Join us! PA March for Life in Harrisburg

PA March for Life

Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life in Washington, DC, has announced that they are bringing the March for Life to Pennsylvania on Monday, May 18, 2020. Mark your calendars now for a rally at the State Capitol in Harrisburg at 11:00 a.m. followed by the March for Life at Noon. Jeanne said, “Ending abortion in America – and Pennsylvania – will take the effort of every single pro-life person. Each of us must commit to making a difference for the pro-life cause.” Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation said, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with the March for Life on this bold initiative and encourage pro-lifers across the Commonwealth to join us in marching together for LIFE.” For more information, please click HERE.

Teaching: A Pro-Life Vocation

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

teacher with students

To teach is to touch the future.

So true.  My former students are now coding software, engineering structures, managing businesses, and dispensing prescriptions.  They are mothers, fathers, consumers, and citizens active in my community and in many others.  Occasional chance meetings allow me to learn where some of my middle schoolers of the 90’s have landed.  Sometimes I am quite surprised.

For several years I got to play a small role in the development of today’s younger adults. Like other educators, it was a desire to nurture the hidden potential within each child that prompted me to become a teacher.

And it was precisely because of that desire that I quit the teachers’ union.

When I learned that the National Education Association, the largest union in the nation with almost 3 million members, supported “reproductive rights”, I could no longer pay the required dues.  How could I support an educational organization that was complicit in eliminating our very clientele?  If teachers were called to see the potential in every child, how could we ignore the potential of the pre-born and advocate for their termination? The irony shocked me, the hypocrisy plagued me, and I ultimately quit the union, hoping that one day things would change.

Sadly, the NEA has since doubled-down on their support for abortion.  While identifying themselves as the nation’s leading advocate for children, they recently added Business Item 56 to their agenda, which states that the union “vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade.”

I continue to be mystified. Why does an educational organization whose mission of improving public schools take a position on this issue?  How about sticking to negotiating fair salaries and lobbying for lower student-teacher ratios in the classroom?  How about promoting strategies for greater parental involvement and supporting successful inclusion practices for all children?  There are a plethora of issues to address but abortion shouldn’t be one of them.

When I refused to join the union at my second teaching job, I was paid a visit by the president of the local affiliate.  She said I could be sued by a student and would not have union advocacy and legal protection.  It’s interesting that fear, which is almost always at the root of abortion, was being used to persuade me to join the union.

When that didn’t work, she told me I was ruining the 100% union membership of which the school had boasted for several years.  I was able to direct her attention to a poster I had just hung in my classroom. “Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone.”  That poster wasn’t there for just my students, it was a much-needed reminder to me as well.

Exasperated, she left my classroom with the promise to send another teacher and union member who was pro-life to speak to me.  I nervously awaited his visit.

When he stopped by the next day, we sat and had a good, honest, and lengthy talk. In the end, he decided he could no longer support a union that supported abortion. I was grateful for his courageous change of heart. If the two of us refused membership on the basis of abortion, would others join us?  Could we at least get people thinking and talking about this issue rather than simply accepting the NEA’s misguided position?

No teacher should have to pay several hundred dollars annually to an organization that lobbies for the abortion of future students.  There is nothing pro-child, pro-teacher, or pro-education about that.  Teaching should be about touching the future, not killing it.

What Would Gov. Robert Casey Say About Campaign 2020?

Robert P. Casey Sr. By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I treasure the autographed copy of the book Fighting for Life, which has a place of prominence in our office library.

The book tells the moving story of the life of former Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, Sr., who called himself the “First of the New Democrats.”

Casey was pro-life–unapologetically so. He signed into law the 1989 Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, which provided for 24 hour waiting periods for abortion, informed consent prior to abortion, parental consent for a minor’s abortion, and a ban on sex selection abortions.

The law became the basis of the U.S. Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which ushered in a new era of legal protections for preborn children and their mothers.

Casey’s legacy? As a result of the Abortion Control Act, Pennsylvania’s abortion rate was cut in half. The law also became a model for the rest of the nation.

