its crisis pregnancy services, the organization supplies extensive information on making healthy lifestyle choices. Real Alternatives has dedicated a portion of its website to educating young people on how to deal with the pressure to become sexually active when they are not yet ready to do so.

Contrary to the messages found in much of today’s popular culture, not all teens are having sex. In 2007, slightly less than 50 percent of students in high school had had sexual intercourse. In 2017, that figure dropped to about 40 percent. These numbers are significantly lower than the 54 percent who reported having had sex in 1991. However, studies show that more than half of teenage boys and close to three-fourths of girls reported wishing they had waited longer before taking the serious step of having sex.

The counselors at Real Alternatives have provided a number of practice conversations that young people can have if they feel pressured to have sex. Find more tips on the organization’s website, RealAlternatives.org.

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Calendar October 14, 2018 18:36

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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.

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Calendar October 14, 2018 18:28

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Calendar October 14, 2018 18:27

Polls Show Many Americans Support Life-Affirming Services

 

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A January 2018 Marist Poll found that 56% of Americans consider abortion to be morally wrong. According to the Marist Poll, more Americans than not (more than 20%) think that abortion does a woman more harm than good, in the long run. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 48 percent of Americans believe that abortion is morally wrong; a 2017 Pew poll found that 44 percent of Americans believe having an abortion is morally wrong.

The thoughts and beliefs reflected in these polls, as well as modern medical advances that make it difficult to deny the humanity of an unborn child, have been consistently moving in support of life. Women are seeking life-affirming options and more and more women are choosing not to abort. Fourteen states in America now fund programs to provide alternatives to abortion to women in unexpected pregnancies. Women in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan in need of pregnancy support can call Real Alternatives at 1-888-LIFE-AID.

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Calendar October 14, 2018 18:21

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Babies Perceive Music and Language while in the Womb

Real Alternatives contracts with Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana as a nonprofit provider of crisis pregnancy counseling, adoption referrals, and supportive social services. As part of its commitment to extending life-affirming support to pregnant women, the organization provides access to parenting classes and information on the development of babies before birth.

Babies in utero have highly sophisticated nervous systems, and their rapidly growing brains respond to the sounds of music and language. In fact, researchers have demonstrated the importance of hearing sound for the development of an unborn baby’s ability to think and reason.

Many experts believe that by about 23 weeks, an unborn baby can perceive sound. Moreover, research shows that the portions of the brain responsible for processing sounds are fully functioning by the last trimester.

Unborn babies can detect the rhythms of both music and human speech. Scientists have found that after birth, babies retain memories of the sounds they heard in the womb. One study, conducted in the 1980s, showed that newborns seem to be already familiar with the sounds of their parents’ native language.

Beyond promoting the development of the baby’s brain, reading aloud and listening to music help a mother to feel more relaxed, as does talking to her unborn baby. In this relaxed state, the mother’s body releases happiness-inducing chemicals into her baby’s bloodstream.

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Calendar October 9, 2018 12:22

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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.

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Calendar October 9, 2018 12:04

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The Problem of Forced Abortion around the World

Real Alternatives provides free counseling and crisis-related pregnancy services in Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Real Alternatives focuses on empowering women by providing comprehensive information on adoption, as well as family support services should they choose to raise their babies themselves.

While American law is clear that no one can force any woman - even if she is a minor - to have an abortion, in some countries, this right to personal autonomy is not respected.

In some provinces in China, for example, even after the 2015 government reforms toward a “two-child” rather than a “one-child” policy, some women can still be forced to undergo abortions. If a woman is found to be pregnant with a child in excess of the quota assigned to her, she may be required to terminate her pregnancy.

Since the 2015 shift in policy, a married couple may have up to two children. The Chinese government penalizes unmarried pregnant women through a “zero-child” policy.

Even in the United States, some family members continue to pressure pregnant women into abortions. Such pressure can take the form of manipulation of a woman’s feelings, threats to withhold financial or emotional support, and even physical violence. Real Alternatives encourages women in this situation to call its hotline, 1-888-LIFE-AID, which offers judgment-free, practical, and compassionate advice, counseling, and referral services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Calendar October 9, 2018 11:58

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Monogamy, Abstinence Can Keep You Safe from STDs

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Almost 20 million Americans are affected by an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) annually, according to the National Institutes of Health, and the number is rising, as more people engage in a risky sexual lifestyle by having more sexual partners over the course of their lives.

STDs often do not present symptoms, making it especially important for people who are sexually active and who have multiple partners to get tested regularly. Women, in particular, are less likely to experience symptoms. If left untreated, STDs can be passed to sexual partners and develop into serious health conditions such as AIDS. Medical professionals can treat many STDs effectively if they are detected early.

Behaviors such as sharing needles and living a risky sexual lifestyle can lead to the transmission of STDs. The only 100% way to ensure that you do not contract an STD is by abstaining from sex and/or by committing to a relationship where both partners are monogamous (choose one mate for life) and do not have an STD.

If you are sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship, you can still reduce your risk of getting sexually transmitted infections. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends reducing the number of sex partners and to get tested immediately for STIs.

If you are concerned about whether you have an STD, call 1-888-LIFE-AID to speak with a counselor who can provide more information and a referral for confidential testing. To find a STD testing center near you, go to https://gettested.cdc.gov/.

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Calendar October 2, 2018 17:07

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Pennsylvania Programs Offer Alternatives to Abortion

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through Real Alternatives provides women who are pregnant with a variety of free, caring, and confidential alternatives to abortion. The services offered by Real Alternatives and the state of Pennsylvania are available to any woman who is experiencing an unexpected pregnancy or who has an infant less than a year old.

The World Health Organization has stated that reproductive health is important for women. Pennsylvania Alternatives to Abortion Services provides many resources to improve reproductive health. The program is designed to support the well-being of the mother and baby.

Clients can receive free pregnancy tests, counseling, and referrals to other agencies for medical care and assistance with food, money, and baby supplies. With more than 90 centers throughout the state, trained counselors support mothers during pregnancy and afterward as they care for their children. They can help mothers find a place to live, figure out how to continue their education, and provide maternity and baby clothes, baby furniture, and baby food.

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Calendar October 2, 2018 16:50

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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.

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