Pregnancy help groups not giving up after pro-abortion administration pulls funding

Pregnancy help groups not giving up after pro-abortion administration pulls funding ( Anna Hecker/Unsplash)

It’s been more than four months since Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro cut funding to Real Alternatives, a pregnancy support service that funds more than 80 pregnancy centers in the state.

The official cut takes place at the start of the new year.

Since then, Real Alternatives has become a household name in Pennsylvania as ads increase on TV, radio, and social media.

“It’s always been the people’s program,” said Kevin Bagatta, president and CEO of Real Alternatives.

Bagatta added that the seven million dollars lost by Shapiro’s decision “do not belong to Shapiro.”

Bagatta also said he is not giving up.

The program has been busy spreading the word to donors informing them help is needed to fuel the centers impacted.

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The current need is four million dollars, he said, to finish out the fiscal year. If 100,000 individuals give a one-time gift of $40, those needs will be met, he said. 

Bagatta said it costs $575 to serve one woman and her child from conception to 12 months, and he believes pro-life Pennsylvanians will meet the need.

“We need at least $500,000 per month coming in,” Bagatta said, noting the program needs to survive the first six months.  

Shapiro has made an RFA, or Request for Application, regarding the money removed from Real Alternatives, Bagatta said, that means, “Our funding will go to Planned Parenthood.”  

Real Alternatives has a plan for a “robust advertising campaign,” he said in order to compete with something bigger than Planned Parenthood. 

“Fifty-five percent of abortions are RU486,” said Bagatta. “The abortion clinic is the mailbox.”

One of the centers most highly impacted by the funding cut is A Woman’s Concern in Lancaster. The center receives $170,000 through Real Alternatives, said Executive Director Jill Hartman.

The timing of the Shapiro decision this past August was not ideal for the center, Hartman said. An addition was being made to their building and a new Planned Parenthood just moved down the road. 

“Our model had to change,” Hartman said.

Programs needed to shift, and other expenses needed to be cut.

“It was daunting,” she said.

This past fall, the center held its annual gala and Hartman gave her plea – one that was even more passionate than ever before.

Hartman told the attendees about the Real Alternatives program and how it had been such a blessing to centers like hers for 30 years. A video clip was shown of clients writing letters to advocates thanking them for their support with a backdrop of a family dinner table. The advocates and clients gathered around the table in the video – breaking bread and sharing a meal as a family.

“We raised more than normal” at the gala, Hartman said, “because we told donors the impact is real. We know we are relevant in our community. “

Hartman said as the bids came in that evening, “I stood there with tears running down my face.”

And Hartman said she, like Bagatta, refuses to give up.

“Governor Shapiro will not stop until pregnancy centers do not exist,” she said. “And we are not going to exist if we don’t have a voice to share.”

Tweet This: Pa. Gov. Josh Shapiro made a Request for Application for the money taken from Real Alternatives to go to Planned Parenthood.

Additionally, Hartman, along with those leading other Real Alternatives Centers, will not be silenced, she said.

Hartman is one of the founding members of the Pennsylvania Pregnancy Wellness Collaborative (PPWC), which is working to educate centers on current Pennsylvania legislation and attempts by the administration to close centers’ doors. The PPWC is a voice to the legislators as well in hopes to create an understanding that pregnancy centers are not “fake clinics.”

“We’re talking with (Republican) legislators regularly so they can defend us, and we are following their recommendations and best practices,” Hartman said.

“This money funded a strong educational program,” said Hartman. The educational program at the Lancaster Center is one that Hatman said “is not just saving lives but also transforming lives.”

Hartman said her board of directors is very supportive and proactive in finding other ways to keep the center functioning. A Woman’s Concern Pregnancy Center made sure a reserve was set aside more than six years ago in preparation for such a cut from the Democrat-run state. 

“I’m not ready to be a victim here,” Hartman said, “I refuse to be a victim.”

These vicious attempts by the left-wing leaders in Pennsylvania can only be fought with one weapon.

We need support,” Bagatta said. “Regardless of whether anyone donates for us or not, I ask that you please pray for us.”

The Real Alternatives motto is “empowering women for life.” Bagatta said the “other motto” is “Love is a verb.”

Advocates who love every client walking into their centers are keeping the centers alive. They are showing the love of God and His will for Real Alternatives is what matters. 

“If this works out, then this is where God wants us,” Bagatta said, noting that it is possible to continue forward without any government assistance. A benefit to not receiving government moneys means the Gospel can be shared more freely.

“We would no longer have to follow the faith-based initiative executive order,” Bagatta said. The executive order mandates religious and spiritual counseling and material be kept separate from government-funded counseling and material. This means that counselors and advocates at centers affiliated with Real Alternatives would be able to openly pray with clients and talk to them about faith.

“Maybe this is where God is leading us,” he said. 

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