We Protect Butterflies–Why Not Babies?

ButterflyBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I celebrated the first day of summer this year with a trip to a nearby butterfly garden. Entering that sacred space was a breathtakingly beautiful experience. I stood in awe as these elegant creatures fluttered above my head, then gracefully descended to a leaf, a flower, or a slice of pineapple. The intricacy of their design delighted my eyes and captivated my heart. As I was preparing to leave this lovely sanctuary, I noticed a sign which indicated that taking a butterfly out of this protective space was not permitted. A garden guide carefully checked our bags and clothes to make sure that we had no butterflies tagging along. At that moment, it struck me what care, concern, and compassion are shown to these delicate insects. How can it be that people universally recognize the beauty of butterflies–but not the human child cocooned in a mother’s womb? Why do so many invest so much time and energy in protecting butterflies, while many babies are unprotected, courtesy of the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Roe v. Wade? While gazing at a butterfly can be an awesome experience, the butterfly’s beauty pales in comparison to that of a baby. I hope to live to see the day when all babies are permitted a chance to live outside their mothers’ wombs–and to see the mysterious glamour of butterflies with their own eyes.




Troubled Harrisburg Abortion Center Closed

Hillcrest closed sign 2017

Photo credit: Undefeated Courage

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

The sign on the door says it all—the troubled Hillcrest abortion facility in Harrisburg is closed until further notice.

The PA Department of Health ordered Hillcrest to suspend operations after a surprise inspection June 5th uncovered new safety violations.

“The department concluded that it was no longer safe for the facility to continue providing medical services to women,” said PA Health Department Secretary Karen Murphy

Several Pennsylvania state Senators recently sent a letter to the Secretary of the PA Department of Health, asking why the abortion center’s license had not been revoked.

The letter followed the release of a 44-page document noting the health and safety failures of the long-time abortion operation.

Violations included everything from failing to maintain proper medical credentials to maintaining supplies that were 13 years old. Hillcrest also performed a number of abortions without having a nurse present. In addition, staff members failed to undergo the criminal background checks mandated for seeing patients under 18 years old.

Hillcrest’s troubles date back at least six years, when the abortion outfit was first cited for safety failures. The abortion center has been cited four times since, with the latest report suggesting that the violations have become more egregious.

Pennsylvania passed a law in 2011 requiring abortion facilities to meet basic health and safety standards. The law was a response to the massive tragedy in West Philadelphia, where abortionist Kermit Gosnell was ultimately convicted of killing three full-term babies and causing the death of a female immigrant patient, Karnamaya Mongar.


Jury’s Verdict in Philadelphia Abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s Trial

The following statement can be attributed to Michael Ciccocioppo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, following today’s verdict in the murder trial of  abortionist Kermit Gosnell: 

Gosnell“The Kermit Gosnell case is a tragedy on so many levels, not just for our Commonwealth but for our nation. Officials believe Gosnell actually killed hundreds of newborn babies and injured their mothers, but he destroyed most of the evidence.  These were heinous crimes and Gosnell had to be held accountable,” Ciccocioppo said.        

“For the sake of all Gosnell’s victims, let us never forget the rampant disregard for life that was allowed to continue for decades in our state. We hope that in the future politics will not stand in the way of protecting the health and safety of women and newborns. 

“In the wake of the Gosnell tragedy, Governor Tom Corbett and the state legislature took action to ensure that abortion facilities would be regularly inspected and would be subject to the same standards as outpatient surgery centers. 

“This is really the most that can be done under the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which brought us abortion on demand and the unspeakable tragedy of Gosnell.  It’s time to take a second look at Roe—in memory of Gosnell’s victims,” Ciccocioppo added.

The untold pro-life side of the Abington abortion dispute

Recently, an eastern Pennsylvania health system announced plans to stop offering abortions once it merges with a Catholic health system next year.

Now, the planned partnership is rumored to fall apart because, you guessed it, people are upset about ending abortions.

Abington and Holy Redeemer health systems have not announced the details of the planned merger, but Abington officials said it plans to continue offering non-abortion reproductive services.

