Encouraging a Dialogue for Life!

Stephanie Gray By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I remember a friend asking me a series of questions long ago. The question-and-answer session helped to cement my pro-life views and ultimately led me to advocacy for pregnant women, children, people with disabilities, and the frail elderly.

As pro-lifers, we need to ask questions of those who believe they hold a “pro-choice” position on abortion. I am not talking a “60 Minutes”-style inquisition. I am speaking about questions which gently lead to understanding and eventually the truth.

This technique is brilliantly on display in the book Love Unleashes Life by noted pro-life speaker Stephanie Gray. Gray has shared her intelligent, well-reasoned rationale for life with audiences around the world. Gray is a staunch advocate for asking a number of questions to ascertain why a person is accepting of abortion and helping that individual to realize the rightness of the pro-life position.

This technique strikes me as being especially important in these times. For instance, is a person with a “pro-choice” position really for abortion up to the moment of birth? Do they oppose any and all limits on abortion, or do they see circumstances in which abortion should be restricted? Once apprised of the milestones in the development of an unborn child, such as a heart beating as early as 24 days after conception, do they see the humanity of the child in the womb?

The pro-life movement thrives on human connection. We must be prepared to reach out–even to people who may be initially hostile to our message. The more we can learn about how they arrive at their viewpoint, the more we can hone our argumentation to get to the crux of the issue.

It is possible to speak civilly about abortion. People such as Stephanie Gray prove it everyday. Why not follow their impressive lead?

Micro-Preemie Babies Show the Importance of Defending Life

sleeping baby By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

She came into the world at the tender age of 26 weeks’ gestation–just two weeks past Pennsylvania’s late-term abortion limit.

At birth, she weighed a scarce pound-and-a-half–approximately the same weight as a block and a half of butter.

As a result, medical professionals whisked her into the neonatal intensive care unit, hoping that against all odds she would survive.

Twenty-two years later, she returned to the NICU to thank the nurses who had helped save her life. She also came to give confidence to parents whose precious babies are living in the NICU.

A local Pennsylvania television station chronicled the woman’s incredible story of survival. The feature came at a time when the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, has pledged to veto any and all limits on abortion.

It’s not hard to see how schizophrenic our society has become. On one hand, health care professionals are working round the clock to save infants who are born prematurely.

At the same time, Democratic Presidential candidates are defending legislation that would allow babies of the same gestation to be aborted.

This dichotomy cannot continue forever. At some point, our law will reflect the truth that every human life–no matter what her age or stage of development–deserves protection.

Modern technology has produced the miracles that allow babies to survive at ever earlier stages. It’s well past time for the law–and our politicians–to catch up with medical progress.

Mother Seeks Censure of Pro-Abortion Lawmaker

Ashley Garecht

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

She had come seeking justice–not for herself, but for her daughters and their friend.

Ashley Garecht recently came to the state Capitol in Harrisburg, PA to do what she said was her job–advocating on behalf of her children.

You might not know Ashley’s name, but chances are you saw her face–trying to speak rationally and calmly to an out-of-control lawmaker in a video that went viral.

PA State Representative Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) recorded himself berating and harassing Ashley, her teenage girls, and their friend. The group had been quietly praying outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood facility known for its shoddy safety record.

Sims even offered a bounty to anyone who would identify the teenagers and reveal their home addresses. In a separate video, he used the same tactics to try to intimidate an older woman who was simply exercising her First Amendment rights by peacefully praying in front of the abortion center.

Sims has failed to personally apologize to Ashley, her daughters, their friend, and the unidentified older woman.

But Ashley–along with many people both in Pennsylvania and around the country–want to see Sims held accountable for his actions. They are supporting a resolution, sponsored by state Representative Jerry Knowles (R-Schuylkill, Berks, and Carbon Counties), which would formally censure Sims and take away his committee assignments.

At last county, House Resolution 387 had nearly 40 co-sponsors. But so far, House leadership has been reluctant to take up the cause–despite the nearly universal condemnation of Sims’ behavior.

And so Ashley made the rounds of the Capitol, meeting lawmakers in leadership, hoping to hold Sims to account. The odds might be stacked against her, but she is willing to try–for the sake of the young people that Sims badgered–and for all young people struggling to be heard above the din of a culture which tolerates, and at times even celebrates, abortion on demand.

Action Item: If you live in PA, please call and email your state Representative and urge him or her to support HR 387. 

Stars’ Support of Abortion Fails To Show True Empowerment Of Women

by Jessica Resuta

Our guest blogger is a junior journalism major at Franciscan University of Steubenville and a past winner of the PA Pro-Life Federation’s Oratory Contest.

ariana grande

Selena Gomez, Arianna Grande, Miley Cyrus

These are all former Disney Channel and Nickelodeon stars who influenced so many little girls as someone to look up to and who now as beautiful, famous young women still command the attention of the public spotlight.

