Pennsylvanians Join Vice-President at March for Life

28 Marchers making their way up Constitution Ave

People from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be joining Vice-President Mike Pence at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. today in a show of solidarity with pregnant women, their children, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable Americans.

“We thank the Vice-President for his steadfast commitment to the most important human rights issue of our time—the right to life,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life. “We also commend President Donald Trump for taking concrete steps to ensure that protecting innocent human life is not merely a campaign slogan, but a matter of public policy.”

President Trump recently reinstated the Mexico City policy, which ensures that our hard-earned tax dollars will not be spent on organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas. He has also nominated Cabinet members who are dedicated to defending the sacredness of life. And he has pledged his support for the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, which would guarantee that tax dollars are safeguarded.

“The Pennsylvanians who are marching today are thankful to the Trump Administration and to those members of Congress who want to protect our tax dollars from being spent on the abortion industry. Public opinion polls show that 60 percent of Americans agree that their tax money should not be used for abortion.  We thank the Administration and the House for taking to heart the will of the people,” Gallagher added.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans gather in Washington, D.C. each January to commemorate the anniversary of the tragic 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion throughout the country.

“Those who attend the March for Life are marching in memory of the more than 59 million preborn children killed through legal abortion over the past 44 years. They are also showing their solidarity with the countless mothers and fathers who continue to grieve the loss of those children,” Gallagher said.

“They also march with the hope that comes with news that the number of abortions are declining both in the Commonwealth and across the country. No pregnant woman in Pennsylvania should feel as if she is alone—concrete help and support are available by calling the Real Alternatives hotline at 1-888-Life-aid,” Gallagher added.   

 

 

Good News–Abortion Totals in PA Drop to Record Low!

babies on a light background

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The number of abortions in Pennsylvania declined in 2015 to a record low—a welcome development for women and children in the Keystone State, according to the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life.

Statistics just released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health show 308 fewer abortions occurred in PA in 2015 compared to 2014. In all, 31,818 abortions took place in PA in 2015—the lowest number ever recorded in the Commonwealth.

“The downward trend in abortions in the Keystone State is encouraging news for Pennsylvania women and families,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. “Technological developments such as 4D Ultrasound have helped show the humanity of the preborn child, and have aided in strengthening the bond between mother and baby.”

Pennsylvania women and children are also benefiting from the comprehensive counseling and life-affirming support offered by pregnancy resource centers, which provide everything from ultrasounds to life skill classes, and from diapers to daycare referrals for pregnant women and their families.

“The abortion rate in Pennsylvania would be much higher were it not for the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc. (www.realalternatives.org ),” Gallagher added. “This ground-breaking program provides women with encouragement and resources so that they are fully supported during their pregnancies. Real Alternatives centers, along with other pro-life pregnancy help centers throughout the Commonwealth, are offering a much-needed lifeline to women and children.”

“When women receive comprehensive support and affirmation, they are far more likely to choose life for their babies,” said Kevin Bagatta, President and CEO of Real Alternatives, Inc.

The Department of Health figures indicate that abortion totals decreased in a number of counties, including Philadelphia, Dauphin, Lehigh, and York, helping to bring about the statewide decline in abortions.

Troubling, however, is the number of repeat abortions. The figures show that in more than 47 percent of cases, Pennsylvania women who had abortions in 2015 had had at least one previous abortion and, in some cases, four or more prior abortions.

“Women in challenging circumstances deserve better than abortion,” said Gallagher. “We must continue to reach out to women to let them know that help is available for themselves and their babies—and that no one has the right to coerce them into having an abortionist end the lives of their children.”      

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The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation is a grassroots right-to-life organization with members statewide.  As the state affiliate of National Right to Life, PPLF is committed to promoting the dignity and value of human life from conception to natural death and to restoring legal protection for preborn children.

Senator Toomey’s Record on the Life Issues

Senator Pat ToomeyBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director  gallagher@paprolife.org

Now that we are within 100 days of the November 8th general election, people are starting to pay more attention to the nation’s political campaigns. A key question on the minds of those who view sanctity of life as the most important issue is how incumbent legislators have voted on both pro-life and pro-abortion legislation.

Thankfully, National Right to Life makes it easy for us. You can just go to www.nrlc.org, click on the Legislation tab, then on U.S. Senate Scorecard (2015-2016). There, you can view a comprehensive list of relevant legislation, along with the votes cast by each state’s U.S. Senators.

The NRLC scorecard for the 114th Congress, combined sessions, shows that Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey voted in favor of a ban on late-term abortions—a ban which would protect unborn children and their mothers from the harm of abortion once the preborn baby is 20 weeks old. Senator Toomey also opposed the Murray Amendment, designed to provide one billion dollars to abortion operations, including Planned Parenthood. He also opposed the Collins Amendment to preserve federal funding of Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s largest abortion operation.

