Live Action: All the Way Pro-Life

Lila Rose

By Katy Schriner, intern for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

In 2003, at the age of 15, Lila Rose decided that she wanted to create a presentation that showed the reality of abortion and to expose what abortion does to the preborn child. In 2006, at 18 years old, she started doing undercover investigations of the abortion industry. By 2008, Live Action was born, legally formed as a non-partisan, non-profit organization that has the largest and most engaged online following in the pro-life movement. Today, Live Action’s goal is to shift public opinion on the killing of preborn children and defend the rights of these most vulnerable among us by using compelling educational media, human interest storytelling, and investigative reporting to reveal the humanity of the preborn and expose the abortion industry exploiting women for profit.

Live Action gives strong viewpoints on the problems the pro-life movement has with abortion. There’s so many to choose from but I believe the most important ones to look at are Human Rights and whether abortions are “safe”. According to Live Action, they state that “all human beings have human rights, and we possess them by virtue of our humanity and not because they are granted to us by the government or other people. The most foundational human right is the right to life.” Another thing to add is the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states in article 3: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person”. And article 6: “Everyone has the right of recognition everywhere as a person before the law”. The most important part of that section is the statement that says “If we hold to the validity of these statements, and if preborn children are human beings, then we would have to conclude that the youngest among us have the same inalienable right to life as those who are born. This really opens my eyes as it states in our human rights that EVERYONE has a right to life and that every voice matters, preborn or born.

Most people don’t educate themselves when it comes to abortion. Are abortions actually “safe?” There are 4 statements that answer the question on abortions being safe.

  1. Abortion is NEVER safe for preborn humans- it dismembers, suctions, or poisons them to death.
  2. Even if an argument could be made that legal abortion is safer for the women, if abortion ends an innocent human being’s life, then it isn’t ethical to legalize killing in order to make it supposedly safer for those participating in it.
  3. Abortions, whether legal or illegal, carry the risk of negative effects to women’s health. In other words, some women were hurt or killed in illegal abortions and some women are hurt and killed by legal abortions, too.
  4. The number of women who died from illegal abortions prior to Roe vs. Wade (1973) was greatly inflated by those lobbying for the legalization of abortion.

There was one statement that stood out to me the most when I was viewing Live Action’s website, which states, “Since the preborn are humans and since humans have human rights, it follows that “we ought to respect the preborn and protect them from abortion.”. Live Action has a lot of information on the reality of abortion, in terms of effects, laws, industries, etc. It’s important that we spread the truth about abortion, tell others about the pro-life movement and end legalization of abortion in America.

 

Down Syndrome Protection Act Being Re-Introduced

ChloeKondrich

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

The popular Down Syndrome Protection Act is being reintroduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The bill bans abortion for the sole reason of a Down syndrome diagnosis. The legislation is a response to the high abortion rate among women whose unborn babies have been diagnosed with an extra chromosome.

During the last session, the House passed the legislation by an overwhelming, veto-proof, bipartisan majority of 139-56. However, the Down Syndrome Protection Act stalled in the PA Senate last year.

As the co-sponsorship memo states, “Most of us know of a family touched by a Down syndrome child, and know these children grow to lead joyful and fulfilling lives.”

The lead sponsors on the bill are House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) and state Representative Kate Klunk (R-York County).

Karen Gaffney is the first living person with Down syndrome to receive an honorary doctorate from a college or university. At a rally at the state Capitol last year, Gaffney eloquently stated, “Those of us with Down Syndrome and our families face a very difficult future. We face a possibility of wiping out all of the tremendous progress we have made. Just as we are making so much progress, a whole industry has grown up focused on prenatal screening – screening that would end our lives before we take our first breath.

“Now that you can test for Down Syndrome before birth, there are many experts in the medical community that say this extra chromosome we carry around is not compatible with life. Not compatible with life? After everything we have done, I would say we are more than compatible. We are what life is all about. Our lives are worth living and our lives are worth learning about.”

Pennsylvania currently bans abortion after 24 weeks except to save the life of the mother, and at any time during the pregnancy if the woman’s only reason for abortion is to select the sex of the baby.

The Keystone State is already home to Chloe’s Law, which provides information and resources for parents who receive a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. The law is named for Chloe Kondrich, a teenager who has become something of an international ambassador for children with Down syndrome.

Chloe’s Law “made progress educating parents regarding the quality of life that a person with Down syndrome can enjoy,” the co-sponsorship memo states. It goes on to say, “…the abortion rate for children with Down syndrome is still too high. It is time to protect Down syndrome children in the womb.”

Action Item: Pennsylvanians are urged to call their state representatives and encourage them to co-sponsor the Down Syndrome Protection Act.

 

Girl, Arise and Embrace Life!

Mother and child very happy

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

In the refreshing new book Girl, Arise, author Claire Swinarski makes the case for why the pro-life cause is pro-woman. She admits, she’s defied stereotypes as a pro-life feminist.

The critics rant somewhere along these lines: “Pro-life feminists are unicorns–nice to think about but not actually romping through the forest.”