Yet recently these women have all felt the need to praise and portray abortion as a way to empower women. Cyrus with her “abortion is healthcare” cake photo, Grande with her donation of concert proceeds to Planned Parenthood, and Gomez’s modeling and endorsement of a “1973” necklace by Sophie Ratner to commemorate Roe v. Wade’s abortion victory.  

Although it’s completely their choice to express themselves this way, it seems very telling of our present social climate that these young women see their glamorous endorsements of abortion as the answer to being strong women and solving problems in the world.  And yes, that’s their choice, but it does make an impact on the culture and the public’s perception of issues like abortion.

Viewing abortion as empowerment may appear simple and popular, but it completely disregards the natural function and capability of a woman’s body to form and carry children – a new, unique life.  That is empowering, as only a woman is able to carry a new life in her womb. It is empowering to protect the ones who need the most protection and to love those who are being torn down. In a society that constantly says “why can’t we just love and accept everyone?” I would say yes, why can’t we?

Abortion does not empower women, it removes them farther from their true selves and unique capabilities that only they possess as women. The ability to be a mother is a gift, a responsibility and an incredible capability that women should be praised for and encouraged in, not berated. Abortion is seen as a good thing because so many women are being told that it is degrading to have a child or that it is the only option.  Since so much emphasis and endorsement are placed on devaluing unborn lives and the role a woman plays in that life, women are convinced that abortion must be right and celebrated as the way to go, and the only way.

But what about all the amazing women whose stories are often ignored?  The young mothers who chose to bear and raise a child under difficult circumstances, and self-sacrificed so much out of love; the mother who gave a child with special needs a chance to share his love and joy with the world; the women who opened their homes and families to adopt a child who needed one;  the young woman who chooses to embrace her unique and beautiful femininity as a woman by not bending to the peer pressure to support abortion. These are women who are truly empowered, not by taking the way out of responsibility and sacrifice, but by looking at what it really means to love and accept those who are forgotten, neglected and vulnerable, and playing their role in the world as women.  That is powerful. Love is powerful.

So does society have to be this way? And are women truly empowered by abortion?  From Cyrus’ vibrant “birthday-style” cake there is an echo of all the birthday cakes that were never made for children who were “unwanted;” from Grande, there are the millions of dollars which could have been given to adoption facilities or women’s pregnancy care centers; and from Gomez’s necklace, the reminder of over 60 million American lives that were never given a chance.  

To Selena, Arianna, and Miley: you are beautiful, gifted women who as women and as humans have a capacity to love and respect, and also have the power to influence so many young girls who look to you and a culture that very often follows the crowd. Abortion does not enable a woman to love and respect others, but causes her to hide from who she is and what she can give to the world. Our society does not need fear, it needs an openness to love.   

A Tale of Two Fathers

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

tim and caitlincaitlin and tim at beach

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times for two men. The first I never met, the second I know well. As we draw close to celebrating Father’s Day, their juxtaposed journeys deserve our attention.

Christopher Keelty is a writer who recently shouted his girlfriend’s abortion. His June 6 article entitled What My Partner’s Abortion Taught Me: Men Benefit From Choice, Too” ironically appeared on the website Fatherly and is riddled with misinformation about abortion laws and statistics. But far more disturbing is the casual, unapologetic tone he assumes in telling of an unplanned pregnancy.

No doubt Christopher was quite relieved by his girlfriend’s abortion.  “While the decision was entirely hers, Liz’s choice to terminate benefitted me. It meant I could continue pursuing the personal and professional life I wanted.”  Addressing his male readership, he reminds them that abortion is good for them too, allowing men to escape the hassle of parenthood. Grateful that he and Liz aren’t “overhauling our lives to accommodate the child we never wanted”, he celebrates abortion as a great guarantor of freedom.

Yet there is a hint of uncertainty. Liz asks if getting an abortion is OK. If she believes “the decision was entirely hers”, why bother to ask him? Christopher responds that a baby was the last thing he was ready for.

Was that the answer she was hoping to hear?  Is it possible she asked because she wanted this man to protect and provide for both her and their child, rather than choosing the self-indulgent lifestyle he desperately clung to instead?

While he portrays himself as so very pro-woman, isn’t he really just pro-Christopher?

And then there’s Tim, a 19 year-old accounting major who learns about his girlfriend’s pregnancy while scrubbing pots in the hospital kitchen where he worked. The word abortion never crossed his lips.  Instead, he got a second job and then a third.

Tim married that girl. Financing his own education, he took 19 credits a semester and graduated early, all while changing diapers and being schooled in infant insomnia.

When he graduated, Tim moved his family out of his in-laws’ house into a modest apartment. Money was so tight that there was often not much more than a few items in the fridge at any one time.  Life was a continuous struggle in many ways.

But he didn’t dwell on what was lacking or a lifestyle he was missing. He saw what he did have. A family. A beautiful little girl whose wild blond curls and striking brown eyes melted his heart when he returned from class or one of his jobs. She was both his inspiration for working hard and his great reward.

