We Protect Butterflies–Why Not Babies?

ButterflyBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I celebrated the first day of summer this year with a trip to a nearby butterfly garden. Entering that sacred space was a breathtakingly beautiful experience. I stood in awe as these elegant creatures fluttered above my head, then gracefully descended to a leaf, a flower, or a slice of pineapple. The intricacy of their design delighted my eyes and captivated my heart. As I was preparing to leave this lovely sanctuary, I noticed a sign which indicated that taking a butterfly out of this protective space was not permitted. A garden guide carefully checked our bags and clothes to make sure that we had no butterflies tagging along. At that moment, it struck me what care, concern, and compassion are shown to these delicate insects. How can it be that people universally recognize the beauty of butterflies–but not the human child cocooned in a mother’s womb? Why do so many invest so much time and energy in protecting butterflies, while many babies are unprotected, courtesy of the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Roe v. Wade? While gazing at a butterfly can be an awesome experience, the butterfly’s beauty pales in comparison to that of a baby. I hope to live to see the day when all babies are permitted a chance to live outside their mothers’ wombs–and to see the mysterious glamour of butterflies with their own eyes.

 

 

 

Father’s Day Reflections

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With Father’s Day approaching, I find myself reflecting on the lessons my father taught me…and not the lessons of how to fish, tie my shoe, ride a bike, or even drive…but lessons of how to be a man. How to stand up for what you believe in, how to admit when you are wrong (one I’m admittedly still working on), and how to stand up for those who can’t defend themselves, among many others.

It’s that last lesson—standing up for those who can’t defend themselves– that stands out for me the most.  Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest of four living siblings, but I have always felt I have an obligation to work toward making the world a better place, mainly by doing what I can to help those who need it most.

That is why I am pro-life—I believe that not just as a father, or even just as a man, but as a human being I have an obligation to defend pre-born babies who can’t defend themselves—we all do!

That is why I find the argument that I shouldn’t express my thoughts about the horror of abortion just because of my gender absolutely wrong.  I have never understood what my gender has to do with whether or not I can speak out against injustice.  Certainly it was not only slaves who spoke out against slavery…men joined women in speaking out for women’s suffrage, and I don’t have to be the victim of a crime to know that crime is wrong.  The morality, or immorality, of a statement (e.g. “all life deserves protecting”) is independent of the person who makes the statement.

So this Father’s Day, and every day, I encourage all fathers, indeed all humans, to stand up against injustice against the most vulnerable among us.  I guarantee you that leaving a legacy of a life-respecting society is better than any tie you can get your Dad this Father’s day!

Troubled Harrisburg Abortion Center Closed

Hillcrest closed sign 2017

Photo credit: Undefeated Courage

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

The sign on the door says it all—the troubled Hillcrest abortion facility in Harrisburg is closed until further notice.

The PA Department of Health ordered Hillcrest to suspend operations after a surprise inspection June 5th uncovered new safety violations.

“The department concluded that it was no longer safe for the facility to continue providing medical services to women,” said PA Health Department Secretary Karen Murphy

Several Pennsylvania state Senators recently sent a letter to the Secretary of the PA Department of Health, asking why the abortion center’s license had not been revoked.

The letter followed the release of a 44-page document noting the health and safety failures of the long-time abortion operation.

Violations included everything from failing to maintain proper medical credentials to maintaining supplies that were 13 years old. Hillcrest also performed a number of abortions without having a nurse present. In addition, staff members failed to undergo the criminal background checks mandated for seeing patients under 18 years old.

Hillcrest’s troubles date back at least six years, when the abortion outfit was first cited for safety failures. The abortion center has been cited four times since, with the latest report suggesting that the violations have become more egregious.

Pennsylvania passed a law in 2011 requiring abortion facilities to meet basic health and safety standards. The law was a response to the massive tragedy in West Philadelphia, where abortionist Kermit Gosnell was ultimately convicted of killing three full-term babies and causing the death of a female immigrant patient, Karnamaya Mongar.

 

Senators Demand Answers for Failed Inspection at Abortion Facility

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By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

gallagher@paprolife.org

A trio of Pennsylvania state Senators are asking why the license of a Pennsylvania abortion operation was not revoked, once serious health and safety violations were uncovered.

Senators Joe Scarnati, Bob Mensch, and John DiSanto have sent a letter to Health Department Secretary Karen Murphy which states, “The DOH inspection report portrays a facility which is clearly unsafe and unhealthy for both patients and staff alike. Given this, we would like an explanation as to why DOH did not immediately move to suspend or revoke Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center’s license upon finding such numerous egregious violations.”