I cannot help thinking of the late Governor Casey when I peruse the stands of the Democratic Presidential candidates on the life issues. National Right to Life has produced a helpful handout on the candidates’ positions, and they show unbridled support for the nation’s current policy of abortion on demand.

This is despite a Marist poll earlier this year showing more Democrats identifying as pro-life.

I think to myself, “What would Governor Casey say about the Democratic Presidential candidates’ full embrace of the pro-abortion agenda?”

And then I turn to page 182 of his book, and I think I’ve found the answer.

Back in April of 1992, when Planned Parenthood v. Casey was argued before the Supreme Court, reporters asked Casey for comment on the case.

He answered with a question: “In this debate, who speaks for the child?”

The answer among this year’s crop of Democratic Presidential candidates?

No one.

Marking the Five-Year Anniversary of Chloe’s Law

Chloe Kondrich and Gov. Corbett By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

Pennsylvania celebrates an important milestone this week–the five-year anniversary of the signing of Chloe’s Law.

This landmark act, signed by pro-life Republican Governor Tom Corbett, ensures that the parents of preborn babies who are diagnosed with Down syndrome receive information and supportive resources to help them on their journey.

The law is named for Chloe Kondrich, a vivacious girl with Down syndrome. Her accomplishments run the gamut…from joining with her father Kurt to give the keynote address at the recent National Right to Life Convention to speaking at the United Nations (twice). She has also met with celebrated musicians, athletes, and public officials. Among her many fans are the President and Vice-President of the United States.

Chloe’s Law is as simple as it is remarkable–provide parents with concrete support, and they are far less likely to choose abortion. It is important to note that the legislation received nearly unanimous, bipartisan support in the state legislature.

Let’s hope that more states enact laws similar to the one that bear’s Chloe’s name. The legislation represents a positive approach to an alarming problem–the high incidence of abortion for babies with a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Statistics show that the vast majority of children in the womb who receive such a diagnosis are aborted. Kurt Kondrich sees it as the ultimate form of discrimination against people with disabilities.

Through greater education, understanding, and love, we can reverse this disturbing trend–and make America safe for children with Down syndrome.

Planned Parenthood Shakeup: It’s All About Abortion

Leana Wen 2 By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

The news sent shockwaves through the Twittersphere: after less than nine months on the job, the president of Planned Parenthood was being ousted.

Dr. Leana Wen tweeted on Tuesday afternoon:

I just learned that the Board ended my employment at a secret meeting. We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood. My statement to come shortly.

But what could those philosophical differences be? It appears that, even though she consistently claimed–falsely–that “abortion is health care,” Wen was not politically aggressive enough when it came to promoting abortion.

In a letter posted on Twitter, Wen said she came to Planned Parenthood to promote health care. But the new board’s leadership has made its priority doubling down on abortion advocacy.

This is what pro-lifers have known all along. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s abortion center income comes from abortion. Rather than promoting “choice,” the vast “non-profit” organization promotes abortion expansion.

Abby Johnson knows this first-hand. She’s the former Planned Parenthood director whose conversion to the pro-life cause after viewing an ultrasound-guided abortion formed the basis of the movie Unplanned.

With graciousness and love, Abby reached out to Wen on Twitter following news of Wen’s departure from Planned Parenthood:

Leana, I know exactly how Planned Parenthood works and know ALL about their secret meetings. If you ever want to talk about your experience (in complete confidence), I’m here. I will help in any way I can through your transition. 

The fact is, Abby and other pro-lifers stand ready to assist anyone who has been caught up in the tragic business of abortion. So many former abortion center workers are now ardently pro-life.

I can only hope that Leana Wen will come to see that Planned Parenthood is standing on the wrong side of history–and on the opposite side of women facing challenging pregnancies.

Abortion at Heart of Kavanaugh Controversy

Justice on Trial By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

It is all the more fascinating in the re-telling.

I am talking about the unprecedented drama that surrounded the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court

Justice on Trial: the Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court provides a brilliant analysis of the behind-the-scenes power struggle that accompanied the most contentious Supreme Court fight in modern history.

