Pro-Life Hero: Jess Socrates

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By Matthew Wagner, Education Director

Editor’s Note:  This post is a continuation of a series of about “Pro-Life Heroes”…individuals who are making a difference for the pro-life movement in their communities.  One of the things I’ve always been impressed with is how there are so many different talents within the pro-life movement. Jess Socrates, a pathologist in York PA has one such unique program to show the humanity of the pre-born child. Enjoy his story and stay tuned in the coming weeks for future “Pro-Life Heroes” blogs. If you know of someone we should talk to who is making a difference for those who can’t defend themselves, email lifelines@paprolife.org.

Matt: Tell me your background. Where did you grow up and what brought you to the United States?

Jess: I was born in the Philippines, a cradle Catholic. The majority of Filipinos are Catholic. I did all my education in the University of the Philippines where both of my parents were faculty. It was the only way all of us nine siblings could get an education. I immigrated to the US in 1976 to join my family. There is a longer story to this that has something to do with Martial Law in the Philippines. I initially did not want to come here but eventually decided that it was the best thing to do for my safety and future. No regrets. I did my Pathology residency at York Hospital where abortions were performed. The first time I had a fully-formed saline aborted baby in my hands, I asked my assistant what I should do with the baby next. She came over with a garbage can (red bag) and directed me to throw the dead baby in the trash. This was an experience that I can never forget. All aborted and miscarried children ended up in the garbage can – to be incinerated with the rest of the hospital’s biological waste. I told myself that I will not let this happen wherever I would work in the future.

Matt: Why is the sanctity of all human life so important to you?

Jess: Every person deserves to live his natural life. As a physician who took the Hippocratic Oath, which includes the phrase “I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion,” I am bound to respect the sanctity of human life before birth. Natural law dictates that no one can take life away from another.

Matt: Describe for me how you exercise respect for human life and how you got started doing this.

Jess: Every human is a living being should be allowed to live. No one should kill anyone regardless of a person’s age. Shortly after I started working at Hanover Hospital in 1980, I approached the administration and presented to them a simple plan. Instead of discarding remains of miscarried children who do not get a fetal death certificate in the red bag, I, the pathologist, would save these and eventually find a proper means to bury them. The hospital checked with the lawyers and approved my proposal. (In Pennsylvania, children miscarried before 16 weeks of gestation do not get a “fetal death certificate.” So, in the eyes of the law, they never existed.) I saved all remains in formaldehyde after removing all identification. I looked for opportunities to bury these children properly.  In a period of over thirty years, three groups of miscarried children were buried. The first children were buried in a Catholic Church graveyard; the second batch were placed in the coffin of a deceased with consent from family; the third were buried in the grounds of another Catholic church. Eventually, the hospital adopted a formalized program as described.

Matt: How long have you been doing this?

Jess: Thirty-eight years

Matt: How many babies would you say you have buried over the years?

 Jess: Approximately? At least 100

Matt: When you bury the babies, do you notify their next of kin?

Jess: YES. The parents are first asked if they are willing for the hospital to bury their deceased child’s remains. They sign a consent form. Their names and contact information are saved so that they can be informed when their child will be buried. The funeral services are open to immediate family.

Matt: What is your vision for this program?

Jess: All miscarried (and aborted) children should be given a proper funeral. Shared burial should be offered to parents who are considering abortion. The remains of their aborted child can be buried as well. Without getting into the politics, this program demonstrates to everyone that these children we are burying are people too. When the public becomes aware of this, their false perception that a baby in the womb is nothing but a piece of tissue will change. I feel that if this is done all throughout the country (or world for that matter) we will abolish abortion forever.

Matt: How would you suggest others who may be interested in doing something similar to what you are doing get started?

Jess: Determine if a local hospital buries miscarried children. If not, then there is an opportunity to get into this program. In my experience, it is easy to get the support of the community (funeral homes, florists, and cemetery). My hospital does not spend a single cent to get this program going. Everything is donated. It is not difficult either to get organizations and volunteers involved. Because these remains are very small, a coffin and a funeral can be shared by all hospitals in the vicinity.

Liberty Means Life!