But to the author, the pro-life cause “is where the Church opens wide her arms, steps it up, and shouts, ‘We’re pro-women’ in her loudest voice.'”

Swinarski sums up her viewpoint on abortion this way: “Abortion is wrong–not simply because it ends a life but also because it isn’t good for women.”

Swinarski goes on to write, “…erring on the side of not ending a life seems to be the most rational, moral, loving conclusion, even if you take out of the picture such Bible verses as ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.'”

The pro-life feminist rightly notes that women mostly have abortions because of a lack of choice. A woman chooses abortion because of a lack in her life–whether that be a lack of finances, career, or a loving partner. “This isn’t an empowering decision,” Swinarski writes. “This isn’t ‘my body, my choice’ but rather ‘I feel I have no other choice.'”

It is the pro-life movement that bridges the gap–providing comprehensive counseling, material resources, and hope. It is in that supportive approach that lives are changed and hearts are opened. In the midst of great pain and fear, the beauty of life is recognized and celebrated.

The pro-life movement supplies what is lacking in a woman’s life, allowing her to make the bold, empowering decision to give birth to her baby. It is a movement grounded in an exercise of rights–the right of a baby girl to life, and the right of a woman to give birth.

Now, that’s pro-woman!

President Remained Pro-Life, Despite Pressure from Adviser

Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017.  (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

 

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

In a fascinating passage in the new book Let Me Finish, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tells the story of how, as a candidate, Donald J. Trump remained pro-life, despite pressure from within his own camp to change his position.

Christie explains that “agenda item number one (was) preparing Donald Trump for Hillary Clinton and their first of three one-on-one debates.” A large team of advisers gathered for the first prep session, including General Mike Flynn.

“Flynn was a train wreck from beginning to end,” Christie writes. “At one point that day, he made a proposal that stunned nearly everyone in the room.”

Flynn went on to say, “I have an idea, and I think it’s really strong. Mr. Trump, what you should do is get on that stage and declare that you’ve changed your mind on abortion, and now you’re firmly for a woman’s right to choose (abortion.).”

The reaction was swift–and unapologetically pro-life.

Campaign adviser Steve Bannon said, “No, no, no. No. He can’t do that.”

“No, sir,” adviser Kellyanne Conway agreed. “That’s not a good thing to do.”

Christie later writes, “What had been clear to me for months–and was becoming clearer by the day–was that Mike Flynn, for all his supposed military and intelligence experience, had no idea what he was talking about when it came to politics. He was a slow-motion car crash.”

The fact is, the pro-life position is the right position–and it’s also a winning position. Candidate Trump drew a clear distinction between himself and former Secretary of State Clinton on the life issue. And he continues to fight the good fight for pro-life in what has been called the most pro-life Administration in U.S. history.

 

Marking a Pro-Life Legislative Milestone

Babies with flowers

 

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

History is being celebrated this year in Pennsylvania, as pro-life activists mark the 30th anniversary of the passage of the landmark Abortion Control Act.

The result of much research and planning, this trailblazing piece of legislation was tailor-made with the U.S. Supreme Court in mind. Legislators drafted the bill believing that it could be upheld by the High Court—a prediction which largely came to pass.

In the end, in a case known as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court struck only the spousal notification portion of the law, a provision which had stated that a spouse be notified before an abortion could take place. But the rest of the law stood—and it has stood the test of time.

The life-saving legislation provided for informed consent, meaning a woman had to be told the risks of abortion and apprised of alternatives to abortion before an abortion could take place. It also provided for parental consent, meaning that one parent had to give permission before an abortion occurred. The law also included a 24 hour waiting period for abortions, allowing women time to reflect and to discuss their decision with family and other confidantes before an abortion took place.

In addition, the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act banned sex selection abortions, meaning that a baby girl could not be aborted if the mother wanted a boy (and vice-versa). At a time when sex selection abortions remain an important gender equality issue, the 1989 Abortion Control Act definitely seems ahead of its time.

Legal challenges prevented the Abortion Control Act from taking effect until 1994. But once the law kicked in, abortion totals plummeted by the thousands in Pennsylvania. It is estimated that more than 150,000 lives have been saved in the Keystone State as a result of this ground-breaking law.

In addition, the Abortion Control Act paved the path for other states to pass similar legislation. A flurry of new protections for preborn children and their mothers followed, ushering in a golden era of state legislation on the pro-life front.

Pennsylvanians had hoped that the Abortion Control Act would overturn Roe v. Wade, the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling which struck abortion laws in all 50 states. While that dream might have been delayed, the law did help to propel the pro-life movement forward, both legislatively and educationally speaking.

Pennsylvania recently recorded its lowest abortion total ever—a testament to the power of a pro-life law, enacted a generation ago. The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act was an historic achievement which has made the Keystone State a better place to live.

