Join the “Club”: Literature for Life!

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

 

books and a chair picture

Books have long been a friend to me.  As a young girl my best friend and I spent much time at our neighborhood library perusing shelves for hidden treasures. Thanks to my high school teachers’ artful explication of great literature, my love for books deepened. My first career as an English teacher allowed me to journey through classical and contemporary literature with middle and high school students. A neighborhood book club, which I joined about 10 years ago, exposed me to books I most likely would not have selected myself but am glad to have read.

So when I walked into the Education Director’s office six months ago and saw a sizeable selection of books, something stirred inside me.  The books seemed to demand action!

But what? I wanted to do more than read them all. I want to share them. Thus, Literature for Life, a pro-life book “club” was born, a club which anyone can join just by reading our seasonal selection.  The idea is to enjoin pro-lifers in a common conversation by reading the same pro-life book, discussing it with friends, church ministries, or a pro-life group.  We will even try an online book chat, creating a virtual community of pro-life activists engaging in meaningful dialogue.

Years ago, Oprah united many across the country with her book club. Communities have done it on a smaller scale with variations of “One County, One Book” programs. Why not unite those of us in the pro-life movement by reading some of the best pro-life books out there, especially when there are so many stories that deserve our attention?

Not only will we readers expand our knowledge and strengthen our resolve, we will be better equipped in the battle to build a pro-life culture.  We will be more informed, more articulate, and more committed, becoming agents of change in a world that so needs our voices and activism.

If you haven’t read our summer selection yet there is still time.

Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer is a critically important book for us pro-lifers, especially relevant to those of us in Pennsylvania, as our state officials allowed unimaginable atrocities to occur under their watch.

Many have already seen the Gosnell movie and are familiar with his House of Horrors. The book delves into greater detail, painting a fuller portrait of his employees and his victims, and it includes a compelling interview with Gosnell himself.

This is a book worthy of our time. It should be discussed and shared. For the sake of the babies and woman who were his victims, the tragedy of Gosnell must never be forgotten.

Please consider joining us on Skype for our on-line book chat on Thursday, Sept. 12 from 7-8 p.m. Send an email to lifelines@paprolife.org to have a link for the on-line conversation emailed to you.  Our book for Fall will be announced at that time.

Let us use books as a tool for uniting, broadening, and strengthening the Pro-Life movement!

Your Last Chance to See Pro-Life Diamond & Silk in Harrisburg

By Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director

Diamond Silk promotional photo

Due to the overwhelming demand, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation’s 40th anniversary Celebrate Life Banquet featuring Diamond & Silk is SOLD OUT.  But, there is a way you can still come and hear these pro-life sensations and see them in person on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

As an alternative we have arranged to have theater style seats set up in a room adjacent to the banquet ballroom where people can attend their pro-life presentation on a big screen via LIVE video.  After their presentation, Diamond & Silk will leave the stage in the ballroom and immediately go to the theater room for a brief chit-chat with everyone there.  So if you are there you will see them in-person!

Tickets are available now for $30 each. 

To purchase up to 10 theater tickets for you and your friends and family, please click here now.  Or you may call 717-541-0034, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There are a limited number of theater tickets available.  When they are sold out, there will be no other options to see Diamond & Silk on October 15th!  So do not delay.

WHEN YOU ORDER YOUR TICKET(S), WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

We will mail you the ticket(s) you ordered.

You must bring your ticket with you to be admitted to the theater.

If you order tickets for family and friends, you are responsible for giving them their tickets and informing them that they must bring their tickets to be admitted to the theater.

PLEASE NOTE:  Seats are limited and no one will be admitted to the theater without a ticket.

The event will take place at the

Radisson Hotel Harrisburg

1150 Camp Hill Bypass

Camp Hill PA 17011

Use the CONVENTION CENTER entrance.

The theater doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

There is open seating, first come, first served.

The video will begin at 7:00 p.m. and end when Diamond & Silk conclude their presentation.

Please remain in your seat when the video ends as Diamond & Silk make their way to the theater from the ballroom.

After Diamond & Silk finish their brief chit-chat in the theater, please remain seated until after they depart the theater.

Then you are free to depart.

PLEASE NOTE:  Diamond & Silk are coming to help raise vital funds to benefit the life-saving work of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charity.  A free-will collection will be taken in the theater and your donation will help us save lives.

If you have any questions, please call 717-541-0034 or email lifelines@paprolife.org

Abortion is a Stigma on Society

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.

