Good News for Mothers and Babies as Abortions Hit Record Low in PA

Ultrasound with couplePress Release from the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

HARRISBURG, Pa. –The annual total of abortions in Pennsylvania have reached a record low, according to figures released by the PA Department of Health.

             The yearly report shows 30,011 abortions occurred in the Commonwealth in 2017—down from the 30,881 which took place in 2016, a decrease of nearly three percent. Nearly 84 percent of the abortions occurred in five counties: Allegheny (6,140), Dauphin (1,152), Delaware (1,016), Northampton (2,772), and Philadelphia (13,999).

“The fact that abortions are now at a record low is good news for mothers and babies in Pennsylvania,” said Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life. “While every abortion is a tragedy, this historic low number is an important milestone,” Gallagher added.

The decline in abortions can be attributed to a number of factors. “Technology has created a window to the womb, thanks to advancements in Ultrasound. Women are much more likely to choose life for their babies, if they view an Ultrasound in a supportive environment,” Gallagher said.

“In addition, abortion totals in Pennsylvania would be much higher were it not for the caring pregnancy resource centers administered by Real Alternatives and other groups. These life-affirming organizations provide everything from diapers to day care referrals, along with comprehensive counseling to pregnant women,” Gallagher added.

Still, one troubling trend is the disproportionate number of abortions performed on African-American women and the rise in abortions among Latina women. A total of 12,865 African-American babies died from abortion in 2017, while 3,038 Hispanic babies were aborted the same year.

“We grieve every abortion, because it is the taking of an innocent, unrepeatable human life. Yet, Pennsylvanians can take great pride in the decline in abortions, which has been aided by the loving alternatives to abortion that exist in the Commonwealth,” Gallagher added.

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The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation is a grassroots right-to-life organization with members statewide.  As the state affiliate of National Right to Life, PPLF is committed to promoting the dignity and value of human life from conception to natural death and to restoring legal protection for preborn children.

Pro-Life Year in Review in PA

Baby girlBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

2018 was a year of accomplishment for the pro-life movement in Pennsylvania–despite incredible odds.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Teens Reached–The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation achieved the magnificent milestone of reaching more than 600,000 teenagers through our innovative partnership with the website TeenBreaks.com. In a number of cases, TeenBreaks connected teens with local pregnancy resource centers which could meet their needs.
  • Media Presence Expanded–The Pennsylvania pro-life movement expanded its reach to Pennsylvania citizens through hundreds of online articles, radio commentaries, and podcasts.
  • Pennsylvania abortions dropped to their lowest level on record. While even one abortion is too many, we rejoice that abortions have reached a record low in the Keystone State.
  • Social Media Presence Blossomed–We now post regular daily updates not only on the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, but on Instagram and Pinterest as well. This has allowed us to reach a whole new audience with our life-affirming message.
  • Down Syndrome Protection Act passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. The bill would have banned abortion for the sole reason of a Down syndrome diagnosis. Unfortunately, the PA Senate never voted on the bill, but there is always hope for next year.
  • Pro-life majorities maintained. Despite an especially challenging election year, Pennsylvania maintains pro-life majorities in the state House and state Senate.

With these achievements, there’s no telling what we can accomplish in 2019!

This Can Hurt a Lot

Busy Philipps

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

In her memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, actress Busy Philipps reveals that she had an abortion when she was a teenager.

At the time of what would have been her baby’s due date, she went on a tour of Europe. She speaks of her feelings following the abortion:

“I still cried regularly in bed at night, sure not only that I had murdered a baby but that I was also going to hell. How would God ever forgive me? How would my own father? How would I?”

Whenever Busy visited a cathedral during her trip to Europe, she would “light a candle and pray for forgiveness. Pray for my baby. Pray that God would allow me to have beautiful children in the future.”

At the Vatican, she found herself looking into the eyes of Pope John Paul II. He “then took my cheeks in his hands and said something softly in Italian, I guess? A prayer for me.” She remembers that his eyes were soft, and “that he really had love for me.”

The exchange occurred on her due date.