State health officials have cited Hillcrest for the fourth time in six years for violating Pennsylvania law. The violations run the gamut, from failing to have proper medical credentials to performing abortions without a nurse present. Staff members failed to complete the criminal background checks necessary for dealing with patients under 18 years old. Some supplies were so outdated they could be traced back to 2004.

The Senators note, “These health and safety violations are obviously deeply troubling. However, even more problematic appears to be DOH’s response, which was to allow the abortion clinic to continue operating while granting Hillcrest a six month grace period to correct the cited ‘deficiencies.’”

In 2011 Pennsylvania enacted an abortion center regulations law requiring abortion facilities to undergo unannounced inspections. The legislation grew out of the massive tragedy in West Philadelphia, where abortionist Kermit Gosnell killed living full-term babies and caused the deaths of female patients in a squalid facility labeled a “House of Horrors” by prosecutors.

The law was designed to prevent “future Gosnells” from setting up shop in Pennsylvania. But some legislators now worry the law is not being sufficiently enforced, as evidenced by Hillcrest’s long trail of troubles.

Vice-President Pence’s Commencement Address at Grove City

PenceGCC-264x160Vice President Mike Pence, a stalwart pro-lifer, recently made another stop in Pennsylvania, giving the commencement address at Grove City College.  For his full remarks click here, but of particular note was this comment: “And I can’t tell you how proud I am to be Vice President to a President who stands without apology for the sanctity of life and all the God-given liberties in the Constitution of the United States.”

The Trump Administration has given pro-lifers a renewed sense of hope after eight years of pro-abortion President Barack Obama.  Some of the administration’s pro-life accomplishments so far include:

  • Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at the 2017 March for Life in Washington DC represented the first time a sitting Vice President spoke at the March.
  • President Trump reinstated a policy that prevents organizations receiving federal foreign aid from performing abortions or promoting them.
  • President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. He is a pro-life Justice in the mold of the late beloved Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • President Trump appointed avid pro-lifers to key cabinet positions including Kellyanne Conway as Senior Advisor, Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, and Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  • President Trump even signed an executive order saying his administration will “provide regulatory relief for religious objectors to Obamacare’s burdensome preventive services mandate, a position supported by the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby.”

These pro-life accomplishments give advocates renewed hope that we will be even more successful in changing people’s minds and reminding them that they can always choose life.

Inspection Uncovers Numerous Safety Violations at Harrisburg Abortion Center

HillcrestBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

Gallagher@paprolife.org

In the shadow of the state Capitol, a Harrisburg abortion center which has operated for decades has accumulated a myriad of health and safety violations.

The revelations can be found in an inspection report for the “Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center” posted on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website here.

The number and breadth of violations are truly alarming. No full-time person was in charge of operating the facility. No registered nurse was on duty to assist patients before and after at least 55 abortions had been performed. The facility failed to document the name and dosage of anesthesia used on a number of patients.

In addition, Hillcrest failed to secure drug samples—a dangerous situation. A February tour of the facility revealed a number of outdated medication and supplies.
The procedure room had swabs for sexually transmitted diseases that had expired 13 years before. Inspectors found needles and syringes in paper wrapping that had deteriorated and were yellow with age.

Investigators also determined that Hillcrest violated the state Child Protective Services law.  That law requires that employees who have “significant likelihood of regular contact with children in the form of care, guidance, supervision or training” must obtain three background checks: one from the Pennsylvania State Police, one from the Department of Human Services, and one from the FBI.

Inspectors reviewed medical records, personnel files, and conducted staff interviews. They found that, even though Hillcrest saw patients under the age of 18, “background checks were not completed for employees.”

The egregious safety violations at Hillcrest show the importance of Pennsylvania’s abortion center regulation law, which ensures regular inspections of abortion facilities. Pennsylvania simply cannot depend on abortion facilities to police themselves.

 

 

Remembering Vulnerable Mothers This Mother’s Day Weekend

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

gallagher@paprolife.org

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     I stopped in my local grocery store and found a vibrantly colorful display of balloons, roses, and carnations, signaling the start of this weekend’s Mother’s Day celebrations.

Some of us who are mothers will celebrate with bouquets and brunches, cookouts and candy. Hugs and kisses from the children who delivered motherhood to us will remind us of the tremendous gift we have received in birthing and nurturing our offspring.

But, perhaps before the festivities are in full bloom, could you take a moment with me to pray for those pregnant mothers who, on the eve of Mother’s Day weekend, have entered abortion centers?

