Pro-Life Apologetics Spread the Truth

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Dr. Bernard NathansonDr. Bernard Nathanson

The panic is almost palpable.  Abortion supporters are screaming proverbial “Fire!” all over social and mainstream media, attempting to create mass hysteria over recent developments.  Facts are distorted, truths half-told. Why are they ramping up their rhetoric?

The Alabama ban on abortions. The Ohio and Georgia bills protecting babies at early stages of development. The Down Syndrome Protection Act passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. These are just a few among several other legislative efforts to defend the only unprotected class of Americans, the pre-born.

Seemingly all of a sudden, the 40+ years that pro-lifers have worked to change laws are showing signs of progress.

And while all this is certainly an encouragement to those of us on the side of life, we cannot rest easy.  We have a two-fold mission: change laws and change hearts and minds. And neither is easy to do.

So now is the right time for all of us to self-enroll in Pro-Life Apologetics 101.

Apologetics is the systematic defense of a held belief. We pro-lifers must be ready to defend our position amongst the most persistent arguments for abortion. Often this may require a bit of historical research or googling of statistics, but it is well worth it if we can dispel some of the myths that continue to drive the abortion culture.  There is not a single argument for abortion that cannot be answered with science, history, logic, or personal witness.

Take for example, one of the most common arguments that our society will return to the days of illegal back alley abortions, which abortion supporters claim were the cause of countless deaths prior to Roe vs. Wade.  This allegation is meant to strike fear in our hearts, conjuring up horrible images of women suffering from infections due to unsterile instruments and untrained abortionists.

So how do we respond?

First, let’s acknowledge that legalized abortion puts women at risk for those very same things.  Consider the deplorable conditions of Gosnell’s abortuary, where for over 30 years, grown and just-birthed women died, while others were infected with STD’s due to unsterilized instruments.  Consider the Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia, made famous recently by Rep. Brian Sims’ outrageous bullying toward peaceful citizens, which failed 13 of the last 23 inspections. Do we honestly think these are the only two abortion centers not providing a “safe” sterile abortion?  Even in the cleanest of facilities, abortion remains a procedure with multiple risks for women and death to every child.

Secondly, let’s be clear about where abortion advocates get their numbers.

When the sexual revolution, women’s liberation, and the abortion movement all collided in the late 60’s, the co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (later NARAL)  abortionist Bernard Nathanson and his cohorts played off this fear and used the media to spread false statistics.

Nathanson, who later became an outspoken figure in the pro-life movement, confessed to these numbers being fake:

“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. 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. Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1500% since legalization.”

In Aborting America (1979) Nathanson writes that since these false statistics were useful to the abortion “revolution”, why would NARAL go out of its way to correct them?

Abortion supporters still rely on these fictitious figures to feed fears and create hysteria.  And it is not beneath them to create additional misleading statistics, like abortion only being 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services. Or that a majority of Americans support abortion on demand throughout pregnancy.

But as students of truth and defenders of life, we can counter the inaccurate, irrational arguments used by abortion supporters to manipulate the American public. Perhaps repeating the truth often enough will convince the public.

There are many excellent resources available to educate ourselves and others, including our website at paprolife.org.

Let’s get busy. Let the truth spread like fire!

 

What you can do to respond to Rep. Brian Sims

brian sims

 Our office has been inundated with calls and emails regarding Rep. Brian Sims’ self-promoted harassment of a peaceful pro-life prayer warrior. People are outraged and want to know what to do.

First, contact your state representative and Speaker of the House Mike Turzai to let them know that the people of PA will not tolerate this disgusting behavior from an elected official.Click here to find your rep.

Secondly, sign the petition calling for Rep. Sims resignation which has over 26,000 signatures already but needs every single pro-life Pennsylvanian to be on it. Click here to sign the petition.

Thirdly, you can join others in supporting the work of the Pa Pro-Life Federation as we endeavor to educate on life issues and promote legislation that protects and honors the dignity of all life, from conception to natural death. Click here to donate now!

We cannot be silent in the face of this egregious act of aggression toward pro-lifers exercising their Constitutional rights!

The Birth Privilege of Brian Sims

newborn babe arms outstretched

 By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

While not one major network has covered the story, thanks to social media, most people are aware of State Representative Brian Sims’ disgraceful harassment of a peaceful, prayerful, pro-life witness in front of a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood. In his eight minute tirade, which he filmed and posted online, proudly showcasing his bullying of “an old white woman”, the elected official assails her for her “white privilege.”  Sims is also white, but apparently he handles his “white privilege” in a morally superior fashion. Or at least that’s his self-perception.

Cambridge English Dictionary defines white privilege as “the fact of people with white skin having advantages in society that other people do not have.”