Women who have had abortions need healing and hope. When they cry out to heaven, we must be ready to respond to their tears with compassion.

Sadly, from the rest of the book, it appears that she believes in keeping abortion legal. I pray that one day she will recognize that the state should protect women and children from going through what she and her baby underwent. Meanwhile, let us as pro-lifers always approach women who have had abortions with the tenderness of Pope John Paul II.

 

What’s in Store for 2019 on the Life Front?

Baby ChristmasBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

As 2018 draws to a close, the New Year remains a mystery in many ways. Still, 2019 can be a year of encouraging progress on the pro-life front. Here are some of the events and activities that are in store for the year ahead:

  • The March for Life is of great importance–this year and all years. The March steps out in Washington, D.C. on January 18th. Hundreds of thousands of dedicated individuals–many of them high school and college students–are expected to flood the streets of the nation’s capital in a peaceful, prayerful show of solidarity for pregnant women, babies, and fathers.
  • Judges will still be key. President Donald Trump has promised to nominate judges to the federal bench who will uphold the Constitution and who will not be activists, such as those who claimed a false “right” to abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. In Pennsylvania, voters will have the opportunity to cast ballots for judges for the Supreme Court, the Superior Court, and Commonwealth Court.
  • Local chapters will bring the pro-life message to their communities. Local chapters of National Right to Life and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation will be proclaiming the sanctity of innocent human life at fairs, festivals, and other events in their counties.
  • Students will be engaged and energized through pro-life contests. Both National Right to Life and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation sponsor essay contests for students. You can find details here and here. In addition, high school students can take part in the National Right to Life Oratory Contest if they have won a statewide contest, such as the Pennsylvania Pro-Life oratory competition mentioned here.
  • Social Media will be buzzing with pro-life news and information. You can find both National Right to Life and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also become part of the regular online discussion by sharing spectacular pro-life videos and articles with your friends and followers.

Working together, we can make 2019 a year of growth and significant accomplishment for the pro-life movement–and save lives and change hearts in the process. Happy 2019!

 

46 Reasons for Hope

StudentBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

As we come upon the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which legalized abortion, here are 46 reasons for hope for the decision’s ultimate demise:

  1. Statistics show the number of abortions in the U.S. are on the decline.
  2. Polls show the Millennial Generation is more pro-life than young people of generations past.
  3. The iGeneration, those born after the Millennials, are also largely pro-life.
  4. President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order barring taxpayer funding of organizations that perform and promote abortions overseas.
  5. The White House supports no federal funding for abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
  6. Vice-President Mike Pence has been outspoken in his defense of innocent human life.
  7. The Trump Administration is a pro-life administration.
  8. The President has vowed to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will not legislate from the bench, hastening the day; when Roe v. Wade will be overturned.
  9. The annual March for Life continues to attract huge crowds, largely made up of young people.
  10. Pregnancy resource centers are reaching out to pregnant women everyday with compassion, love, and support.
  11. The number of pregnancy resource centers in the U.S. far outnumber abortion facilities.
  12. Abortion centers are closing all across the country.
  13. The U.S. Senate is dominated by strong defenders of life, as are many state legislatures throughout the nation.
  14. 4D ultrasound technology is showing babies smiling in their mothers’ wombs.
  15. Women who regret their abortions and who want to help other women avoid similar heartache have found their voice in organizations such as the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
  16. Healing retreats such as those of Rachel’s Vineyard are bringing hope to women scarred by abortion.
  17. A number of Planned Parenthood workers have left their jobs in the abortion industry and have become powerful spokespeople for the pro-life cause.
  18. Abortion survivors such as Melissa Ohden are speaking out about being targeted for abortion when they were preborn babies.
  19. A number of men are taking responsibility for pressuring their wives and girlfriends into having abortions.
  20. Scientific research supports the pro-life contention that abortion hurts women physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  21. The blogosphere is filled with pro-lifers willing to share their knowledge.
  22. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter enable the pro-life movement to get accurate information out into cyberspace.
  23. Nurses who work with premature infants are sharing their experiences about the fragility of human life.
  24. A number of abortionists have stopped doing abortions and now promote life instead.
  25. College students are organizing and motivating their classmates to support pregnant women on campus.
  26. Teens for Life are finding innovative ways to promote life in their communities.
  27. Local chapters of National Right to Life are educating people about the life issue at area fairs and festivals.
  28. State affiliates of National Right to Life are passing pro-life laws and changing hearts and minds about abortion.
  29. Campaigns to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide have failed much more often than they have succeeded.
  30. Popular culture is recognizing the humanity of the preborn child by sharing Ultrasound videos and praising “baby bumps.”
  31. People with Down syndrome are showing why it is inhumane to abort a child diagnosed with a disability in the womb.
  32. New attention is being focused on the brutal practice of dismemberment abortion, where a child is torn limb by limb from a mother’s womb.
  33. An increasing number of people are questioning the practice of sex selection abortions, in which babies are aborted just because of their sex.
  34. The gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion, in which a baby is partly delivered, then killed, has been outlawed.
  35. A number of members of Congress are determined to shine a spotlight on allegations of baby body part harvesting in the abortion industry.
  36. Public opinion polls continue to show most people oppose most abortions.
  37. Polls also indicate that the vast majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.
  38. Polls demonstrate that most Americans oppose late-term abortions.
  39. A number of states have passed laws ensuring that no taxpayer funding of abortion can occur in the health insurance exchanges created by Obamacare.
  40. Many individuals want to make the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer funding of abortion except in rare cases, permanent.
  41. A distinguished counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, spoke at the March for Life.
  42. Women across the country are courageously stating that Planned Parenthood does not speak for them.
  43. People with disabilities are leading the fight against doctor-prescribed suicide and euthanasia.
  44. Some people who joined the pro-life movement way back in 1973 continue to serve the cause with dignity and honor.
  45. A number of celebrities, such as actress Patricia Heaton, are bucking the Hollywood trend and boldly proclaiming their pro-life views.
  46. The end of Roe v. Wade is in sight, given the changes in our society.

10 Reasons to Love the Pro-Life Movement

20060704231516_independence day baby

 

 

 

 

 

While driving into my office one day, I began to think of all the reasons that I love the pro-life movement. Although this is not an inclusive list, it does begin to express the gratitude I feel for this life-saving, life-changing movement:

1. It recognizes the intrinsic worth of the most vulnerable among us. It sees beyond appearances and stereotypes and attests to the value of the preborn, the infirm, and the elderly.

2. It is filled with young people. They give heart and hope to this incredible movement.

3. It is peopled with seasoned veterans, who enrich us with their wisdom and inspire us with their perseverance.

4. It is a movement of love. It is powered and sustained by a profound love for one’s fellow man and woman.

5. It is hopeful. It sees beyond the death and destruction of Roe v. Wade and envisions an America that is abortion-free.

6. It reaches out to women and men who have suffered from abortion. It is dedicated to the principle that individuals whose lives have been shattered by the scourge of abortion can find healing and hope.

7. It is peaceful, calling for a non-violent revolution of love.

8. It is inclusive, including people of all races and nationalities. It does not discriminate based on background or ethnicity.

9. It reaches out to the poorest among us–the preborn child.

10. It is compassionate, extending friendship to people in desperate circumstances and undergoing trying times.

The pro-life movement is truly one of America’s greatest treasures. I am thankful to all of you who make it so!

Pro-Abortion Movement Began With Lies

Dr. Bernard NathansonBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

History shows that the pro-abortion movement was founded on lies.

The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson co-founded the pro-abortion lobbying group known as NARAL. He admitted:

“A truthful poll of opinion then would have found that most Americans were against permissive abortion. Yet within five years we had convinced the Supreme Court to issue the decision which legalized abortion throughout America in 1973 and produced virtual abortion on demand up to birth.”

He further stated that NARAL produced fictional polls to bring about the legalization of abortion:

“We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60% of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority.”

He also lied about the number of illegal abortions performed in the U.S. prior to the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in all fifty states.

“We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000. Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public.”