Pray that they may have a change of mind and choose life, and that they will have all the support that they and their children need, both now and in the future.

National Siblings Day

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Today is National Sibling Day, which got me thinking about my two great brothers and an amazing sister, but it also made me think of my older brother Johnathon who was not fully formed at birth and didn’t survive.  I wonder how life would’ve been different for me if he was healthy, and I had an older brother on this earth instead of looking down on me from Heaven.

I also can’t help but think of other people’s siblings—those lost to abortion since 1973, or worse yet, those never conceived because of the number of couples who end their relationship after an abortion.   These missing siblings are not even included in the 59 million babies killed by abortion…their numbers will never be known.

So on this day, I would encourage you to think of the siblings lost to abortion, and those never conceived since Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided.  Consider what you can do to make sure no more siblings are lost.  And celebrate all those siblings who have been spared since 1973 because their mother’s chose life!

Celebrate ALL Life

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An interesting phenomenon is occurring on Facebook right now which celebrates life.  My timeline is full of live Facebook videos of April the giraffe, the mother giraffe at Animal Adventure Park in New York, who is expected to give birth any time now.  As we slowly ease into Spring, I imagine there will be many more opportunities to celebrate the birth of new animal life.  Unfortunately, while we do so, precious, pre-born babies are being torn apart, limb by limb, in a horrific, barbaric process known as dismemberment abortion.  This would not be tolerated if it were being done to animals, and yet it is legal to kill pre-born human babies this way.

Thankfully, in Pennsylvania we have an opportunity to treat human babies with the same respect we treat animals.  Senate Bill 3 passed by a bipartisan majority in the State Senate earlier this year. It would end horrific dismemberment abortions.  Senate Bill 3 is awaiting action in the State House of Representatives. We need YOUR help to make this bill law.  Specifically, there are two things you can do to ensure this common-sense legislation is enacted to save babies from a horrific death.

First, please consider taking a few minutes to call your state Representative and let him or her know you want a vote to end dismemberment abortions in Pennsylvania. If you don’t know who your State Representative is, you can find out at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/#address

Second, you can sign our petition at https://www.paprolife.org/petition to let Governor Wolf know you want him to protect his pre-born constituents from being torn apart limb-by-limb.  Please take a minute to sign the petition online, and then share it on your social media.  You can also get a paper version of the petition to circulate among friends and family, or at any upcoming events.  To obtain the paper version, simply email your request to lifelines@paprolife.org or call 717-541-0034.

Thank you for helping to spare babies and their mothers from the grave harm of dismemberment abortions.

Gary Cangemi Died Saturday in Scranton: Cartoonist Created Congenial Umbert the Unborn

By Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director

ciccocioppo@paprolife.org

Gary-Cangemi-Portrait-WEBThe pro-life movement in Pennsylvania and the nation suffered a great loss on Saturday, March 18, 2017 when Gary L. Cangemi died at the age of 62 in Scranton.

 Early in my tenure in 2002 as executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Pennsylvania affiliate of National Right to Life, I met Gary and we were immediately drawn to each other by our passion to end the killing of innocent babies in their mother’s wombs, and by our mutual Italian heritage!

Gary introduced me to the character he created in 2001, Umbert the Unborn. Umbert developed into a nationally syndicated comic strip, a parade float for our chapter in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvanians for Human Life Scranton Chapter, an annual workshop at the National Right to Life Convention, comic books and trading cards to name a few.

The first time I attended one of Gary’s workshops, I was struck by how he could use little Umbert and his preborn pals to both entertain the audience and to make them think about the reality of all preborn babies growing and developing as they awaited their transition to the world outside comfy womb life.  During his workshops, Gary would start with a blank sheet of paper.  Then he would elicit ideas from the audience until he developed a brand new four panel comic strip featuring Umbert that always made everyone laugh and think at the same time.

Gary was a determined activist for the pro-life movement and an important member of the Scranton Chapter.  He was a talented artist and writer who was generous to the Chapter in helping educate pro-lifers and the general public about working toward the day when abortion will be unthinkable in our state and the nation.

The board of directors, members, staff and volunteers of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation are deeply grateful for the life of Gary Cangemi and extend our most sincere sympathies to his loving wife, children, sisters and brothers.  He is deeply missed!

Those who wish to post a message on Gary’s Guest Book may do so until April 19, 2017.

To send a message of condolence to the Pennsylvanians for Human Life, Scranton Chapter, email them at email@prolifescranton.org.