Calendar December 10, 2018 20:06

Forced Abortions – Know Your Rights

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The nonprofit organization Real Alternatives provides life-affirming support services to women experiencing unexpected pregnancy. For women who feel pressured by their families, doctors, partners, or friends to have an abortion, Real Alternatives provides guidance in addressing the situation.

Importantly, women should not sign any document that serves as an agreement to have an abortion, or any certification that acknowledges such an agreement. It is unlawful for anyone to force women into signing a document or submitting to a medical procedure. If a doctor chooses to ignore your explicit refusal, you have the right to report him or her to the county courthouse and make a formal complaint.

If your family threatens to withdraw financial support, the state has the means to provide assistance with housing and finances during and after pregnancy. The state will also hold the father liable to support the child regardless of his inclination toward abortion.

For compassionate, nonjudgmental counseling and assistance, call Real Alternatives at (888) LIFE AID or visit www.realalternatives.org.

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Calendar December 10, 2018 19:57

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Real Alternatives Offers Classes on Pregnancy and Parenting

For more than 20 years, Real Alternatives has worked closely with a network of service providers, including pregnancy support centers, social service agencies, and maternity homes, to offer pre- and post-natal support to women. Through these service providers, Real Alternatives offers a range of core and support services including life-skills training and education to women experiencing unexpected pregnancies.

One-on-one sessions and group classes focused on pregnancy, parenting, and nutrition are available to women who participate in the Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Program. Counselors and mentors use educational materials such as books, brochures, videos, and fetal models to teach women about fetal development, nutritional requirements, and what to expect pre- and post-pregnancy. Women can also attend certified childbirth classes and take part in programs that help to relieve stress and encourage lifestyle changes to prevent unexpected pregnancy in the future.

Real Alternatives regularly reviews the classes and training administered by the service providers to ensure that the information imparted is accurate, safe, and remains consistent with the organization’s goal of promoting childbirth over abortion.

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Calendar December 5, 2018 18:44

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Real Alternatives’ Three-Part Vendor Service Provider Monitoring

 

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Real Alternatives has helped hundred of thousands of women battle with crises involving pregnancy, sexual health, and parenting. Real Alternatives coordinates with a network of service providers in Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania to ensure that they possess all the requirements, training, and experience to handle pro-life missions in their respective communities.

In addition to the preliminary evaluation necessary to sign on service providers, Real Alternatives also exercises an annual monitoring process which consists of three steps: corporate administration and program profile review; facility inspection; and reimbursement compliance review.

During the corporate administration and program profile review, Real Alternatives looks over all the outlined policies that the service providers agreed to since joining the program. The policies cover all areas pertaining to adoption, anti-discrimination, client confidentiality, English proficiency, sexual harassment, and spiritual issues. At the same time, Real Alternatives goes through a service provider’s training plan and materials, corporate documents, client services, and client-referral sources.

The facility inspection includes an assessment of both the physical site (counseling areas, waiting area, fire safety equipment, and provisions for disabled people), service website, and all the updated state background checks and clearances necessary to operate in the area.

The last step of the annual monitoring is the reimbursement compliance review, which involves spot-checking of the client files to ensure the accuracy of billing. Real Alternatives reimburses service providers with a fee based on the type of counseling, class, or mentoring that has been delivered to clients.

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Calendar November 28, 2018 15:03

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Real Alternatives Empowers Women to Choose Childbirth Over Abortion

Based in Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives is a nonprofit organization that provides pregnancy and support services to women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy. The counselors and staff at Real Alternatives Service Providers guide and engage both women in meaningful conversations that help them realize that abortion is not the only choice or solution.

Counselors from Real Alternatives Service Providers have cited stories of pregnant women who resort to abortion because they are pressured by their parents, partners, and friends that it’s the right and only decision to make based on the circumstances. Some women are young and reluctant to face motherhood, while others are frightened about bringing a child into the world alone while poor.

Counselors take the time to sit with these women to get a better understanding of their situation and empower them to choose childbirth over abortion. Once they get into the Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Program, they have access to regular counseling, mentoring, and classes to prepare them for motherhood. To ease some of their burdens, expectant mothers are also given financial assistance, temporary housing, food, baby clothes, and furniture.

Many of these women who felt confused, hopeless or forced to make an abortion decision but reached out to Real Alternatives instead have transformed their lives. They have mended their relationships with their families, found stable jobs, and gone back to school after choosing childbirth.