But what about “birth privilege”?  Would that not be defined then as “the fact of people who are allowed to be born having advantages in society that other people  (those denied birth) do not have”?

Unlike 61 million babies, Sims was allowed to live and grow inside his mother’s womb until he was ready to breathe his own air.  He was small, vulnerable, completely dependent, and completely human right from the moment of conception when his unique combination of DNA, never to be repeated again, came into existence.  He didn’t become human, like he didn’t become white.  He always was.

He wasn’t his mother’s body, some extension of her like a tooth or birthmark.  He was, genetically, an entirely different human being within her body. He was and is her child.

Everyday Sims enjoys the privilege of being born, enabling him to experience liberty and pursue happiness, to seek public office, to speak out for those he feels are under-represented. But not all are so lucky. Birth privilege is perfectly summed up in a now famous statement made by President Ronald Reagan: “I’ve noticed everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

Those with birth privilege are in the position of power and strength over the weak and defenseless, the pre-born. So doesn’t that make abortion the ultimate form of bullying?

Sims, a former football player, a youngish lawyer, and an empowered public official, clearly bullies the lone, powerless, older woman. He berates her verbally, mocking her because of her age, race, and faith.  He attacks her character by asking how many children she had clothed that day.  He calls her a hypocrite.  And when she tries to walk away without comment, he follows.  And this blatant act of bullying was such a source of pride, he publicized it himself!

Of course, Sims is comfortable lording his physical presence and social status over someone less formidable than he.  After all, he advocates for abortion, which does the exact same thing: the strong and empowered refuse to recognize the dignity of those smaller and powerless, and they then proceed to destroy them.

Once we lose respect for the most vulnerable human life, it should come as no surprise that no one is off limits. Not babies. Not the elderly. Not innocent prayerful women. No one. Nothing is sacred.

We can only pray that Brian Sims, like many one-time abortion supporters,  repents and has a conversion of heart. Perhaps then, he can use his birth privilege to make this world one in which no human life is ever again bullied to death.

 

 

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

The Power and Privilege of Being A Woman

 

pregnant woman silhouette

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

March is Women’s History Month and also marks International Women’s Day, so I should whole-heartedly embrace this opportunity to celebrate my ancestral sisters, applauding their testing of boundaries and breaking of barriers.  And for the most part, I do, humbly realizing that whatever I might accomplish, I stand on their shoulders.  So why do I feel a sense of hesitation in marking these occasions?

Grateful for the political, scientific, and cultural achievements of women who have gone before me, I am simultaneously saddened by the collateral damage that has ensued in this continuing struggle toward equality.  For sometimes in our effort to achieve one thing, we sacrifice another. And sometimes what is lost changes the very essence of who we are. For what does it profit a (wo)man to gain the world and lose (her) soul?

It seems in today’s media all women are lumped under the same broad banner of “the women’s vote” or “the women’s movement.”  Unfortunately, the terms “feminist” and “pro-woman” are equated with supporters of abortion. Although many of us share a common vision of equal opportunities, we do not share a belief that abortion is a path toward liberation.

Rather, we “pro-life feminists”, often ignored during observances lauding women, understand abortion as another form of subjection: forcing women to choose between birthing the burgeoning life within versus ending it due to fear, rejection, pressure, or lack of resources, thus killing one life and wounding the other. Abortion advocates promote a world of either/or, yet ironically claim they are for choice.

Any celebration dedicated to women should promote a world of and/both. Women need not choose death for their children in order to walk through the doors our ancestral sisters opened for us.  They deserve so much more. That is authentic feminism.

It is no small thing that we women are THE life-bearers of the entire species. We alone can grow human beings in our bodies, craft a cerebral cortex, knit a network of veins, erect a skeletal system.  We alone can nourish this life with a perfect food forged by our miraculous bodies.  We literally make the men and women of tomorrow with our very own cells. Now that’s power. A power given no man. A power and a privilege that should not be taken lightly. Or tossed away. Or aborted.

In our fight to have opportunities equal to those of men, some have “freed” themselves from what makes them uniquely women, confusing “equal to” with “same as”.  Eager to embrace the masculine, with all its power and promise, they have forsaken the feminine, abandoning a gift that is given to women alone.

Does our capacity to give and nurture life receive its proper attention during these celebrations of women? Is the vocation of motherhood promoted and revered, alongside all the other amazing accomplishments women have achieved?  Or does the lack of attention signify that motherhood is less fulfilling and a threat to career-building, and that abortion is a necessary evil in order for women to advance?