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Independence Day is a great day to remember that our nation was founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Of course, you can’t have liberty or pursue happiness, unless you have life!

So as you gather with friends and family over the holiday to celebrate our nation’s independence, remind your loved ones of the importance of life by sharing with them information about the candidates who want to protect the pre-born. You can start by showing them this education piece comparing the pro-life candidate for US Senate Lou Barletta and his opponent Bob Casey. You can also show them this comparison of pro-life candidate for Governor Scott Wagner and the radically pro-abortion incumbent Democrat Governor Tom Wolf.

Thank you for educating people about the candidates who stand up for one of our nation’s founding principles, the right to life!

Safe, Legal, and Rare?

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By Matthew Wagner, Education Director
lifelines@paprolife.org

Once upon a time, abortion activists claimed they wanted abortions to be “safe, legal, and rare.”  They tried to say that no one was really “pro-abortion,” but that they thought it should be available in certain circumstances.  It’s interesting to consider how that position has changed over the years.

Do abortion activists believe abortion should be safe? We know abortions are never “safe” for the babies being killed, but recent history tells us abortion activists don’t really care about whether abortions are “safe” for the mother either.  Planned Parenthood and the rest of Big Abortion have worked tirelessly to oppose common sense regulations that would require abortion centers to meet basic health and safety standards.  They keep pushing for fewer and fewer regulations on the abortion pill, despite growing evidence it is not safe for the mothers. They ignore statistics about women injured in abortion, physically, mentally and emotionally. Even the most recent investigation into Planned Parenthood by Live Action reveals Planned Parenthood officials do not appear to care how safe the abortion is for the victims of sexual abuse. It appears that the only people they want to be safe are the abusers and sex traffickers they work to protect.

Do abortion activists believe abortions should be rare?  Again, the clear answer is no.  The abortion industry has worked for years to normalize abortion.  They want women who have had abortions to celebrate them and Big Abortion ostracizes and ignores women who regret the abortions they had. Abortion activists actively advocate for policies to make abortions more common and easier to obtain, rather than policies encouraging alternatives to abortion to make abortions rarer.

Do abortionists want abortions to be legal?  Not only do abortion activists want abortion to be legal, they advocate for legislation that will promote abortion rather than discourage it.

It is clear than that the abortion industry is no longer interested in abortions being safe, legal and rare.  Rather they want abortions on demand, through all stages of pregnancy, to be celebrated afterwards.  Most importantly, what they seem to care about more than anything is that abortions are lucrative, no matter what the cost to the mothers and their babies.

Help Us Preserve the Protect Life Rule

From National Right to Life:

The clock is running on a 60-day comment period regarding the proposed Protect Life rule to make changes to the Title X family planning program. While we expect the rule to be finalized, we are asking you to submit supportive comments using as guidelines the key points below.  Additionally, any experts, advocates, or public officials who have specialized concerns on the Title X program should also be encouraged to comment.

To submit a comment:

  1. Access the published proposed rule at this link:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/06/01/2018-11673/compliance-withstatutory-program-integrity-requirements#open-comment

  1. Write a message to Health and Human Services Secretary Azar using the KEY POINTS below.

 

KEY POINTS

  • Existing Title X regulations have blurred the line between abortion and family planning. The proposed Protect Life rule simply makes clear that abortion is not family planning.  The rule would direct that abortion facilities could not be in the same location as where family planning services are delivered.  The rule also states that Title X grantees may not refer for elective abortion.
  • The proposed rule does not cut one dime of funding for family planning. Instead it merely ensures that federal funding goes to health facilities that do not perform or promote abortion as family planning.
  • Title X funds would be directed to health facilities willing to comply with the restored regulations. (Of note, nationwide, of the roughly 4,000 Title X service locations, less than 443 are Planned Parenthood clinics).
  • There is widespread availability of facilities that do not provide abortion onsite.
  • Clinics that receive Title X funds (hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers, state public health departments, and others) already provide care to well over half the patients served by Title X.  Since it appears that few such grantees are co-located with abortion clinics, they should have little difficulty complying with the new regulations.
  • The proposed regulations will not “gag doctors” or “interfere with the doctor/patient relationship.” This argument is intended to divert attention from the real issue– the routine referral for elective abortion by federally funded agents.