Authors Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino expertly demonstrate how a process that should be dignified and exemplary devolved into character assassination of a man who had sought to bring honor to the courts his entire professional life.

Hemingway and Severino recount this cautionary tale in vivid detail. Kavanaugh’s emotional pain during the confirmation hearings literally leaps off the page.

“Throughout my life, I’ve devoted huge efforts to encouraging and promoting the careers of women. I will put my record up against anyone’s male or female,” Kavanaugh said during his contentious hearing.

“I love coaching more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life, but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again.”

What pro-abortion Democrats had unleashed were a series of sensational, unsubstantiated allegations accusing the judge of sexual assault when he was a teenager. The most publicized of the claims was that of Christine Blasey Ford, who charged that Kavanaugh had attempted to rape her at a teenage house party. None of the people who Ford said had been present at the party could corroborate her claims.

Addressing Ford’s claims during a dramatic Capitol Hill hearing, Kavanaugh stated, “The other night (my wife) Ashley and my daughter Liza said their prayers, and little Liza—all of ten years old—said to Ashley, ‘We should pray for the woman.’ That’s a lot of wisdom from a ten-year-old. We mean no ill will.”

Hemingway and Severino identify abortion as being a key issue at the heart of the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court appointment. They point out that, as soon as Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered a swing vote on abortion, announced his retirement, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tweeted, “Abortion will be illegal in twenty states in 18 months.”

As much as pro-lifers wish the tragedy of legal abortion would end today, we realize we are in this struggle for the long haul. We do not know when the Supreme Court will right a profound wrong and restore legal protection for preborn children.

One thing we do know—the vitriol and fury unleashed against any Supreme Court nominee President Donald Trump would make coarsen our culture and wound our society.

As President Trump stated, “On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.

“What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process,” the President said.

And, one could add, fairness, decency, and due process are also all violated under the abortion regime created by the High Court.

Cable TV Commentator’s Arguments for Legal Abortion Melt Away

newborn babe arms outstretched By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

The arguments made by pro-abortion advocates can melt away quicker than a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream on a sweltering July day.

Take, for instance, the defense of legal abortion posed by cable television commentator Tomi Lahren.

In her book Never Play Dead, Lahren dismisses the pro-life point of view as a merely religious objection to the practice of abortion.

Speaking of those who would like to see the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Roe v. Wade, Lahren claims they are engaging in an enterprise that would be “unconstitutional” “because we don’t legislate morality. We don’t nominate people to that position (Supreme Court Justice) just to carry out our religion.”

But in truth, the life issues cannot be narrowly defined as being a question of religion. Atheists can be pro-life. The case against abortion can be made on many legitimate grounds: scientific, Constitutional, and legal.

It does not take a divinity degree to recognize the fact that life begins at conception, that the moment of fertilization is a life-giving act which merits legal protection for the unique individual created.

You do not have to belong to a place of worship to understand that a person’s heart starts beating 24 days after conception and brain waves can be detected 44 days post-conception.

It is an act of intellectual engagement, not religious fervor, to argue that our founding fathers saw the right to life as a pillar of a stable society.

This is not to say that religion cannot be a motivator in seeking justice—certainly it was for modern day heroes such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But it is simply wrong to claim that people who recognize the inherent rights of children in the womb are somehow forcing their religion on other people.

Lahren rails against putting justices on the High Court to “interpret your religion.” That is not the position of the mainstream pro-life movement. Pro-lifers advocate an interpretation of the Constitution which is based on what that sacred document actually says, rather than what pro-abortion zealots wish it said.

Reason and common sense are key planks of the pro-life platform. They were back before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, and they continue to be today. And that is why the pro-life case is so persuasive, generation after generation.

Supporting Both Mother and Child – The truth of the Pro-Life Mission

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.Baby girl

A recent New York Times article claims that the term “pro-life” is purely a marketing term and that “Whatever the anti-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about the mother.”