I am all for acknowledging the often heroic strides that women have made.  But I find it sad that Margaret Sanger, a eugenicist who founded Planned Parenthood is well-known and revered, while the extremely accomplished Dr. Mildred Jefferson, a medical pioneer who led the National Right to Life Committee, is overlooked. I find it disturbing that on our journey to the board room, operating room, and courtroom, our fertility has become a “disease” to be treated rather than a gift to be treasured. And I find it tragic that life within the womb has become so easily disposable, and now even life outside the womb, whether newborn or elderly, is dispensable.

By nature, women are the bearers of life. Not an easy task by any means.  A role that requires sacrifice, selflessness, and support.  A role that is uniquely ours, a power and a privilege to be respected and revered, and THAT too is something we should celebrate.

 

Reclaiming the Good Samaritan

 

Giving help

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Familiar to most people, the parable of the Good Samaritan seems to cut across all cultural and religious lines.  Who among us, whatever faith tradition or lack thereof, would not help the stranger in crisis?  Who would forsake the lost child, the thirsty traveler, the injured victim?  Responding to the needy is not a moral imperative relegated to Christians alone, but is embedded in the instinct of every person. We are “wired” to defend and protect the vulnerable, recognizing the inherent value of all human life. They are us. We are they.

Ironically, in a recent debate, “Christian abortionist” Dr. Willie Parker twisted the parable of the Good Samaritan to defend his abhorrent practice. While he views the woman in crisis as deserving “compassionate care”, he fails to recognize the personhood of the child growing within her, although conceding it is a living human being. He sees competing interests, operating under the misguided notion that killing the unborn child “helps” the woman. Rather than allowing both to live, he creates a false dichotomy, choosing to extinguish the life of the weakest and most vulnerable. A Good Samaritan he is not.

In contrast, a long-running television show of my youth exemplified what it means to be a true Good Samaritan. Based on the events of the Korean War, M.A.S.H. dramatized the tragedies and triumphs of a mobile army surgical hospital.  Army doctors treated our wounded soldiers so they could return to the battle lines or home to family.  But Army doctors also treated enemy soldiers, working furiously to save their very lives.  Our country enlisted medical professionals to save the lives of men who, only hours before, fought our soldiers in combat. Is that not the epitome of the Good Samaritan– seeing the humanity of our perceived “enemy” and doing everything we can to preserve his life?

All this illuminates why so many find the Congressional pro-abortion politicians’ repeated blocking of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to be shocking to the core.  A human baby, subjected to the violent act of abortion, manages to survive and is now separated physically from the mother.  Clearly wounded, the infant struggles to overcome injuries inflicted by invasive medical instruments, which the child just might do with the benefit of medical intervention.  The surviving child might be placed with one of thousands of couples waiting to grow their family through adoption.  If injuries inflicted are too severe to sustain life, at the very least, palliative care can be given to the infant, making him comfortable and cared for as he draws his last breath.

Appallingly, all Democratic Senators (save for three, including our Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey) blocked legislation that would have required basic medical attention to an abortion survivor.  In essence, these Senators voted to give legal protection to medical professionals who ignore the needs of a helpless, injured baby, allowing a viable child to suffer indefinitely.

Unlike the enemy soldier who was shot but then treated, these surviving babies are viewed as an “enemy” unworthy of any life-saving efforts.  Outside of the womb, separate from mother, this is no longer abortion, but its inevitable consequence, infanticide. The in-born human instinct to help is callously over-ridden by an evil agenda of death-no-matter-what.  The abortion survivor becomes the beaten man along the road, ignored by passers-by, with no Good Samaritan in sight.

And we are all the less for it.

News from DC: Projecting Life

by Katie Schriner, Internultrasound machine

On February 14th, EWTN hosted its weekly pro-life program outside of the White House in Washington D.C. Catherine Hardo, head anchor of EWTN, spoke to several different people about different subject matters within the pro-life movement. Some of those people include Melissa Ohden, Dr. Russell Moore and more who are involved in the pro-life movement. However, what makes this segment so unique is the opportunity that Melissa Ohden got with President Trump, Catherine getting a chance to have a conversation with Dr. Russell Moore about the roles of the pro-life movement, and how the Knights of Columbus donated their 1,000 ultrasound machines to pregnancy centers.

Melissa Ohden, an abortion survivor, got the opportunity to not only meet President Trump but also to have a conversation with him about her experience and the pro-life movement. She tells the story about how 41 years ago, her mother was forced to have an abortion done against her will. Melissa was soaked in a toxic salt solution for 5 days (normally this process takes 72 hours), and was “accidently” born alive. Melissa tells Catherine that meeting President Trump was “surreal” and she describes meeting him like she was meant to be here today to tell her story and how important survivors are in the pro-life movement. She also emphasizes how passionately he is committed to life and what he is willing to keep doing legislatively to protect life.

