For more than half a century, pro-life pregnancy help organizations have been serving women facing unexpected pregnancies with free, compassionate support.
Now, following the reversal of Roe v. Wade in June, the work of pregnancy help organizations is expected to increase. In anticipation of that, the state of Indiana has sent an extra $2 million to Indiana’s Pregnancy & Parenting Support Program, an initiative first signed into law by Governor Mike Pence in 2014 to support the work of pregnancy help organizations.
Through this initiative, the Indiana State Health Department hires Real Alternatives, a privatized social services program, to serve women and families across the state using federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds. Since the program began nearly eight years ago, it has served more than 93,100 Hoosier women.
Currently, there are six Real Alternatives providers at 22 locations throughout the state. From postpartum depression to breastfeeding support to essential material needs, the centers meet the range of needs that arise before, during, and after childbirth.
“From Fort Wayne to Evansville and everywhere in between, the Real Alternatives program has helped nearly 100,000 Hoosier women since 2014,” said Sen. Liz Brown (R-District 15). “Real Alternatives supports community services already in place so that healthy babies are born to empowered moms with the goal of enabling strong families. A network of support around these women and children benefits all Hoosiers and makes Indiana a better place to raise a family.”
Notably, the program is designed to serve moms from the beginning of pregnancy through the baby’s first year of life.
“One of the most significant impacts of the Real Alternatives program is that both mother and baby benefit from the program,” said Representative Peggy Mayfield (R-District 60). “From the moment that a mother learns she is pregnant through the baby’s first year, Real Alternatives walks alongside the family as they reach each milestone together, helping ensure that the family is prepared to thrive as they move forward.”
The program is funded on a fee-for-service basis, meaning that Indiana only pays for services once they are performed. Kevin Bagatta, president and CEO of Real Alternatives, says this incentivizes performance: The more services a center provides, the more the location is reimbursed for these services.
“The service providers have really embraced what they can do with the additional resources,” said Bagatta. “These centers hire more counselors and they open more sites so they can see more women; they earn more money, and then they pour it back into the mission.”
This incentive-based funding is notably different from grant-based funding, which provides funds up front, regardless of the number of women served.
Bagatta says that Indiana’s use of the Real Alternatives program should serve as a “model to the nation” in making abortion unthinkable.
“I cannot commend the Indiana legislature and the governor more for passing a bill that created a comprehensive safety net for pregnant women,” Bagatta said. “I look to Indiana to be a model to the nation on how citizens can reach out and help a woman in a dire situation.”
In 2021, 8,414 abortions were reported to the Indiana Department of Health. With the enactment of Senate Bill 1 this summer, a majority of abortions performed in Indiana are expected to halt.
Pregnancy help organizations served women and children before Roe v. Wade, and they continued to serve women across the decision’s nearly 50-year span. In the wake of the decision’s overturning, Indiana is ensuring these organizations will continue serving women for years to come.