Today Is My Birthday

Rebecca Homer 1st Place Sr. High

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation recently completed its annual Pro-Life Student Essay Contest, and as always the entrants were amazing and the judges had a difficult time choosing a winner.  This essay, written by Bethlehem Catholic High School 11th grade student Rebecca Homer of Quakertown, won first place in the Sr. High category:

The air was stifling hot as I glanced at the time: 10:22 AM. It was a Tuesday morning in August and my neighbors’ children were busy at play in the yard next door. The birds sang their song and as I stirred my tea alone at the table, it struck me again. A tidal wave of grief filled my being and I wept uncontrollably. My silent tears turned to sobbing as my stomach wrenched inside of me. My whole being was overcome with anguish as the pit in my very soul opened wide and poured out the torment I could no longer hold inside.

It had been twenty years now since I had left my job at Planned Parenthood. I counseled countless women in crisis and led every single one to abortions. As I looked outside, I remembered the hot August morning twenty five years ago when the woman next door was brought to my office. She shut her eyes and cried as we discussed the options for her eight-week old baby. I was excited to administer my fourth abortion of the day.

Today, my head pounds as I watch her two children play next door, unaware of their two siblings that I murdered myself. Their mother was pregnant with twins.

I rose from the table, poured a bowl of cereal, and slid back down into the wooden chair. I began to feel sick as I remembered the last conversation I ever had with my mother. She told me, “Abortion is the greatest wrong you ever could inflict upon yourself, your child, and your family.” Little did she know I would not only inflict these wrongs upon myself, my child, and my family, but also upon others, their children, and their families. I shivered as I remembered the day she passed away.

I am living all alone now, sipping away at my late morning tea. As my sorrows subside for a moment, I let my mind wander back to my dear husband who retired in the same year as I. He always wanted to raise children of our own, but I was never ready. I had a steady job and I loved my career. Why would I want to raise a child?

If I could only have him back for a day, I would embrace my sweet husband and stop everything to raise just one child.

How is it that ideas could change so drastically during one’s lifetime? As my eyes scan the walls around me, I muse in the vast emptiness of my own home. My old friends tell me they are “proud grandmothers of four” or “great-grandmothers to-be.” I sigh deeply in the midst of my own solitude and listen intently as the air fills my lungs with breath. As the wall clock ticks away lightly, the stillness of my home engulfs me entirely.

Another wave of crippling anxiety takes hold of my being. This time I am not only overwhelmed with grief, but with regret. I have spent my life murdering the children of those around me and I can no longer live with the thought of what I have done. Why did I not listen to my mother?

I buried my face in my hands and wept for all the women I robbed of motherhood, all the men I robbed of fatherhood, and all the children who will never know their brothers and sisters. Everyday, I find myself here, at the same wooden table, alone, and paralyzed at the thought of what years of my work has done.

I picked up my cane and rinsed out my dishes. As I walked back over to the window, I spotted the two children now sitting on the sidewalk. Contently, they passed a ball between themselves as their mother watched lovingly from the porch. A cascade of tears streamed from my eyes as the cacophony of children’s voices consumed my attention again. Will the torment of my past ever cease to haunt me?

I stumbled over to my calendar to find the date of the next appointment with my therapist. As I scanned the days of the week, my eyes fell upon today’s date: August seventh. Today is my seventy-third birthday. I turned around and froze. What have I done?

 

 

Missing Children

Kara Miller 1st Place Jr. High

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation recently completed its annual Pro-Life Student Essay Contest, and as always the entrants were amazing and the judges had a difficult time choosing a winner.  This essay, written by homeschooled ninth grader Kara Miller of Dillsburg, won first place in the Jr. High category:

When was I a choice? When was I a child? I was born at 25 weeks and 6 days. I was 1 pound, 12.8 oz. and 13.5 inches long. What makes me different from 25 week old babies in the womb? The only difference between me and them is location. Yet I was protected under law, and they are slaughtered.