Woman on beach

Nicki Minaj described her abortion as “…the hardest thing I’d ever gone through,” “[It’s] haunted me all my life.”

The famed rapper’s words were featured in a recent article from People Magazine that focused on a collection of interviews and social media posts by 25 celebrities sharing their abortion stories to “help end the stigma.”

A lot of the stories expressed the typical glorification of abortion as a woman’s right, like with actress Linsey Godfrey’s statement “I had an abortion…and still am glad I had that choice because that’s exactly what it was, it was my choice, my body.”  However, there’s also much regret and fear implied in many of these statements. For instance, actress and author Amber Tamblyn said of her abortion “It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I still think about it to this day.”

“Abortion is a nightmare at its best,” actress Milla Jovovich says, “No woman wants to go through that.”  Yet, she insisted women must fight to ensure access to abortion.

TV host Sharon Osbourne’s story was one of the most detailed in the piece. Pregnant at 17, she was told by her mother that “You have to get rid of it…She told me where the clinic was, then virtually pushed me off. She was so angry.” Osbourne said, “I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you.”

This doesn’t sound like a choice, or a liberating experience for a woman. It sounds like they were forced by a societal mindset to make what as Minaj said could be the hardest life-decision ever.

Regardless of how they viewed abortion, the majority of these women mentioned some kind of regret about their decision.  And while some decisions in life will be unavoidably hard or painful, killing a child should never have to be one of them. No mother should ever be told that killing her child is a safe or best option.

In contrast, consider some real, average women who underwent the same experience of unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Non-celebrities, yes, but are they any happier or at peace with the “choice” society offered them?

An ongoing photography series  by Angela Forker called “After the Abortion” depicts real women living with the guilt and pain of their abortion, regretting the loss of the child they could never have back. It is similar to the People Magazine article as it shows the pressure and difficulty of their decisions, but the tone is conveyed differently using the visuals of photography to express a true loss by these mothers.

One photo depicts a woman named Rochelle shedding tears into a soft, yellow baby blanket with the caption in her own words “ Sadly this is the blanket I never got to wrap my baby in and rock her to sleep. The pain never goes away! The regret never ever goes away!”

The photos go from subtle to gutwrenching; a woman embracing an empty cradle, another woman bent over in pain trying in vain to turn back a clock. There are photos of women both young and old expressing how abortion did not really solve their problem, but led to the brutal and heartwrenching reality that the killing of a child in abortion leads to lifelong regret for the mother.

It is crucial that women who have abortions should never be shamed for their actions, especially because the society they live in says it’s completely permissible. But it is also necessary that they know that this is not the way society should be and they should never have to choose death for their own preborn child.

The real stigma in society is that abortion is a good, a woman’s right, and totally acceptable.  It’s a dishonest view that needs to end.  Abortion is nothing other than the killing of a vulnerable human being, yet society is too afraid to face the fact that abortion truly devastates women.  An innocent, vulnerable child’s fate should never be death, and a struggling mother should never be told that it’s legal, safe, and perfectly acceptable to kill her child. A culture that promotes and praises unjust killings and ignores the hurt and regret that comes with it is not one that will ever be able to actually promote love, trust, justice, and peace.

PA Girl with Down Syndrome to be Featured in Times Square

ChloeKondrich By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

One of Pennsylvania’s own will soon be gracing the big screen at Times Square in New York.

Sixteen-year-old Chloe Kondrich, a vivacious student who happens to have Down syndrome, will be featured on the big double screen September 14th. Her captivating photo will be part of a presentation by the National Down Syndrome Society.

Chloe’s photo has been displayed in Times Square before–but each time is a thrill for her and her family. In her young life, Chloe has already accomplished a great deal–from meeting the President and Vice-President to hobnobbing with sports figures and musical stars.

Chloe demonstrates quite clearly the amazing capabilities of children with Down syndrome. She is also the face behind Chloe’s Law–a Pennsylvania measure which ensures that parents whose babies have received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome receive access to educational resources and support for the journey ahead.

Chloe has been lobbying for a new bill–House Bill 321–which would ban abortion for the sole reason of a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. The bill has passed the PA House of Representatives by a resounding margin and is now pending in the PA Senate.

If you live in Pennsylvania, please consider calling and emailing your state Senator and urging him or her to support HB 321. Let them know that children with Down syndrome deserve our protection, our respect, and equal rights under the law.