News articles in the past few days emphasize the outrage of doctors, clergy, patients and others who don’t like the decision. People are filing petitions and threatening to quit, inundating top hospital administrators with letters, and more – all because they want abortions to continue.

And news articles give the impression that nothing has been said or done on the pro-life side. It takes a little digging to find out how involved pro-lifers have been at Abington.

A 2010 Philadelphia Inquirer article on Abington Memorial Hospital’s website sheds some light on the community’s pro-life stance.
According to the article: “For as long as anyone at Abington can remember, one subject has dominated the public portion of the annual (hospital board) meeting: abortion. Members of the antiabortion community, filling the room, hoped and prayed (2010) would be the year, finally, the board would change its policy.”

During that 2010 meeting, the Rev. Mark Rudolph told the board how the hospital saved his son’s life after a serious car accident.

“How can a hospital that’s so committed to skill and ability to preserving life also have a hand in destroying it?”

Two pro-life physicians at Abington also spoke, and a petition signed by 4,000 people was given to the board asking them to end abortion practices at the hospital. In 2009, a similar petition had 3,000 signatures, according to the article.

Along with attending the meetings, people from the pro-life community met every month outside the hospital for a prayer vigil to end abortions. This tradition has been going on for 30 years.

Finally, in 2012, the merger brought hope amid the persistent prayers and petitions. The health system agreed to stop performing abortions when it merges with Holy Redeemer.

Sadly, though, the recent news reports do not mention these people’s long-term efforts to defend the unborn.

Hopefully, Abington will remember the passion these pro-life people have for protecting innocent lives and stick to its plan to stop doing abortions.

David and Goliath revisited

Sometimes we may feel like we’re in a David and Goliath battle.

Powerful leaders reverse the pro-life progress we’ve made with a snap – measures that took us years to accomplish. And loud voices from the pro-abortion side shout out insults and lies as we try to defend the unborn.

Sometimes we feel alone on the field – a young person with a sling against a giant warrior. We feel discouraged, unprepared, inept, and afraid. We want to give up.

Two of prominent pro-life leaders shared similar feelings during the National Right to Life Convention in June.

Lila Rose, the young founder of Live Action, told a story of her first attempt at pro-life advocacy. When she was a young child, she decided to begin a pro-life group with her friends. Rose enthusiastically planned meetings and projects to help protect the unborn. Then one day, none of her friends showed up.

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte also works in a lonely position. A freshman legislator from New Hampshire, she is the only pro-life woman in the Senate.

Ayotte was one of the first Senators to speak out in support of defunding Planned Parenthood in the 2011 budget battle and later voted to not give them $300 million, according to the Susan B. Anthony List. But Planned Parenthood still receives government support.

Rose and Ayotte could have stopped trying after those first attempts, feeling discouraged and beaten. But they didn’t.

Rose went on to expose illegal practices in abortion centers, gaining national exposure. Her undercover videos display the sad fact that many abortion providers support sex-selection abortions, sex trafficking and abuse.

As for Ayotte, she is now considered to be one of presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s top picks for vice president. And she promised to continue fighting in the Senate for the lives of the unborn.

Most of us will never be a Lila Rose, a Sen. Ayotte, or a King David. But like them, we can stand firm in the knowledge that our work will restore the value of human life.

We too can save lives in our communities – if we never give up.

Staying informed about the health care law

You probably have heard about abortion coverage in the new health care law, but how much do you know about it?

If your answer is “not much,” you should read an article on LifeNews.com that outlines the abortion funding and medical rationing provisions in the new law. 

If you want to learn even more details about abortion and the law, you can follow the article link to a report from the Family Research Council; and if you’re really interested, there’s another link to the health care law itself – all 907 pages.

As we pro-lifers continue to speak out against the law’s dangerous implications for human life, we need make it a priority to understand what it requires. A well-informed argument against abortion funding and medical rationing will demonstrate just how serious we are about protecting human life — from beginning to end.

PA Pro-Life Federation Chapters present at the 2012 NRL Convention

By Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director ciccocioppo@paprolife.org

Gary Cangemi, of Scranton, leads a workshop about his cartoon, “Umbert the Unborn.”

