A nonprofit organization that provides human support services throughout Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan, Real Alternatives maintains a pro-life mission and assists women in navigating unplanned pregnancies. Real Alternatives’ unique approach utilizes service providers and a network of existing community agencies.
In Pennsylvania alone, a 95-strong service provider center network encompasses pregnancy support centers, maternity homes, social services providers, and adoption agencies. The steps involved in becoming part of the quality-focused network are stringent and include a host of preliminary documentation that includes verified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit status, a pro-life mission, and at least one year of experience in offering abortion service alternatives.
Among the other requirements, providers cannot charge eligible clients a fee and cannot discriminate. They agree that all eligible clients will be served, regardless of their English proficiency level. Once the preliminary requirements are met, further documentation, such as Corporate Articles of Incorporation, are submitted and a further review of a potential service provider’s capacity to fulfill the overarching mandate is performed.
After review of corporation documents, a site inspection occurs to ensure clients will be served in a safe and comfortable office.
Since its establishment in the 1990s, Real Alternatives has offered expectant and new mothers access to free counseling and advice through its service provider network and website. Beyond pregnancy support, Real Alternatives provides information about sexually transmitted diseases such as genital herpes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, genital herpes affects approximately one-sixth of people between the ages of 14 and 49 in the United States. An incurable viral infection, genital herpes causes sores and blisters on and around the genitals. Many patients also experience unpleasant tingling sensations in the buttocks, legs, and genitals.
Though the sores typically disappear within three weeks, the virus that causes them stays with the patient for life and is often passed through sexual contact. Doctors can provide several antiviral treatments to control the symptoms of genital herpes.
Women should understand that they can pass the condition to their babies, which can cause complications. However, doctors can take steps to prevent transmission in utero.
Launched in 1996 through a state-sponsored initiative to lower abortion rates, Real Alternatives originally served women through 72 centers across Pennsylvania.