 

Empty Desks at Back to School Time

Empty desk By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

As children around the U.S. head back to school, I think about the children who are missing because of legal abortion.

It is not a small number. Figures from the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, indicate nearly one million abortions occur each year.

That means millions of children will never get a chance to pose for a first-day-of-school photo. They will never experience the joy of learning, or the freedom and frivolity which come with daily recess.

They will never score a soccer goal or play the flute in the school orchestra. They will never have the opportunity to sing in the school choir, perform in a play, or earn the winning touchdown on the football playing field.

Think about it. If we were to memorialize each baby killed by abortion with a single student desk, how empty are classrooms would be.

How many women in the U.S. are silently grieving the children who will never bring home a report card, or a construction paper surprise for their mothers? How many men are suffering from lost fatherhood as a result of abortion?

The babies who were aborted were real people, real children who deserved respect, compassion, and love. Instead, their lives were ended before they could ever step foot on school grounds.

Back-to-school days are just another reminder of how impoverished our society is because of legal abortion.

May today’s schoolchildren, as they grow and develop, come to recognize that truth, and end legal abortion once and for all.

Reading Between the Lines of Campaign Rhetoric

Elizabeth Warren

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

Things are not always what they seem to be–especially on the campaign trail.

Recently, I listened to a National Public Radio political podcast featuring Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

During the interview, Warren stated, “We are called on to see the value of every human being.” She then went on to cite a verse from the Bible, Matthew (Chapter) 25.

Her quote, along with a Biblical reference, might lead one to believe that she is pro-life, and believes in “welcoming the stranger,” including the pregnant woman and her unborn child.

But, sadly, this is not the case–as demonstrated by both her record and her stands on the life issues.

According to National Right to Life’s helpful handout, “Where Do the Candidates Stand on Life,” Warren supports the current policy of abortion on demand.

In fact, the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts co-sponsored a bill that would invalidate nearly every state and federal limit on abortion. She also cast a vote against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would guarantee care for babies who survive abortions.

Warren even voted for taxpayer funding of abortion–even though national public opinion polls consistently show that the vast majority of Americans oppose such a policy.

The lesson here is that, when evaluating candidates, it is important to look beyond their statements in a single podcast or interview. Instead, turn to trusted sources, such as National Right to Life, to get the full story about a candidates’ views.

That way, you can make a fully-informed vote, come election time.

Marking the Two-Year Anniversary of an Abortion Center Closure

abortion-clinic-closed By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

It’s the kind of anniversary that calls for a grand celebration.

It has now been about two years since Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s long-standing abortion facility, the Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center, shut its doors.

Who knows how many precious lives have been saved—and how many women have been saved from the trauma of abortion—as a result of the closure?

But the end of the abortion business did not come without a monumental struggle. Hillcrest had racked up 44 pages’ worth of health and safety violations, according to a report issued by inspectors at the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

And yet, the facility was allowed to continue to operate while it addressed its “problems.” It was not until the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation brought Hillcrest’s shoddy safety record to the attention of the local news media that action was finally taken.

A trio of Pennsylvania state Senators asked 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 sent a letter to Health Department Secretary Karen Murphy which stated, “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.”

The Senators noted, “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.’”

Ultimately, Hillcrest gave up its license to operate—and the rest is history. Harrisburg is still home to a Planned Parenthood which performs abortions, but the closure of Hillcrest remains a major victory for women and their babies.

And so central Pennsylvanians have every right to pause and give thanks for the two-year anniversary of the abortion center’s closing. But we must be ever-vigilant, that abortion centers throughout Pennsylvania are held accountable for violating Pennsylvania’s critical health and safety standards.

There is just no telling how many violators there are—lurking in the shadows.

Disability Should Not be a Death Sentence

Zack Gottsagen By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

I was pleasantly surprised to open People magazine and find a feature devoted to an actor who may be on the cusp of stardom—and who also happens to have Down syndrome.

Performer Zack Gottsagen will be appearing in the August release of “The Peanut Butter Falcon.” A Florida newspaper also published a lengthy profile of this soon-to-be breakout star. According to writer Ben Crandell of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, doctors predicted that Zack would not be able to walk or talk—yet now, he is receiving standing ovations for his role in what Crandell describes as a “bittersweet buddy comedy.”

Zach’s ascendancy in Hollywood is truly inspirational—a testament to his talent and grit. It also shows just how far a person with Down syndrome can exceed societal expectations.

