Town Hall Meetings Bring Life-Saving Information to Local Communities

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Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director, addressing crowd at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation’s Town Hall tour.

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

Audible gasps filled a meeting room not far from the battlefield of Gettysburg. The assembled crowd was reacting to the news from New York, where pro-abortion Governor Andrew Cuomo had signed a bill allowing abortions up to the moment of birth.

Many in the crowd had come to find out how to prevent Pennsylvania from becoming another New York, as far as the life issues are concerned. They listened attentively, applauded often, and inquired how they could sign a petition to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, urging him to protect innocent children from harm.

Gettysburg was the first stop in the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation’s popular Town Hall Tour. It will be followed next week with stops in Altoona, Pittsburgh, Erie, Hazleton, and Bethlehem (where pro-abortion Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently held his own Town Hall event).

The presentations are jam-packed with important information about promoting life in the culture, in the state Capitol, and in local communities. After the Town Hall in Gettysburg, people crowded around the information table, eager to pick up fact sheets to share with others–especially women facing challenging pregnancies.

We’ve been holding these Town Halls for years now, but there was something especially significant of beginning this year’s tour in Gettysburg. The city is synonymous with defending the soul of the nation–and isn’t that just exactly what pro-lifers are doing today, amidst tremendous challenges from politicians defending late-term abortions and failing to erect legal barriers to infanticide.

In his famous Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln stated that all men are created equal. The pro-life movement believes the same. And because of that dedication to equality, pro-lifers defend life from the very moment of conception to the instant of natural death.

In the immortal words of Lincoln:

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

To learn more about our Town Hall tour, visit www.paprolife.org .

Let’s Respond to the Hatred of Late-Term Abortions with Love

sleeping baby

 By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

The headlines happen to be filled with hatred for humanity this week.

One news story notes that the Governor of North Carolina has vetoed a bill to stop infanticide.

Another breaks the news that a Presidential candidate, Democrat Pete Buttigieg, defends abortions up to birth, calling it “a personal decision.”

It seems horrific enough that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion, has led to abortions during all nine months of pregnancy. But the fact that politicians are defending the practice seems incomprehensible.

Make no mistake–late-term abortions and infanticide are vile hate crimes against both mother and child. They are brutal, ghastly, and painful–and should not be permitted in a civilized society.

How can we respond to these atrocities? What can we say when a candidate dismisses late-term abortion as just another choice, as if it were as simple as asking for more caramel in your latte?

We can begin by contemplating the words of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, who famously stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

We must respond to the darkness and despair of abortion and infanticide with the light of life-giving options. We need to redouble our efforts to reach out to pregnant women facing challenging circumstances. We must recommit ourselves to educating people about the painful truths about abortion and infanticide.

We need to show public officials how deep and how wide our love is for preborn babies and their mothers and fathers. We need to gently but courageously remind candidates of this fundamental truth: all human life is precious and deserves protection, no matter what the circumstances.

We need, in the end, to demonstrate why pro-life is indeed pro-love.

 

Down Syndrome Protection Act Re-Introduced

Chloe Kondrich 2019

 By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

The Down Syndrome Protection Act has been reintroduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and referred to the House Health Committee. 

The popular bill passed the House last session by an overwhelming, bipartisan, veto-proof majority, but stalled in the state Senate.

The common sense legislation would ban abortions for the sole reason of a Down syndrome diagnosis. 

Research shows that the vast majority of children who receive a Down syndrome diagnosis in the womb lose their lives to abortion.

Many parents report being pressured by doctors to turn to abortion after receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

This comes at a time when people with Down syndrome are making tremendous strides in our communities and in the nation as a whole. They contribute greatly to our families, schools, and workplaces, and their lives should be protected.

The latest Down syndrome bill is sponsored by House Speaker Mike Turzai (R–Allegheny County) and state Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York County). The bill has also garnered dozens of co-sponsors from all across the political spectrum.

As Rep. Klunk stated in a news release announcing the bill, “We have a responsibility to protect those who don’t have a voice. We have a responsibility to stand up against eugenics. And, we have a responsibility to stand up to say that a baby with Down syndrome has a right to life and should not be discriminated against in the womb. Individuals with Down syndrome live lives full of dignity, value and love. We must embrace these lovable human beings for the amazing individuals they are and not allow policies that erase them from existence. They are truly lives worth living.”

Action Item: If you live in Pennsylvania, please call your state Representative and urge him or her to support the Down Syndrome Protection Act. 