The discussion that Catherine Hardo had with Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religion Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, was very effective, highlighting the Pro-Life Leadership. The highlights of the leadership in the Pro-Life Movement includes religious background, power that triumphs over vulnerability, the power in elderly and disabled, and most importantly the idea of seeing people in terms of their usefulness in the movement. But what makes this conversation so effective is what Dr. Russell Moore says about people who dismiss pro-life views (faith issues). What he says about this is “faith certainly informs the conscience but faith does not create the conscience out of nothing” and that the conscience “deeply knows that something is wrong here” which he says is the reason why people are self-protective about this movement.

Apart from this, the Knights of Columbus do tons of volunteer work within communities; one of their biggest ones is protecting babies. In Virginia, the Knights of Columbus has donated 1,000 ultrasound machines to a Catholic Charities clinic. Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus states about 10 years ago, “We began this program with just two machines, we didn’t know how large it would grow. Now we have more than a 1,000 machines and these machines are saving tens of thousands of babies, soon to be 1 million lives.” How this program works is that local knights raise HALF of the necessary expenses of an ultrasound machine through a variety of efforts. Then the Supreme Council Culture of Life fund matches that amount, which is valued around 50 million dollars. The Knights’ efforts ensure that there’s at least one Knight Sponsored Machine in every state in the U.S. and also in other countries such as Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, Peru and Africa.

The efforts of the pro-life movement are highly powerful when it comes to the communities all around the country. What we can remember is that in doing the work, we raise not just money but awareness of the pro-life movement. We show that it is so effective in protecting innocent lives and saving tomorrow’s future.

Life and Death: Lessons My Mother Taught Me

Elderly holding hands

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

On January 18, 2019, I eagerly accepted the position of Education Director at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. My former career as a teacher coupled with my life-long advocacy of life issues led me to believe this was the job for which I had long been searching.  Part-time and close to home, I could still juggle the responsibilities of family life and volunteer work.  In addition, I was blessed to work with authentically kind, compassionate, and committed people with whom I felt an instant bond.

The overwhelming joy I felt at this new chapter in my life was tempered, however, just three days later, when we learned that my active 82 year-old mother had pancreatic cancer. Her doctor surmised that she might live until Easter. Suddenly, everything was re-prioritized.  How can I best spend these last precious months with my mom? How can I ease her pain? How can I help her and my dad, indeed all of our family, including her beloved 16 grandchildren prepare for her departure from this world?

As it turns out, my mom did not have a few months.  She had 18 days.  We were praying with her when she peacefully drew her last breath on February 8.  During her brief but intense illness, my mom endured excruciating pain, some from the cancer and some from the innumerable blood clots that riddled her entire body.  At times she called out in prayer, imploring God to take her, as her loved ones sat helplessly by, shedding tears as we stroked her face and held her hand.

When witnessing the slow but inevitable death of a loved one, there is a dark temptation to end their pain and hasten their journey home to God through doctor-prescribed suicide. But our family and its matriarch knew that was not our call.  While we sought the best palliative care for her, we knew there was a plan, a timetable, a moment long ago determined when she would transition into eternal life.  And as hard as her path was to get there, we could only love her on her way as best we could. During those 18 days, my mother gave us the ultimate pro-life witness: the peaceful surrender to life’s natural course, bravely bearing her suffering, giving US comfort with her courage, patience, and steadfast faith.

Such a testimony echoed a climactic moment 32 years earlier, when I returned home from college my freshman year to tell her I was pregnant. Seeing me crying in the kitchen, she became alarmed, thinking the very worst.  I could hardly speak the words, but when I did, she said, “Is that ALL?  I thought you were dying of cancer! A baby, we can deal with a baby!”  Having lost a 16 year-old daughter in a car accident many years earlier, my mother believed that the worst thing a parent can endure is the loss of a child.  My unexpected pregnancy was not an occasion for tears, but rather a chance to joyfully welcome new life.  Sadly, this lesson was reinforced all the more just a few weeks later when my brother and his wife lost their daughter, my mother’s first grandchild, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.   We grieved the loss of baby Ashley, while treasuring the life growing within my 18 year old body.

Is it any wonder that I now work for a pro-life organization, one whose mission is committed to promoting the dignity and value of human life from conception to natural death?  On my last outing with my mom, just days after learning of her terminal illness, I had the opportunity to show her where I would be working.  Pulling up in front of the office, I explained what I would be doing for the Federation.  She was happy for me, knowing that I was honored to do such important work with such good people. She didn’t mention it to me then, but I have since learned that my mother was a financial supporter of the PA Pro-Life Federation, dating back as early as 1990, when we were all still living in Scranton. She couldn’t have foreseen me working for the Federation, but now that I am, I feel sure she is blessing our good efforts from the other side.