And yet, babies with Down syndrome are routinely targeted for extinction. Research shows the vast majority of preborn babies who receive a Down syndrome diagnosis are aborted. How poorer our society is when these bright lights of humanity are never able to see the light of day.

But whether a person with Down syndrome works in Hollywood, California or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he or she deserves the utmost in respect. Not every citizen with Down syndrome will appear on the big screen; nevertheless, he or she can make a big impact on our families, our schools, our workplaces, and our communities.

This is why the Pennsylvania House of Representatives soundly passed House Bill 321—a bill which would ban abortion for the sole reason of a Down syndrome diagnosis. It is the ultimate form of bigotry and discrimination to deny a person life based on disability. The bill is now pending in the PA Senate.

Every abortion is a tragedy, because it steals the life of a precious, unrepeatable human being. Until the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade falls and states can provide total protection to preborn babies, bills such as HB 321 represent a crucial first step.

We as a nation are suffering from a tremendous talent deficit because of legalized abortion. In a civilized society, people with disabilities should be honored, treasured, and empowered—as much as any star of the cinema.

 

 

 

Google and the Politics of Pregnancy

pregnant woman silhouette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

She was married, but finances were tight. So when she was abruptly dismissed from her job, the removal carried with it a decimating economic sting.

The reason for her forced departure? She was pregnant with me.

I always felt a tinge of sadness and a healthy amount of outrage when I heard my mother recount the story of how she lost her job because of her first pregnancy. It seemed so unjust, so cruel.

But that was so long ago. Surely, the situation is much improved today for pregnant women.

However, perhaps times have not changed all that much—at least among some short-sighted employers.

Consider this report from The Daily Caller. A former Google employee alleges the tech giant discriminates against pregnant women. Here are her heartfelt words:

  I’m sharing this statement because I hope it informs needed change in how Google handles discrimination, harassment and retaliation. … The details are important in understanding the often drawn-out, isolating and painful experience of victims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

The woman had been told she could not manage a corporate team because her maternity leave would “stress the team” and “rock the boat.”

In a statement to the Daily Caller, Google countered: “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy. To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.”

Nevertheless, if the allegations prove true, the situation is a stunning example of the lack of support that can drive a pregnant woman to abort. Research has shown that support—material, emotional, psychological—can be key in determining whether a woman chooses life for her preborn baby.

Companies need to provide supportive environments for pregnant women and new mothers. Such women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect—and their choice for life needs to be respected as well.

Any one of us can be the voice for change that enables pregnant women to thrive in what might otherwise be a less-than-welcoming workplace. It is these everyday encounters that can help empower women to bring their babies safely into the world.

Due Process and the Fate of the Unborn Child

Baby eyes By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

The concept of “due process” has been much in the news during this past year. For instance, it was front-and-center during the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, who had to defend himself against uncorroborated allegations in his bid to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Merriam-Webster defines “due process” in two ways: “1.) a course of formal proceedings (such as legal proceedings) carried out regularly and in accordance with established rules and principles and 2.) a judicial requirement that enacted laws may not contain provisions that result in the unfair, arbitrary, or unreasonable treatment of an individual.”

These definitions have led me to ponder how we treat the issue of abortion in our nation. Granted, it wasn’t always this way—prior to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, abortion was not widespread in our country.

But ever since that tragic court ruling, unborn children have been sacrificed on the altar of “choice” (a misnomer, really, since so many women report being pressured into abortions). More than 60 million preborn children have perished as a result of Roe.

Under Roe, there are no legal proceedings when an adult woman—who may in fact be under significant duress—shows up at an abortion facility. With the exception of requirements such as waiting periods, informed consent, and parental consent or notification for minor abortions, there are few rules governing the abortion industry.

And, as we saw in the tragic Kermit Gosnell case, the abortion industry appears to be guided by few ethical principles—After all, the National Abortion Federation did not report Gosnell to authorities after discovering the horrid conditions inside his West Philadelphia abortion center (He is now serving three consecutive life terms for the murder of newborn babies in Pennsylvania.).

Under our current system, the unborn child is definitely denied due process before her life is taken. She is not treated fairly or reasonably. She has no representation—there is no lawyer arguing on her behalf.

She receives far less consideration than a Death Row inmate appealing his pending execution.

And what crime has she committed? None. She is entirely innocent. Her life is mercilessly brought to an end before she has had an opportunity to touch her mother’s face or see her father’s smile.

Legal abortion represents the ultimate denial of due process. That is reason enough to do everything we can, legally and peacefully, to bring it to an end.