You may have guessed that Tim is my husband of 32 years, the father of our five children, pappy to three grandchildren, a well-respected tax attorney and CPA. And he couldn’t be more different than Christopher Keelty.

For every reader who falls under Keelty’s spell of selfishness and believes abortion is the answer, I want to offer the story of another man, one who wasn’t driven by self-interest but by self-sacrifice.

My humble husband would never write an article about his story. But I share it because there are many other men out there just like him and they all warrant recognition and respect. Men who step up.  Men who put themselves last.  Men who pledge to protect and provide for their family, even when it is untimely or inconvenient. Real men. Would Liz have liked for Christopher to be that kind of man?

The reality is that 64% of post-abortive women say they felt coerced into getting an abortion. Sometimes the coercion is as subtle as the father saying a baby is the last thing he was ready for.

Like women, men too can be led to believe that an unplanned pregnancy offers no future and will lead to the worst of times.  But that is a lie. Embracing fatherhood may not lead to an easy, comfortable life, but the love between a father and child leads to the very best of times.

Tragically, that is a tale that Christopher Keelty, and too many other men, will not be able to tell.

Ode to Abortion: Poeticizing Death

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

red roses on book

In my past life as an English teacher, I encouraged students’ playful experimentation with language. Words matter, I told my students.  Words stir emotions, illuminate a truth, even persuade a foe.  Poetry and prose possess power.

Yet, words can be used for more malevolent purposes.  They might not illuminate, but darken and distort. They can minimize, romanticize, even glorify that which is ugly, violent, and evil. Words can be used to manipulate those who hear them.

No one knows this better than the pro-abortion wordsmiths.

They have poeticized abortion, luring many with polished vocabulary and rhythmic phrases that seek to dull senses and numb protestations.

Their “ode” to abortion goes something like this:

The right to choose is a private decision between a woman and her doctor and an integral part of her reproductive freedom and health care. The termination of a pregnancy is a safe procedure that empties the pregnancy tissue from the uterus and is a Constitutionally protected right.

Sounds almost harmless.

Until you scratch through the lexicon’s shiny veneer.

Deconstruct this abortion “poem” phrase by phrase, and the blaring truth is a cacophony that pierces our conscience.

 “The right to choose”

Choice implies freedom. Yet almost two-thirds of women (64%) felt coerced into getting an abortion and 84% felt under-informed about their options. (Forced Abortion in America) And what is being chosen? Death for another.

 “a private decision between a woman and her doctor”

Ninety-three percent of abortions take place in a free standing “clinic” where there is no previous doctor-patient relationship established.  An intimate, well-thought out decision between a patient and her long-time physician? No, a desperate decision often rooted in fear. It’s an exchange of cash for services from a complete stranger who profits from that fear.

“Reproductive freedom”

Reproductive freedom exists –prior to reproduction. Does bodily autonomy extend to destruction of another’s life? As the saying goes “The right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” The right to manipulate my body ends where another life begins.

health care”

Health care extends life.  Abortion ends it. There is nothing healthy nor caring about abortion.  Traumatized women are left alone to recover and heal and a child is relegated to a medical waste container or worse.

“Termination of a pregnancy”

The natural process of pregnancy is ended by the unnatural killing of a human being. The child is terminated.

“Safe procedure”

“Safe abortion is a euphemism,” said Dr. Beverly Macmillam, founder of Mississippi’s first abortion facility.

Between 1973-2014, the Centers for Disease Control reported that 437 women died from abortion complications, but due to under reporting, the number is likely much higher. Gosnell’s facility killed women and infected them with STD’s. A Philadelphia Planned Parenthood has failed 13 of the last 23 inspections.  Missouri’s last abortion clinic failed multiple inspections and called an ambulance 72 times. The list goes on. (see checkmyclinic.org)

Safe? Post-abortive women suffer higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide.  Nothing about abortion is safe.

“empties the pregnancy tissue”

Eyes by day 19, heartbeat by day 24, skeleton by day 42, this is a genetically distinct, unrepeatable living human, not mere tissue. At implantation, this new life develops a hormone to prevent mother’s body from rejecting it.  This is baby’s home.

“a Constitutionally protected right”

There is no right to abortion in the Constitution. Legal scholars on both sides agree that Roe vs. Wade was decided on shaky legal ground, citing the right to privacy as the basis.  Consider this from Justice Harry Blackmun’s former clerk, Edward Lazarus, who considers himself pro-choice:

“As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible. … Justice Blackmun’s opinion provides essentially no reasoning in support of its holding. And in the … years since Roe’s announcement, no one has produced a convincing defense of Roe on its own terms.”

In 1973, Justice Blackmun conceded that the right to abortion would not exist if the humanity of the “fetus” could be proved. Hasn’t science and technology since shown us the irrefutable proof he sought?

But those who compose the ode to abortion care little for facts that might interrupt the smooth rhythm that has been so carefully crafted.

Those of us committed to protecting life, though, will not be fooled by the euphemisms.  We will sing loudly our song of truth, drowning out the poetry of death.