In the 45 years since Roe v. Wade, more than 60 million American babies have been brutally murdered in the name of women’s rights.1 Worldwide, since 1980, nearly 1.5 billion have been slaughtered.2 That is 1.5 billion human beings, made in the Image of God, never allowed to see the light of day.

Some people believe abortion should be legal, while others do not. We can all agree, however, that each baby aborted was a potential life.

The fundamental question is when does life begin? If it begins at conception, then abortion is murder, and there should be no disagreement about the issue. If, however, it begins at birth, or really any point after conception, then it can be argued that there is nothing inherently wrong with abortion. According to an Embryology textbook, “The zygote and early embryo are living human organisms.”3 In 1981, the Senate concluded, “Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and is a member of the human species.”4 According to Dr. C. Ward Kischer, Professor Emeritus of Human Embryology, “Every human embryologist, worldwide, states that the life of the new individual human being begins at fertilization.”5 This means that abortion is murder.

Abortion should also be illegal for the sake of the babies, their parents, and the society.

The babies are heartlessly killed, and they are defenseless. Their short lives are shattered, almost before they begin.

The parents of aborted children have to live with the guilt of murder their entire lives. What makes it even worse is their sin is hidden, because many people don’t see abortion as wrong, and so they rarely have the relief of confession and justice. They lose a child, and they know it. They will miss, mourn, and remember that child for the rest of their lives.

The society is missing billions of people, their potential wasted.

People who are for abortion claim that unborn children are part of the woman’s body, and she should be able to choose what to do with it. The problem with this argument is that they are not her body. I have shown that each is, at conception, an individual human life, not part of the mother. If not, why does it have separate DNA, unique fingerprints and all the characteristics of a separate being?

In conclusion, abortion should be illegal for the sake of the babies, the parents, and the society. The pro-abortion arguments are not persuasive because a baby is not part of the mother’s body. Life begins at conception, and should be protected from that point forward.

 

  1. http://www.numberofabortions.com/ as of 8:15 AM 3/7/2018
  2. http://www.numberofabortions.com/ as of 8:17 AM 3/7/2018
  3. Moore, Dr. K. L., Persaud, Dr. T. V. N., Torchia, M. G. (1993) Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects https://www.justfactsdaily.com/the-science-of-abortion-when-does-life-begin/
  4. Official Senate Report from the Hearings of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, April 23-24 1981. https://www.liveaction.org/news/life-begins-at-conception-science-teaches/
  5. Kischer, Dr. C. W. Professor Emeritus of Human Embryology of the University of Arizona School of Medicine. (2017, March 22). ‘When Human Life Begins’ American College of Pediatricians. https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/life-issues/when-human-life-begins

 

 

Pro-Life Hero Carla Ezell

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Editors Note:  We are going to be doing a series of blog posts about “Pro-Life Heroes”…individuals who are making a difference for the pro-life movement in their communities. This first entry is from the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation SouthEast PA Coordinator Carla Ezell.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks for future “Pro-Life Heroes” blogs, and if you know of someone we should talk to who is making a difference for those who can’t defend themselves, email lifelines@paprolife.org.

My pro-life journey started in an Evangelism Explosion Class at my church in 2002.  In the class the speaker was talking about abortion, and the gentleman sitting next to me said, “You know who Margaret Sanger is?” And I said “Sure.”  God forgive me, but I didn’t want to sound ignorant to his question, but I hadn’t a clue. He went on to explain to me what Sanger’s beliefs were for African Americans, anyone of a minority race, and the physically and mentally challenged in America.  This gentleman pricked my interest enough to investigate who this woman was.  It wasn’t difficult.  Her interviews can be seen on the internet, and she wasn’t shy about her beliefs.  My surprise was that she got away with her intentions, and she is regarded as a progressive feminist to this very day.  Her influence spread as far as Nazi Germany before World War II.  Hitler admired her strong belief that mixed races and the mentally challenged didn’t have a place in society; therefore, they should be eliminated.  Margaret’s spirit still lives all over this world in countries that allow abortion, and here in America her spirit lives on in Planned Parenthood, NARAL, liberal pro-abortion feminists, and some hospitals.