He also fabricated the number of deaths from illegal abortions:

“The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200 – 250 annually. The figure constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.”

But Dr. Nathanson later testified to the truth by renouncing his pro-abortion advocacy and adopting a pro-life stance. He also served as a compelling witness to the deceitful origins of the pro-abortion movement–a movement which has led to the deaths of more than 60 million preborn children.   

Roe Still Must Be Overturned

down-syndrome-group-picture-baby-kidsBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

This week the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up two cases involving the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation.

The cases involved the states of Kansas and Louisiana, which chose to take Medicaid money away from the abortion giant, which has been involved in a range of controversies. Those controversies include everything from disregard for the sacred nature of baby body parts to charges of covering up the sexual abuse of minors.

Because the Supreme Court declined to take up the cases, lower court rulings barring states from taking Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood stand.

Naysayers are quick to use this ruling to claim defeat for the pro-life movement’s efforts to stop abortion. But the fact of the matter is that the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion, Roe v. Wade, can and must be overturned.

It is an inherently flawed decision. It claims a “right” which appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. The ruling came long before medical science was able to save “micropreemie” babies and 4D Ultrasound provided a window to the womb.

Case law needs to catch up with medicine. The courts need to recognize the vast body of knowledge which demonstrates the humanity of the preborn child. The judicial system should also listen to the cries of the many, many women nationwide who have been harmed by abortion.

For the sake of our children, for the well-being of women, and for the good of our nation, Roe must go.

 

A Doctor’s Duty

Elderly handsBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

The late Charles Krauthammer had a provocative way of writing that cut through to the heart of the matter.

His son Daniel recently released a posthumous collection of his father’s writings, entitled The Point of It All. While Krauthammer did not always fully embrace the pro-life viewpoint, his column on “A Doctor’s Duty” proclaims the physician’s role in preserving innocent human life.

Krauthammer wrote, “Even if the patient asks you to, you may not kill him.”

He went on to blast the trend toward doctor-prescribed suicide.

“In some advanced precincts–Holland and Oregon, for example, this is thought to be a quaint idea, and the state permits physicians to perform ‘assisted suicide.’ That is a terrible mistake, for the state and for the physician. And not only because it embarks us on a slippery slope where putting people to death in the name of some higher humanity becomes progressively easier.”

Krauthammer explained, “Even if there were no slippery slope, there is a deeply important principle at stake. Doctors are healers, not killers. You cannot annihilate the subject you are supposedly serving–it is not just a philosophical absurdity, it constitutes the most fundamental violation of the Hippocratic oath. You are not permitted to do any harm to the patient, let alone the ultimate harm.”

That is exactly what assisted suicide is–the ultimate harm. May public officials now take Krauthammer’s immortal words to heart.

Starting with the Children

Child with balloonsBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

I recently wrote an article about how there is so much “wrong” with the so-called “right” to abortion. A Twitter follower responded, “You are right but you have to start with the children.” I quite agree.

When I was in seventh grade, my astute teacher took our class down to the state Capitol to demonstrate against Roe v. Wade, the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision which led to the killing of a million (sometimes more) preborn babies each year.

As I participated in my first pro-life event, I wondered, “Where are all the other people who should be protesting against this?”

I was not aware of the fact that, on the same bitterly cold day in January, masses of people descended on the nation’s Capitol for the annual March for Life. Nevertheless,  standing on the state Capitol grounds with my sign, I felt a powerful concern for unborn children everywhere, for our country, and for the movement I had just joined.

At the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the National Right to Life affiliate where I work, we reach out to young people everyday through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We give presentations to classes and hand out soft-touch fetal models to masses at the Creation Music Festival. We reach out to junior high and high school students with our annual essay and oratory contests. And we’ve reached more than 600,000 teens through our innovative partnership with the website TeenBreaks.com.

We know that, for the children and mothers of tomorrow to be saved from the tragedy of abortion, we need to reach out to young people today. The iGeneration is a critical link in the chain of hope crafted by the pro-life movement. The building blocks for a renewed culture of life rest in their hands.