Senator Toomey supported passage of a pro-life reconciliation bill to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal anti-life provisions of Obamacare. In short, Senator Toomey scored a 100 percent pro-life voting record on the National Right to Life scorecard.

With high-tech tools such as this scorecard, voters can make informed decisions about candidates running for re-election to Congress. To view a complete comparison on Senator Toomey and his opponent Katie McGinty regarding the life issues, please click here.

Life Lessons in “Finding Dory”

DoryBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I think you could draw many life lessons from the Disney movie, “Finding Dory.”

The long-awaited sequel to the cinematic classic “Finding Nemo” tells the story of one brave fish’s quest to find her parents.

Dory suffers from short-term memory loss. But at the beginning of the movie, we see her loving parents are very supportive of her and celebrate her every accomplishment.

This brought to my mind a couple of key points. One is how too many in the medical community often discourage parents whose unborn children have been diagnosed with disabilities or difficult health problems.

It has been reported, for instance, that the abortion rate for a Down Syndrome diagnosis is 90 percent. Unfortunately, too many doctors fail to offer encouragement to parents who have been given a challenging prenatal diagnosis, focusing on the hardships rather than the blessings.

Abortion activists demand exceptions in abortion restrictions for “fetal anomalies,” which is a euphemism for disabilities or medical problems. But, just because someone is handicapped in some way, that does not make them any less human. In fact, caring for that individual, showing compassion to her, can actually make us, in a sense, more human.

Also noteworthy is that a character who tries to help Dory–Hank the octopus–also has a disability, in that he has one tentacle missing. Yet, he proves very adept at moving himself–and the story–forward.

The other thought that crossed my mind was on the other side of the spectrum, the elderly. Someone who has been diagnosed with dementia is also deserving of our protection–especially from those who would have that individual succumb to euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Kudos to the creators of “Finding Dory” by celebrating true diversity–the diversity that comes from those who are differently-abled. May our children learn the movie’s life lessons and carry them on throughout their lives.

Texas Abortion Ruling is A Wake-Up Call

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I have often wondered what it felt like for pro-life activists the day the men of the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. To see abortion-on-demand legalized throughout the country must have been a profoundly painful feeling. But even those with much foresight could not have envisioned the aftermath of Roe: more than 58 million dead…countless numbers of women maimed and wounded…legions of men forced to grapple with the reality of lost fatherhood.

But I do know what it felt like on June 27, 2016, when the Supreme Court handed down Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. I felt such an overwhelming sadness, knowing that the women of Texas would no longer have the safeguards that protected their health and safety when entering abortion centers. It was a stinging defeat, and I fear for our nation.

Then, I remembered something: Justice Stephen Breyer had written the decision. Breyer had been appointed by President Bill Clinton. And I, in a completely misinformed and misguided vote, had once cast my ballot for Clinton.

I understand that I am only one individual. But in that moment, I realized that a mistake I had made long ago had contributed, if only in a small way, to the disastrous court ruling.

I know I will never make that mistake again. I will never vote for a President who would appoint pro-abortion Justices to the Supreme Court. Because, although justice in America is supposed to be blind, it sees too often the talking points of the abortion industry and regurgitates them.

This Supreme Court decision is a wake-up call. The most important aspect of Election 2016 is the course it will set for the Supreme Court. A President who pledges to appoint pro-abortion Justices will expand Roe. And that would haunt us for generations to come.

Stop Dismemberment Abortions

PA Pro-Life Federation Calls for End to Horrors of Dismemberment Abortion

Joins in call for swift passage of Dismemberment Ban Legislation

 HARRISBURG, PA. –The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation today joins a bipartisan group of legislators to call for the swift passage of the Dismemberment Ban in the Pennsylvania legislature.  These barbaric abortions, mostly performed in the second trimester, are brutal for babies and harmful for mothers.  They need to be outlawed.

“These common abortions are performed on fully developed, preborn babies at their most vulnerable, and when they should be the safest,” said Maria Gallagher, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Legislative Director.  “When doctors in Philadelphia can operate on these tiny humans while they are still in their mother’s womb to save their lives, it is barbaric and cruel to be pulling them apart limb-from-limb in the most excruciatingly painful way possible.”

