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Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

Support for Women: The Antidote to Abortion

Maria V. Gallagher

Legislative Director

Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation  |  30 November 2023

I recently downloaded a photo onto my phone showing a precious baby smiling for the camera, eyes bright with enthusiasm. This is a baby whose mother was helped by Pennsylvania’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc.


The Threat

Pennsylvania Democrat Governor Josh Shapiro has threatened to do away with the program, which has served more than 350,000 women over nearly 30 years. That’s three decades’ worth of moms and their babies, getting the comprehensive support they need.


While the Governor claims that he is for “choice,” cancellation of the program would lead many women to feel as if they have no choice but abortion. This prediction is supported by research which shows that, of women who had abortions and who regretted them, 85 percent said they would have chosen life for their children if just one person had been supportive of their pregnancy—just one!


That one person is often at a pregnancy resource center, maternity home, or adoption agency—the very organizations the Governor wants to defund. It is alarming and cruel to rip apart the safety net for these women who desperately need the services the Pennsylvania program provides.


Public Support High for Pregnancy Resource Centers

Interestingly enough, a recent Franklin & Marshall poll showed an impressive 56 percent of the Pennsylvanians surveyed support government funding for pregnancy centers. Support for pregnant women is popular—and is the antidote to the tragedy and trauma of abortion.


Chances are good you know of someone who has been assisted by the caring, compassionate counselors at a pregnancy resource center.


This past fall, an estimated 6,000 Pennsylvanians gathered at the Capitol in Harrisburg for the Pennsylvania March for Life. A number of attendees visited their lawmakers’ offices to plead the case for Real Alternatives. It is likely that PA’s abortion totals will climb if the state funding for the program does not materialize.


A Case in Point

Recently a woman I will call Mia called our office, desperate for help. Her parents were pressuring her to have an abortion—to the point where they said if she did not abort her preborn child, they would not pay her rent. In short order, I was able to arrange for her rent to be paid and for her to visit a local pregnancy center, where she could receive both emotional and material support. Mia—who was already caring for one child in diapers—would have had no place to go, had a pregnancy resource center not been nearby.


Mia is just one example of the women who are served by pregnancy care centers, which offer everything from maternity clothes to mentoring, and from layettes to life skill classes. Without these centers, an important lifeline for women and their families would disappear. Supporting pregnancy centers is not just pro-baby—it’s pro-woman as well. 


A Challenge to the Governor

I wish I had a chance to show the Governor the photo of that sweet baby that I keep on my phone. Could he look at that incredible face and still seek to deny the child’s mother the assistance she needed at a challenging moment in her life?


A pregnancy center director I know has issued a challenge to the Governor to visit her facility. There, he would see first-hand the amazing work of her talented staff and volunteers. Miracles happen at her Lancaster center every day, as women receive the life-affirming help they need to give birth to and care for their babies.


A Challenge for You

Thousands of women are being put at grave risk by the Governor’s plan to cancel Real Alternatives’ contract. To send an immediate message to your state lawmakers to save this critical program, please visit Thousands of people across PA have messaged legislators already, telling them that pregnancy centers are a crucial part of the Keystone State’s safety net. We need your voice now more than ever to defend the most vulnerable in our Commonwealth. Without the life-saving, life-changing assistance that Real Alternatives provides, pregnant women in PA could find themselves alone and abandoned. 


Real Alternatives at a Glance:*

  • Providing meaningful life-affirming pregnancy and parenting support services requires that individuals are available to listen to the concerns of women in crisis and to provide them with non-judgmental support. Real Alternatives utilizes a network of existing community agencies, known as service providers, to accomplish these goals.

  • The 83 service provider centers in Pennsylvania consist of 37 social service agencies, 31 pregnancy support centers, 3 adoption agencies, and 12 maternity homes located throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

  • The quality of the service provided to women is of utmost importance to Real Alternatives.



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