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Calendar November 28, 2018 14:47

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Real Alternatives Supports Women from Pregnancy to Post Childbirth

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Since being established in 1996, Real Alternatives has helped over 300,000 women in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan. Real Alternatives’ Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Program promotes childbirth in place of abortion and offers assistance not only during pregnancy but also after birth.

US citizens living in the three states who are pregnant are eligible to receive assistance. Expectant mothers are given access to education, mentoring, counseling, and classes that cover essential areas of parenting, such as breast-feeding, child care, nutrition, financial accountability, and many others.

Once the child is born, Real Alternatives extends its support to new moms by referring them to service providers that can supply food, baby clothing and furniture, medical care, temporary housing, and financial assistance. All expenses are covered, so that the mother can continue rearing her child with less burden and emotional stress. The support continues should the mother decide to go back to school or apply for a job.

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Calendar November 19, 2018 13:18

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Early Signs of Pregnancy Range from Physical to Emotional

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At Real Alternatives, trained counselors and staff understand that an unplanned or crisis pregnancy can present a woman with the most challenging circumstances of her life. The Pennsylvania-based nonprofit organization provides free, nonjudgmental counseling, parenting classes, and other services to women in three states in an effort to provide Real Alternatives to abortion.

Although the early signs of pregnancy can go undetected, there is a group of common symptoms indicating a woman may be pregnant.

A missed period is often the first signal that causes a woman concern about whether or not she is pregnant.

Morning sickness, the feeling of nausea that more than half of all women experience during their first trimester, can begin at about the sixth week of pregnancy. The nausea is often accompanied by vomiting. Morning sickness is actually misnamed, since it can occur at any time of day.

Tiredness and mood swings are also common early in pregnancy. This is due to the major hormonal changes taking place in the woman’s body that can exacerbate emotional reactions.

Tender or sore breasts are another early pregnancy symptom, as are increased visibility of the veins in the breasts and a darkening of the nipples.

Additional symptoms include more frequent urination, body temperature changes, elevated blood pressure, bloating, and breakouts.

While these symptoms can be stressful, they are not typically dangerous. An exception is when repeated vomiting results in malnutrition or an electrolyte imbalance.

Any woman who suspects she may be pregnant should reach out for medical care and, if she finds herself in distress, for compassionate counseling.

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Calendar November 19, 2018 13:09

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Real Alternatives Encourages Fathers in the Support Network


With offices in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan, Real Alternatives partners with state social service agencies to provide free counseling and support to women experiencing unexpected pregnancies. Real Alternatives has worked since the 1990s to offer a commodity often in short supply - compassionate, warm, personalized care delivered without judgment and with the goal of helping women choose life and become self-sufficient for the benefit of themselves and their babies.

The organization also encourages family members and loved ones of the woman experiencing the unexpected pregnancy to provide emotional and physical support to her. Among other things, it provides information on its website about how to better support a friend, daughter, or girlfriend as she struggles to cope with an unplanned pregnancy.

Information directed to male partners focuses on providing the same type of nonjudgmental advice that will help them to be better listeners and active participants in their girlfriends’ and children’s lives.

The biological father of the pre-born baby can be a much-needed anchor during this stressful time in his girlfriend’s life by simply allowing her to talk, helping her with practical needs such as rides to prenatal appointments, and participating in financial planning during the pregnancy and for the baby’s ongoing needs.

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Calendar November 13, 2018 15:02

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Beautiful Beginnings Helps Pregnant Women

 

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A Pennsylvania-based pregnancy support organization, Real Alternatives has served thousands of women through its pregnancy resource centers. Real Alternatives recently named Catholic Social Services as its Pennsylvania Service Provider of the Year for the fifth consecutive year. The annual honor recognizes the group that has assisted the highest number of pregnant women in the state.

As part of its service to women with unplanned or crisis pregnancies, Catholic Social Services operates Beautiful Beginnings, a program that has brought mobile pregnancy support services to women in Philadelphia and nearby counties. The program also focuses on supporting those becoming parents for the first time.

Beautiful Beginnings provides these new parents with resources ranging from seminars and workshops on parenting to free diapers. Parents can also take advantage of the program’s counseling services and make connections with other parents through events such as Parent Cafes.

For more information about Beautiful Beginnings and other programs offered by Catholic Social Services to support new mothers and fathers, visit cssphiladelphia.org/prenatal-and-parenting-programs/.