Dismemberment abortions, which are performed on unborn babies as old as 24 weeks in Pennsylvania occur after the baby has brain waves, legs, arms, every organ in place, and have even developed teeth and fingernails.  This abortion method has been described by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Gonzales v. Carhart as a procedure that is “laden with the power to devalue human life”.  Of the approximately 1 million abortions performed annually in this country, almost 9% are performed on these pre-born babies.  Approximately 1,550 Pennsylvanians died from this abortion method in 2014.

Former abortionist, Dr. George Flesh has been quoted as saying:

“Tearing a developed fetus apart, limb by limb, is an act of depravity that society should not permit. We cannot afford such a devaluation of human life, nor the desensitization of medical personnel it requires. This is not based on what the fetus might feel but on what we should feel in watching an exquisite, partly formed human being dismembered.”

“Ultimately, the taking of any human life, especially the most vulnerable among us, is a tragedy and should be illegal,” stated Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Pennsylvania affiliate of National Right to Life.  “Imagine the outcry if once a day, someone walked in to a Pennsylvania nursery and brutally killed 4-5 babies by ripping them apart…yet that’s what is happening to these babies in their mother’s womb and 61% of Pennsylvanians agree this is wrong and must end now!”

We urge the General Assembly to quickly pass this legislation.

Diagram of a dismemberment abortion

Diagram of a dismemberment abortion

Do You Know How Many Babies from Your County Were Aborted?

The annual Pennsylvania Department of Health report about abortion statistics may look like just a bunch of numbers to some people, but to those of us who are pro-life, each number represents an innocent life lost to abortion.

In 2014, Pennsylvania lost 18 more babies to abortion than it did in 2013, according to the report. That’s a 0.1-percent increase – a tiny number to statisticians; but to us, it’s almost a whole kindergarten class of children who were denied their right to life.

The state statistics show 32,126 abortions occurred in the Keystone State in 2014. The vast majority of the abortions occurred in four counties: Allegheny, Dauphin, Northampton, and Philadelphia.

But every county lost babies to abortion in 2014. Whether you live in a big city or in the backwoods, your neighborhood is missing babies because their moms had abortions. Below are the numbers of abortions reported, based on the county where the woman lives:

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PAabtn2PAabtn3Click here to find the full state abortion report for 2014.

The good news is that the 2014 total represents a 51.2 percent decrease from the record high number of 65,777 in 1980. The dramatic decrease in abortions over the past few decades can be attributed to a number of factors, including protective laws such as the Abortion Control Act, which provides for informed consent, parental consent, and 24-hour waiting periods for abortion.

Much work still remains. Please consider getting involved with one of our pro-life chapters in a county near you. You could help save a baby’s life. Click here to find a chapter in your area.

Report: 18 More Babies Die in Abortions in 2014; 32,126 Total

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Abortions increased slightly statewide in Pennsylvania in 2014, according to figures released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“Even a slight increase in the abortion totals is troubling,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the state affiliate of National Right to Life. “Eighteen more preborn children lost their lives to abortion in 2014, compared with the previous year. That’s nearly the equivalent of one kindergarten class,” said Gallagher.FIG6

The DOH statistics show 32,126 abortions occurred in the Keystone State in 2014. The vast majority of the abortions occurred in four counties: Allegheny, Dauphin, Northampton, and Philadelphia.

Still, the 2014 total represents a 51.2 percent decrease from the record high number of 65,777 in 1980. The dramatic decrease in abortions over the past few decades can be attributed to a number of factors, including protective laws such as the Abortion Control Act, which provides for informed consent, parental consent, and 24-hour waiting periods for abortion.

The closing of abortion centers, the advent of 4D ultrasound technology, and the rise of social media have also had an effect in lowering abortion totals over the last decade.

“The abortion rate in Pennsylvania would also be much higher were it not for the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc. (www.realalternatives.org ),” Gallagher added. “This ground-breaking program provides women with comprehensive counseling and material aid so that women are fully supported during their pregnancies.

“Real Alternatives centers, along with other pro-life pregnancy help centers throughout the Commonwealth, are offering a much-needed lifeline to women and their families. Women can receive everything from diapers to day care referrals, and from mentoring to maternity clothes, thanks to these incredible centers,” Gallagher said.

January Events to Mark 43 Years of Roe, Mourn 58 Million Aborted

January is a busy month in the pro-life world. This January 22 will mark the 43rd year since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade.

ErieMarchforLife16

Erie March for Life on Jan. 9

The infamous abortion decision opened the doors to abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. In the past 43 years, more than 58 million preborn babies have been aborted in the U.S.

ErieMarchforLife2-16To recognize this massive tragedy and to call for renewed protections for life in the womb, pro-lifers across the state are planning events in January. Please consider joining your fellow Pennsylvania pro-lifers this month.