Pennsylvania Teen Shows the Tremendous Gift of Children with Down Syndrome

Chloe at police officer's grave

 

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

This is an incredible story of life, death, disability, and the power of an innocent child to bring people unity, hope and peace.

Chloe Kondrich, a teenager with Down syndrome, has won worldwide acclaim for her advocacy efforts on behalf of children with disabilities. Chloe’s father, Kurt, left his job in law enforcement to join Chloe in her advocacy efforts.

A decade ago, Kurt lost a close friend when a fellow Pittsburgh police officer, Paul Sciullo, was among a trio of officers killed in an ambush. The loss was devastating to the community and to Kurt personally.

When he took Chloe to her appointments at Children’s Hospital, he would stop at a nearby cemetery where Officer Sciullo was buried. There, Chloe formed a bond with the fallen officer, whose photograph adorns his tombstone.

During a visit with Sciullo’s parents, Chloe said, “I see Paul up in heaven and he’s holding a baby. It’s a baby boy. It’s his brother. His name’s David and (Paul’s) holding him in heaven.”

The parents started to cry. Unbeknownst to the Kondrich family, 43 years earlier, the Sciullos had miscarried a baby. He was a boy, and the Sciullos had discussed naming him David.

As Kurt remarks, “I don’t know what I did right to be given a daughter as awesome as this.” Chloe shined a very bright light in the darkest valley for the Sciullo family, and her father believes she proved that unborn children who die in the womb are in Heaven.

Yet, Kurt lives with the daily reality that children such as Chloe are truly endangered. That is because of the high abortion rate for unborn babies who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome. It is estimated that the vast majority of parents who receive a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis choose abortion.

Kurt believes many individuals simply do not know the abilities of children with Down syndrome. Nor do they realize the resources that are available to them. The absence of knowledge leads to unnecessary barriers to inclusion and causes discrimination against those with an extra chromosome.

To address this pressing issue, the Kondrich’s were instrumental in passing Chloe’s Law, a Pennsylvania statute which provides positive information and support to parents who have received a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis.

The Kondrich family is now advocating for legislation that would protect children with Down syndrome from abortion in Pennsylvania. The bill passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by an overwhelming, bipartisan, veto-proof majority last year, but stalled in the Senate.

House Speaker Mike Turzai (R—Allegheny County) and Rep. Kate Klunk (R—York County) have announced plans to introduce a similar bill this year.

At a news conference at the state Capitol, Rep. Klunk spoke eloquently of the profound gift represented by children with Down syndrome.

And in a news release announcing plans to introduce the bill, Rep. Klunk stated, “We have a responsibility to protect those who don’t have a voice. We have a responsibility to stand up against eugenics. And, we have a responsibility to stand up to say that a baby with Down syndrome has a right to life and should not be discriminated against in the womb.

“Individuals with Down syndrome live lives full of dignity, value and love. We must embrace these loveable human beings for the amazing individuals they are and not allow policies that erase them from existence. They are truly lives worth living,” Rep. Klunk said.

Meanwhile, at a media event last year, Speaker Turzai said, “We’re raising the concern in Pennsylvania because of some tragic trends in European countries. In Iceland, they’ve become notorious for the claim that Down syndrome has been nearly eliminated. What they fail to mention is that Iceland has a 100 percent abortion rate of pre-born children with this diagnosis.

“I believe in the dignity of every human being. None of us are born perfect, and we all have something beautiful to contribute. Pennsylvania is a loving, compassionate community, and we want to extend welcome and support to Down syndrome families. They need to know they’re not alone,” Speaker Turzai added.

For the Kondrich family, the legislative effort is part of a personal crusade to show the world that every life matters—including the lives of the most vulnerable. The goal is to restore a culture of Life where people “Embrace don’t erase” Down syndrome and end this prenatal genocide which is the ultimate extreme form of prejudice, discrimination, profiling, bigotry, and hate on innocent human beings who commit no acts of evil or violence.

A short video of this amazing story was made in NYC when Chloe received a prestigious award from Good Counsel Homes for her advocacy efforts: https://youtu.be/dFGFvi7xLx0

The Final Countdown at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Microphone

By Katy Schriner, intern

As I was growing up, I’ve always heard of the phrase “Life is a journey”. Particularly with my life, I can say that it has been a HUGE journey. I have been through some of the best things in life as well as some of the worst. Some of the worst experiences I’ve encountered were getting diagnosed with Autism at a young age, my family losing our home to black toxic mold, financial issues and my mother going through cancer. However, I can say now that the best outweighs the worst. All of these horrific situations I encountered have shaped me into becoming the woman that I am today. There have been doctors that told my parents that I would never graduate from high school, have a job, and that I would end up living in a home.