Erie People for Life chapter President Tim Broderick and Scranton Pennsylvanians for Human Life chapter Chairman Gary Cangemi were among dozens of workshop presenters from across America at the 2012 National Right to Life Convention in Arlington, VA, June 28 to 30.

Broderick’s workshop was titled, “Chapter Activities: The Importance of Seeing and Understanding ‘The Big Picture.’” He used many photos of various activities performed by volunteers at his chapter to illustrate the difference that a local chapter can make for life. For more info on the chapter, visit www.peopleforlife.org .

Cangemi has become an annual presenter for NRL. His workshop featured the cartoon character he created, “Umbert the Unborn,” to demonstrate the humanity of the unborn child in lighthearted, yet poignant ways. His workshop included many of his cartoon strips, a game of “Unborn Babies In Jeopardy,” the sketching of a new original cartoon strip with audience input and singing distinctly pro-life songs set to familiar tunes in the public domain. For more info on Umbert, visit www.umberttheunborn.com .

PA Pro-Life Federation Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling

Harrisburg, PAToday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision about President Barack Obama’s health care law, which includes public funding for abortion and provisions promoting euthanasia.

Michael Ciccocioppo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, responded to the ruling’s effects on abortion and euthanasia, saying: “This is a deeply disturbing ruling, which will have profound implications for the right to life. The law is riddled with so many dangerous abortion and rationing provisions that make all Americans vulnerable to any number of life-threatening mandates from the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Therefore, the next president and Congress must repeal the law and enact a new health care reform law that must include clear and unconditional provisions stating that nothing in the law shall be construed to promote, fund or encourage abortion, medical rationing or euthanasia.”

Pro-life group that helps human trafficking victims doesn’t get government money

A recent government funding issue involving human trafficking and abortion shows just where our politicians’ priorities are.

In an opinion piece written for the New York Daily News on Sunday, Steve Wagner discusses the “highly effective work” of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Services to help victims of human trafficking.

Wagner, a former director of the human trafficking program at the Department of Health and Human Services, writes the “well-regarded” organization has helped human-trafficking victims from about 64 countries.

Despite its strong record as a leader in the effort, the office’s funding recently was blocked by the Obama administration. Read the article here.

The reason? The organization does not offer abortion-related services. Wagner writes:

“In May 2011, the federal Department of Health and Human Services decided its human trafficking grant-making process would prioritize those who would provide ‘family planning services and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.’”

The Obama administration would rather stubbornly cling to their pro-abortion politics than give money to an effective organization that is caring for victims of abuse around the world.

This issue shows just how little value some government officials put on human life – unborn or enslaved.


Choosing hope: Two women take different paths with risky pregnancies


This week, I read two stories about different women whose unborn babies were most likely to die before birth.

A Miami, Florida, couple almost lost their baby girl in the womb. Doctors found a tennis ball-sized tumor growing on the unborn infant’s mouth, and said she probably wouldn’t survive birth.

The second story came from a heartbreaking blog post from a woman who found out her pregnancy would likely result in miscarriage. Her baby’s heart beat was slow, and it wasn’t growing. After remembering the pain of an earlier miscarriage, she contemplated an abortion.

The Miami couple continued to hope and sought another doctor. They found a surgeon who operated on the baby in utero and removed the tumor – a procedure that was the first of its kind. The child was born several months later, healthy and strong. Read more about it here: http://www.lifenews.com/2012/06/21/worlds-first-surgery-removes-tumor-from-unborn-babys-lips

The blogger’s story ended differently. She decided to have an abortion, concluding that there was no good choice in her situation. Read about it here:  http://boingboing.net/2012/06/20/the-only-good-abortion-is-my-a.html

But I believe she did have a better choice than abortion. She even mentioned it in her blog when she writes:  “I want the doctors to be wrong. I want to have one of those miracles where everything turns out to be okay and I am relieved to find that I haven’t actually lost everything.”

There is no hope in an abortion, a termination. When someone chooses to have an abortion, they erase the chance for a miracle, in these cases for the birth of a child. Hope doesn’t guarantee rosy endings, but it leaves the future open to possibility.

The Miami couple put their hope on the line when they took a chance on a brand new medical procedure. Their hope resulted in something wonderful – a healthy baby girl.