March for Life
Many Pennsylvanians will travel by bus to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., joining hundreds of thousands of others in front of the U.S. Supreme Court steps to call for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. If you are looking for a bus to the March, contact our office at 717-541-0034 or lifelines@paprolife.org.

Gosnell Movie in Annville
The Lebanon County Republican Committee will host a free screening of the award-winning documentary film, “3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19 at the historic Allen Theatre, 36 E Main St, Annville.

The film documents the events surrounding the Kermit Gosnell abortion clinic tragedy in Philadelphia. Gosnell was convicted of murdering three newborn babies and contributing to the death of a female patient.

Pro-life Senator John Rafferty, who is featured in the film, will be on hand to greet viewers and comment on the Gosnell case. Running time for the movie is approximately one hour.  The screening is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted.

Pro-Life Breakfasts
Three of the Federation chapters will host special pro-life breakfasts near the anniversary of Roe. Please consider joining one of these special events:

ERIE PEOPLE FOR LIFE 38TH ANNUAL PRO-LIFE BREAKFAST — 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. January 16, 2016 at the Bayfront Convention Center, 1 Sassafras Pier Erie. Special guest speaker is Steven Mosher, President, Population Research Institute.

SCRANTON RESPECT LIFE PRAYER BREAKFAST — Saturday, January 30 hosted by the Pennsylvanians for Human Life Scranton Chapter. Lori Kehoe from the National Right to Life Committee will be the guest speaker.

MERCER COUNTY ANNUAL PRO-LIFE BREAKFAST – 9 a.m., Saturday, February 13 at the Park Inn by Radisson, 3377 New Castle Rd, West Middlesex. The cost is $15 for adults, $5 for children and students.  The keynote address will be given by Wesley J. Smith, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.  The event is sponsored by Pro-Life of Mercer County.  For further information and to reserve a seat, please call Joanne Schell at 330-448-4577, Susan Wallace 724-588-0775 or Brian O’Malley at 724-854-5433, or email Brian at prolifemercer@gmail.com .

Pro-Life Rallies in Pennsylvania
Several of our chapters also are hosting rallies and marches this month to mark the anniversary of Roe and the deaths of millions of preborn babies. People for Life, our Erie chapter, held its annual Erie March for Life on Jan. 9. Check out photos from the event on People for Life’s Facebook page.

Upcoming rallies include:

GETTYSBURG ANNUAL RALLY FOR LIFE — Noon on Friday, Jan. 22 at the Adams County Courthouse, 111 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg.  All are welcome. The Rally is sponsored by Adams County Chapter, Pennsylvanians for Human Life.  For further information, email ruthsantino@yahoo.com.

LEBANON ANNUAL RALLY FOR LIFE – Noon on Friday, Jan. 22 at the intersection of 8th and Cumberland Streets in downtown Lebanon.  All are welcome.  Members of the Lebanon County Chapter, Pennsylvanians for Human Life, will participate in the event. For further information, email sandrapav@verizon.net.

Check our Chapter Events page for more upcoming pro-life events in Pennsylvania.

Saving Mothers and Unborn Babies from Violence

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
gallagher@paprolife.org

I was reading a health insurance newsletter when an alarming statistic caught my eye: according to a study, each year–each year!–324,000 pregnant women are battered by their intimate partners. That means more than a half million people are at risk, when you consider that each of those women is carrying a vulnerable baby.

SadwomanAdd to that the fact that the number one cause of traumatic death for pregnant women and women who have recently given birth is murder. Of those women killed, a sizable percentage are murdered by their intimate partners.

Abused women are also more likely to suffer from depression, pregnancy complications, and substance abuse. Also, keep in mind that statistics show that 60 percent of abortions are coerced. In many of those cases, the abuser may do the coercing, threatening a woman with violence, loss of shelter, or loss of income if she does not agree to abort her child.

Domestic violence poses a profound threat to preborn children. In many cases, the violence in the home can lead women straight to an abortion facility.

This is one of the reasons pregnancy support centers are so valuable. They can serve as first responders, attending to the needs of a battered pregnant woman. They can help empower a woman so that she leaves her violent situation, thereby protecting both herself and her preborn baby.

If you suspect a pregnant woman you know is being abused, it is important that you provide her with support, a listening ear, and make her aware that she has options to get to a place of safety. For some tips on how to talk to a woman in such a situation, click here.

And for the nearest pregnancy help center in Pennsylvania, click here.

Domestic violence is undeniably a contributing factor to abortions in this country. When we empower pregnant women to seek freedom from abuse, we provide a critical lifeline to both mother and child. There are many reasons the heartbreaking tragedy of abortion remains legal in this country. Domestic violence is one of them.