Through the strength of God and the dedication my mother had to prove the doctors wrong, she has been the reason for all of my success. Really quickly, let me give you a brief list of SOME of the things I have accomplished. Some of the biggest accomplishments that I have done throughout my life thus far as a 22-year-old are graduated high school, gotten my driver’s license, gotten accepted into college (the best university ever! Penn State), passing all of my college courses with flying colors, joined a few clubs, danced at Penn State THON for raising money for the Four Diamonds Fund for children with pediatric cancer, have learned to pick and choose my friends and finally to learn to love myself and to understand my strengths and weaknesses. In just a couple of weeks, I will be able to add two more things to my long list of accomplishments: completing my internship at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and to graduate from college.

During my time with the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, I have learned SO much about abortions, all the laws being enacted in Congress or trying to be get passed, the effects from an abortion, all the resources women can go to, and all of the events that the Pro-Life movement provides to the community. I had met so many incredible people throughout my time at the Federation such as Joe Murphy, Senator Judy Ward, Ruth Santino, State Representative Andrew Lewis, and several others. This internship has also gotten me a chance to really see our world for what it actually is (which is dark and sickening). This is the first time, other than THON, I’ve felt like I am making an impact on the world. I am proud to say that I am pro-life and I am well educated on the topic now thanks to everyone at the Federation.

I have learned so much from Michael Ciccocioppo, Bonnie Finnerty, and most importantly Maria Gallagher. These three individuals have taught me all I need to know about the pro-life movement and I couldn’t thank them enough for bringing me in like family and giving me the opportunity to do some work in my field. I have also learned that I excel at verbal communications and besides having a huge passion for radio, I also have found an old/new passion for writing. With all the techniques and skills that I have learned from the classroom to my internship, I can say that I have grown stronger as a communications major and I will feel prepared to get an entry level job to show whatever place I decide to work what I am capable of doing. Don’t worry viewers, I still have a couple more weeks until I am done here but as for now, I can promise that I will keep writing my heart out and will write the truth and give someone a different perspective to view.

Thank you to everyone– my family, friends, school teachers, college professors, and employers who believed in me! Without everyone who has pushed me to do my best or motivated me to prove someone wrong, I wouldn’t be who I am right now at this very moment. I really need to start giving myself credit for all the hard work I do but of course I don’t like to take all the glory for my accomplishments. Last but not least, I would like to thank all the dedicated and passionate people for all their hard work in efforts to end legal abortions in America. I believe that abortion will end one day but as for now, keep fighting and showing everyone in the world that every life matters. And remember, there’s always a reason to choose life.

A Letter to Young Women

 By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Dear young woman,

You don’t know me but I feel compelled to reach out to you.  I want to apologize to you about that awful billboard.  A county health department was wrong to put it up.

Perhaps you drove by it. Or saw it on social media.  I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that you are being told you can only take control of your future by rejecting motherhood, by aborting the innocent life growing within. I am sorry that the pregnant woman on the left looks destroyed while the college grad on the right glows with pride, implying that there is only one true path to success. That’s a false narrative that builds on fear.  It’s meant to scare you into believing that a pregnancy will totally ruin your future.  And I want to tell you, from personal experience, that’s just not true.

billboard offensive

I was overcome with anxiety and uncertainty when I found out I was pregnant my freshman year.  The campus doctor urged an abortion.  In her mind, I would be a fool to trash a good scholarship at a prestigious university. As the billboard depicts, she saw only one path, and gave me only one choice.

I’m sure she considered herself compassionate, even empowering.  She wasn’t. I wish I could meet her now.  I want to show her MY billboard.

my graduation with Tim and Caitlin (2) (1)

I want to show her my husband, five children, three grandchildren, and my Master’s Degree. And I want to tell her I have no regrets about walking out of her office that day with a baby girl growing in my 18 year old belly, transferring to a school back home, and graduating four years later. I want to tell her a baby did not destroy my future, but an abortion would have.

I acknowledge that the journey was not easy. Not by any means, but every sacrifice, every bump, every single hardship was so worth it. That is a story for another day.

Please take note, dear sister, that you need not surrender your child’s life in exchange for a future. They are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s possible the child from an unexpected pregnancy will add a brightness to your future that you could never have envisioned.

The best paths to a successful and meaningful life are those that honor the sacredness and dignity of life.

Don’t let a misguided billboard, a campus doctor, or anyone fool you into thinking otherwise.

Yours in Life,

A former young woman, Bonnie