Bagatta told CNA that research done in the 1980s found that about 80% of surveyed women who had procured an abortion said that they would not have gone through with the procedure if just one person had taken the time to help them.
Today, Real Alternatives runs the Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Michigan programs from their base in Harrisburg. They helped to start a similar program in Texas.
In 2013, the Michigan Catholic Conference asked Real Alternatives to help to explain the program to then-Governor Rick Snyder, who put money in the budget to start the state's program.
Catholic Charities affiliates in the various states are staffed with licensed social workers and trained counselors.
Under the George W. Bush administration, the program was accepted as meeting the requirements to use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) money from the federal government, which states may use as they see fit. This means many of the state programs are funded with federal dollars; Pennsylvania's program, like Michigan's, also is funded by some state revenue. Usually the program is accepted in a state with a pro-life governor, Bagatta said.
"Every state gets TANF money. So if you're a pro-life governor, you can have this program and use your TANF money to do a program like [this]," he explained.
Catholic Charities affiliates are able to dedicate staff specifically for this program as a result of the funding received, Bagatta said, and the funding model provides an incentive for the centers to serve more clients and open specific pregnancy resource programs.
David Maluchnik, communications vice president for the MCC, reiterated in August that Real Alternatives provides needed care for women who would otherwise choose abortion.
"[The program] not only provides support and care, it provides formula and [referrals for] pre- and post-natal meds; it gets clothing and shelter to mom and baby where there may otherwise be none; it helps with parenting tips when there's no one to talk to; it offsets threats to infant mortality and gives young children and mothers a healthy start and a brighter future."
"In the end, pulling the rug from under low-income women and her unborn or infant child at a time when they're most vulnerable would constitute a heartless, calculated political maneuver," he said.