The author also says that “The anti-abortion cause didn’t promote itself as ‘pro-life’ until the more punitive-sounding ‘anti-abortion’ label failed.” What this article misses is that the term ”pro-life” means exactly what it says, supporting and cherishing all human life, and if anything is punitive it’s abortion. 

Abortion does not aid or help a woman feel safe because it is the intentional destruction of a human life that brings a woman pressure, heartbreak, regret, and a deadly quick-fix disguised as healthcare.  Pregnancy may be difficult but it is not a punishment. It is a normal, natural opportunity to give, love and respect life. Those who choose to love and sacrifice when it’s hard are those who do the most good in the world.  There are also others who tenderly care and are open to help with the difficulties that arise with an unexpected or crisis pregnancy. 

Being pro-life acknowledges the humanity and uniqueness of all life at every stage, and that includes protecting as precious both the unborn child and his/her mother.  The overused argument that pro-life only equals pro-birth is completely unfounded because it is those who support life who are actually giving a mother a choice, and not just a choice, but one that will help rather than hurt her.  

Many women choose abortion because they feel they have no choice. Abortion is portrayed as the only solution to an unplanned or difficult pregnancy, but telling women their primary option is to either pay a substantial amount of money or have the taxpayers pay to have their child killed is no way to make a woman or her child feel safe. 

These are not just words or ideals, there truly are other and better options for pregnant women, loving and helpful options.  In Pennsylvania alone, there are hundreds of pregnancy care centers all across the state, not to mention countless churches, families and pro-life communities who are willing to give a woman and her child the love and care they need at a critical time.  

The Pro-Life mission is one that treats all life with the dignity belonging to all humans, born and unborn.  Women need to know that there really are loving assistance and the life-giving options that they deserve. 

We are All Born Pro-Life

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Her spirited bounce down the path to our display got my attention.  Her wispy curls pulled into a ponytail and ample rosy cheeks melted my heart.  As she got closer to us and saw the treasure that awaited, her big brown eyes twinkled. I was completely enchanted.  She picked up the fetal model and her delight became palpable.

She first raised the baby in the air, marveling at it. She then imparted a gentle kiss. Creation toddler holding babyCreation toddler kissing baby

Cradling the 30-week fetus in her arms, she listened as her mother softly whispered that this is what mommies grow in their bellies, a beautiful precious human life.

She’s only three years old, but she instinctively knows a truth that many adults and our world at large have long forgotten. She knew this truth even before her mother spoke a word.  Life is precious. It is a gift to be celebrated and cherished. And protected.

She needed no prompting. Her affection was genuine and unlimited. Loving this baby came so naturally, even to a toddler.

She was the very last person with whom I interacted at Creation Music Fest, where we had shown the humanity of the preborn to thousands of people with our fetal model display, witnessing their fascination with life within the womb and their sadness at how disposable it has become.  Our table was steadily busy for three days, and we had many productive and informative exchanges with passersby.  This sweet little girl was the last to visit before we closed up. How perfectly profound, as she left me with a beautiful truth to take home and ponder.

We are all born pro-life.

Show a small child a fetal model or a picture of an ultrasound and ask him or her what it is.  Do the same with an older child.  They readily identify a baby, a living human being in its earliest form of development.

It is so clearly self-evident to those who have not had the world un-teach this to them.  It is so clearly self-evident because it is nature’s beautiful plan, and the most innocent among us honor what is natural.

Abortion is the most un-natural thing in the world. And it violates what all of us, especially children, know to be right, true, and good.

We are all born pro-life, but some allow themselves to be corrupted by a confused world, becoming defenders and promoters of abortion.  I think of this little girl and wonder how did these people get so very far away from a self-evident truth, one that is written on our very hearts?

Is it doubt, fear, desperation, misguided compassion, greed, rationalization, de-humanization or a combination of these that steal this basic truth from them?  I don’t know the answer.  What I do know is life begins at conception. Life is precious. Life is to be treated with dignity and protected from harm.

Even a 3 year old knows that. May she never allow the world to un-teach her that fundamental truth.