A couple of years later, my husband and I had an opportunity to hear Alveda King, niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., speak at a pro-life convention.  It was then that I became convicted to share the pro-life message with my church.  I brought literature that could encourage women to opt against abortion and that encouraged women to take advantage of other options, such as counseling and adoption.  I was excited to give the information to the head of our Sunday school, and when I spoke with her, she in return seemed to be enthused with the literature I gave her.  She said she would talk to leadership, but three months later I hadn’t heard a word from her.  I approached her in the hall between services and asked why she never contacted me.  Her only explanation was “Leadership had changed.”  My heart sank.  I realized there was politics in the church, and I was too discouraged to fight leadership and their mindset.  I believe God wanted me to go outside the walls of the church and attain guidance and experience from those on the battlefield of saving the lives of children and women.

I was receiving the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation’s Lifelines newspaper, and I contacted a young woman that was the Southeast Coordinator of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and asked if she needed any help.  From there, I took classes with Amnion Pregnancy Crisis Center for counseling women who were considering abortion and post abortive women and their families.  I started to volunteer counsel at the Hope Pregnancy Center.  There was a seminar that was available through James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Ministry that I attended and was encouraged by the experience.

For the past four years I’ve been the Southeast Coordinator for the PA Pro-Life Federation.  I distribute the Lifeline newspaper and pro-life educational material throughout Philadelphia.  I go to community fellowships and schools, and I’ve been privileged to speak at churches against the tragedy of abortion.  For three years straight the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation has had a forum at my church to inform people of the progress of the pro-life work that is being performed in the state of Pennsylvania and the nation.  This past Black History Month in February, all my pro-life efforts within my church and my community came to fruition when Pastor Clenard Childress spoke for Sunday Worship and was well received.

I haven’t done everything right.  I’ve fallen prey to discouragement, laziness, and complaining along the way but my journey isn’t over yet and my dream now is to see the day that abortion is once again made illegal in Pennsylvania and across the country.

President Trump Continues to Defend Life

President Trump recently reminded people to vote for pro-life candidates. He was at the Susan B Anthony List’s Campaign for Life Gala to remind people to vote for pro-life candidates during the 2018 General Election in the fall.Check out this short clip from his speech!

Check out this short clip from his speech!

Pro-Life Not Just Pro-Birth

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“You’re not pro-life, you’re just pro-birth.”

If I have heard this argument once by big abortion and its apologists, I’ve heard it a thousand times, as has anyone who has been advocating for pro-life issues for any length of time.  It is meant to imply that those of us who are pro-life don’t really care about the baby and mother after birth.

To disprove this fallacy, one has to look no further than the horrific case of Alfie Evans. For those unfamiliar, Alfie is a two-year old boy in Great Britain who has been hospitalized since December, 2016 with seizures of an undiagnosed disorder.  The hospital has withdrawn his life support, but Alfie continues to survive and fight. Now if the pro-life community didn’t care about life after birth, we would be unsympathetic to the plight of Alfie and his parents, yet it is in fact pro-lifers who have rallied to their side and continue to fight for Alfie to be transferred to a hospital willing to provide him the treatment he needs.  Pro-abortion activists, on the other hand remain eerily silent.

For further evidence of how much pro-lifers care about an individual’s entire life, one can simply point to all the work pro-life pregnancy centers do to help mothers of newborns as well as the babies with everything from formula to clothing, car seats to high chairs. Many pro-life pregnancy centers even provide vocational training and other education for both new mothers and fathers.

The reality is, it is pro-life advocates who truly care about the individual’s entire life from conception to natural death, and that is why we continue to remind people that there is always a reason to choose life!

Speaker Turzai’s Impassioned Speech Supporting the Down Syndrome Protection Act

During the floor debate for House Bill 2050, the Down Syndrome Protection Act that would protect babies who have a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, Mike Turzai, the Speaker of the House and sponsor of House Bill 2050 took the rare step of giving up the rostrum to speak on the bill in defense of precious babies. Please take a few minutes to view his passionate speech. House Bill 2050 passed overwhelmingly by a 139 – 56 bipartisan majority and now goes to the Senate for consideration.