The Pennsylvania Senate has approved the Down Syndrome Protection Act, House Bill 321, by a vote of 27-22.
The bill bans abortion for the sole reason of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The PA House previously passed the measure by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin.
The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill noted it was appropriate to consider the bill on National Child Day, calling it a common sense piece of legislation.
Speaking to people with Down syndrome, the Senator said, “We believe you have the right to be born and the right to enjoy a full and productive life.”
Another of the bill’s supporters, Senator Scott Martin said, “Disability rights begin in the womb.”
The bill is a response to the sky-high abortion rate for babies with Down syndrome. It has been estimated that the vast majority of children in the womb who are diagnosed with an extra chromosome are aborted.
He might call himself a progressive, but the Governor of Pennsylvania is standing directly in the way of progress, when it comes to pro-life advances in the Commonwealth.
Democrat Tom Wolf has staked out a position at odds with the state’s mainstream, when it comes to the life issues. He opposes any and all restrictions on abortion, towing the Planned Parenthood line time and time again.
He vetoed a common sense bill that would have banned brutal dismemberment abortions, where babies are torn limb by limb from their mothers’ wombs. The former volunteer clinic escort for Planned Parenthood opposes a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion, even though such a measure is supported by the vast majority of Americans.
He has gone so far as to pledge to veto any pro-life bill that comes to his desk. Undaunted, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this past spring passed House Bill 321, which would ban abortion for the sole reason of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The House approved the bill by a large, bipartisan majority. The measure is now awaiting action in the Pennsylvania Senate.
If the Senate follows the lead of the House and OK’s the bill, would Wolf stand in the way of people with disabilities being protected? Or would he at least acknowledge that children with special needs deserve special legal protection? Time will tell.
But all indications are that, if Wolf had his way, Pennsylvania would become another New York, legalizing abortions up to the moment of birth, while offering no care and consideration for babies born as a result of “botched” abortions.
Pennsylvania’s House and Senate retain pro-life majorities, so Wolf is clearly out of step with the state legislature. He has also distanced himself ideologically from the majority of the populace, who oppose most abortions, according to public opinion polls.
I know of people who are hoping and praying for a conversion of the Governor’s heart. Unless and until that happens, the state legislature is providing a critical firewall against radically pro-abortion policies.
But with another election, that firewall could easily melt away. That is why it is critical that, come 2020, pro-lifers become engaged and informed. Retaining pro-life majorities in the General Assembly is crucial to ensuring that Pennsylvania’s common sense limits on abortion, such as parental consent, informed consent, and 24-hour waiting periods, are maintained.
Without them, PA will lose the legislative ground we’ve gained…not to mention untold numbers of precious lives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In her new book Tipping Points: How to Topple the Left’s House of Cards, cable television host Liz Wheeler points out numerous abuses of liberty while also providing a blueprint for rebuilding America from the ruins created by radical far-left policies.
Among the abuses she highlights is a 2015 California law known ironically as the “California Reproductive FACT Act.”
With the swift-moving daily news stream, you might not remember this perverse piece of legislation, which required pregnancy resource centers to post ads for free abortions, funded by taxpayers, in their waiting rooms. As Wheeler deftly notes, “The California government was compelling speech by private citizens.” As a result, operators of pregnancy help centers “were forced to choose between violating their consciences and violating the law.”
Imagine—you set up a center to help empower pregnant women, and the state makes you advertise for a process that will take the life of a helpless preborn child. The word “unbelievable” just doesn’t cover it. The legislation was downright Orwellian in nature, placing the state in the role of monstrous Big Brother.
Wheeler reminds us that in March of 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the legal case which followed. In June of that year, the High Court ruled that the California statute in all likelihood violates the First Amendment right to free speech.
Justice Kennedy, then considered the “swing vote” on abortion-related cases, wrote a concurring opinion in which he described the law as a “paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought, and expression.”
Kennedy scolded California lawmakers stating it “is not forward thinking to force individuals to be an instrument for fostering public adherence to an ideological point of view they find unacceptable.”
The California law shows the extremes to which pro-abortion politicians will go in order to impose their extremist agenda. They are so committed to not only supporting but expanding abortion that they would readily pass measures forcing people to violate their consciences.
Thankfully, the pro-life movement is ever-vigilant, working to stop pro-abortion legislation in its tracks. But the threat of expansion of abortion is ever-present as long as Roe v. Wade remains in place.