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Calendar November 9, 2018 00:16

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Kevin Bagatta's Pro-Life Journey

Real Alternatives operates pregnancy support services at centers across Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan, offering women the support and resources they need to choose life. Funded through several government programs, Real Alternatives has seen substantial decreases in abortion rates under the leadership of its president and CEO, Kevin Bagatta.

Born in Long Island, New York, Kevin Bagatta received an early introduction to the importance of choosing life. His handicap father and mother understood the ramifications of the Roe v. Wade court decision legalizing abortion, partly from seeing the results of the lack of appreciation for the sanctity of life in Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany disposed of lives, including the disabled, it deemed not worthy to live. His father had been exposed to Nazism firsthand while serving in the military during World War II.

After graduating from law school while living in Pennsylvania in the 1990s, Kevin Bagatta saw an advertisement for a job with a pro-life organization to direct a program funded by the government. He ended up taking the job, becoming a pioneer in the pro-life and women’s pregnancy support services movement. That led to the establishment of the organization Real Alternatives and his executive leadership of services funded by the Pennsylvania Alternative to Abortions Service Program.

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Calendar November 9, 2018 00:12

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Pennsylvania Alternatives to Abortion Provides Essential Support

 

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Real Alternatives provides options to women in unexpected pregnancies, along with support throughout the first year of their babies’ lives. In Pennsylvania, Real Alternatives has achieved a significant decrease in abortion rates through the state’s Alternatives to Abortion Program.

Created to provide women facing unplanned pregnancies with free life-affirming support services, Pennsylvania Alternatives to Abortion encompasses 89 centers throughout the state. These centers provide women with free pregnancy test kits, references to agencies that provide everything from food to medical care and financial assistance, counseling, classes on birth and parenting, and other services.

Most importantly, centers funded by the program offer support from people who care. A national poll indicated that over 80 percent of women who chose abortion would have made a different choice with support from even a single person. Experienced counselors at these pregnancy centers become that person for any woman who wants to choose life for her baby.

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Calendar November 8, 2018 23:55

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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.

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Calendar November 4, 2018 19:57

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Four Tips for Coping with An Unplanned Pregnancy

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An unplanned pregnancy can lead to stress and uncertainty; you may feel overwhelmed by the decisions you need to make and worry about the future. Taking the time to find healthy ways to cope with these emotions can help to build up your confidence and prepare you for this major change in your life. Here are four tips for coping with an unplanned pregnancy.

1. Seek support. Support from friends and family members will make it easier to cope with your pregnancy. Surround yourself with positive people, and avoid those who judge or criticize. You may find it helpful to meet with other women who are also learning to cope with an unintended pregnancy. It is beneficial to have a support network.

2. Look for resources. Many organizations provide resources for pregnant women who need help in continuing their education, affording life necessities, and preparing for parenting. Consult local nonprofit pro-life groups or blogs devoted to providing resources and information on pre-natal care and parenting. Some government-sponsored programs also offer resources and information.

3. Stay positive. You may feel apprehensive and worry about your ability to parent. Focusing on positive thoughts can help combat these misgivings and ease the stress of uncertainty. For example, try to imagine the joy of watching your child grow up, or watching him or her experience life’s firsts.

4. Don’t give up on your dreams. Refrain from equating motherhood with giving up on your dreams for the future. It may take you longer to achieve those dreams. There are resources available to assist and support you in completing your education, obtaining employment, reaching your goals and finding your dreams.

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Calendar October 29, 2018 15:52

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Real Alternatives Offers Empathetic Care to Pregnant Women

Real Alternatives works with women experiencing crisis pregnancies in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana. The nonprofit provides free counseling, adoption referrals, and other services, all delivered with empathy and without judgment, to provide women with options outside of abortion.

Recent years have seen a proliferation of research, in fields as diverse as neuroscience and social psychology, on the effects of empathy in professional-client relationships. Numerous studies have indicated the improvements in patient outcomes when doctors demonstrate empathy. For example, a 2014 article in the Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health stated that medical providers’ empathy toward patients resulted in greater trust and a better exchange of needed information.

The Association of American Medical Colleges has even listed the cultivation of empathy as a core portion of the professional curriculum it recommends for medical students. Social workers and those in other nonmedical helping professions also cite the ability to show empathy as an essential skill for constructive engagement with clients.

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Calendar October 29, 2018 15:26

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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.

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