 

San Francisco Walks for Life

Walk for Life West Coast

 

By Katy Schriner, intern, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Recently the West Coast took a stand to speak out at the 15th annual Walk for Life in San Francisco. EWTN Pro-Life Weekly broadcasted the walk, talking to many different people, including preachers, students, parents, speakers of the pro-life movement and the co-founder of the Walk for Life. The crowd ranged from locals, students and people who had traveled from different states to attend the walk. CBS local affiliate KPIX has estimated that there were about 50,000 people in the crowd.

Dolores Meehan and Eva Muntean, co-founders of the Walk for Life, were inspired to start a walk when both of them attended the March for Life in Washington D.C. in 2000. From 2004 to 2019, the walk has grown steadily, with numbers skyrocketing from 7,500 to 50,000 people attending this year. The motto at this year’s Walk for Life is “Abortions Hurt Women”. The goal that these two women set every year is to motivate people to get involved, spread the word of the pro-life movement out to the communities and to stay committed throughout the whole year. Besides discussions with the co-founders of the Walk for Life, there were other interviews being conducted with pro-life leaders before the rally including Tina Whittington, Executive Vice President for the Students for Life of America. She discusses with Catherine Hardo, anchor of EWTN, about their organization’s mission and goals. The Students for Life has 1,200 groups all across the country who work with high school and college campuses to start their own pro-life club. Their goal is to impact the high school or college campus towards life, bring resources to their campus for pregnant and parenting students, and to educate their peers on what abortion is.

As I mentioned, there were several speakers who spoke at the Walk for Life Rally who were very inspiring and touched so many hearts in the crowd in San Francisco. 40 Days for Life gave out their 40-44 Scholarship, to a college student whose mission is to end abortion and to spread the word for the future. Morgan English (sophomore student at the University of Florida) and Anna Green (junior student at the University of Idaho) were presented the $4,040 scholarship for their incredible work and dedication towards life. But the most important speaker in my view was Patricia Sandoval.  She told her story about how she had three abortions, her experience working at Planned Parenthood and how she dug herself out of her darkness with her addiction to drugs and homelessness. During her speech, she emphasized that the abortionist never told her the truth about the full side effects of Post-Abortion Syndrome including anxiety, depression, the nightmares and suicidal thoughts. There was one specific part of her speech that I believe to be the most powerful and that was when she talked about her homelessness, drug addiction and how one day her life was changed. She discussed that she felt like she was a bum and described the type of dark place she was in. Until one day she decided to switch her life around, feeling God in her life for the first time and being able to speak about her experience with everyone especially women.

Stories like Patricia’s are ones that will touch your heart and make you realize how important the pro-life movement is. There were so many people at the walk ranging in age from little babies with their parents, to college students from Stanford University, to women in mid-life. One of the coolest events that happened was having women on stage and having the audience listen to the babies’ heartbeats on stage. While there are differences between the Walk for Life and the March for Life, the most important thing is that their missions are the same and will never change, and that will be to give the voiceless a voice and to keep fighting for life!

 

 

How to Engage Your Pastor for LIFE!

Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

“As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When we think back on the history of social movements, the clergy have played an important role. We think of the soaring words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought courageously for the rights of African-Americans. Dr. King empowered people to take a bold step for justice in the face of tremendous prejudice.

In the 21st century, the civil rights movement of our time is the pro-life movement. It seeks to honor and protect the rights of people–from the dawn of life to the twilight of life. And while we welcome people of all different faiths, or no faith at all, it is true that clergy can have a powerful impact on the success of our movement.

Here are three simple steps to help engage your pastor for LIFE:

  • Invite your pastor to lunch, dinner, or brunch. Share with your pastor your concerns about the protection of innocent human life. In a relaxed atmosphere, you can have a pleasant exchange of ideas for advancing the pro-life cause.
  • Recommend resources to your pastor. Your pastor can certainly benefit from reading such online publications as National Right to Life  News Today. This way, your pastor can be well-informed about emerging threats to innocent life–and peaceful, successful ways to combat them.
  • Thank your pastor for pro-life sermons. It is important that we encourage our pastors whenever possible. Let your pastor know you support the clergy member’s life-affirming words.

Finally, remember the inspiring rhetoric of Dr. King during his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech: “I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'”

 

The New York Effect on the Pro-Life Movement

Baby sleeping

 

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

In recent days, our office at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation has been receiving call after call from people wanting to volunteer for the pro-life movement. It seems that this is the effect of the bizarre pro-abortion law in New York and the equally strange legislation in Virginia. The legislation permits abortion up to birth–and offers no protection for those babies who survive botched abortions. People are very upset about what’s going on, but they want to do something positive to counteract it. It’s inspiring!

We have also received a number of emails from people wanting to join a local chapter of National Right to Life. In all my time in the pro-life movement, I have never before seen such an outpouring of activism.

We even received an email about a family who is considering moving from New York to Pennsylvania to escape Governor Andrew Cuomo’s abortion extremist regime. The inquiry came in the form of a question: What is the forecast for Pennsylvania? Is it in danger of going the way of New York?

Fortunately, Pennsylvania has pro-life majorities in both the PA House of Representatives and the Senate. Pro-life legislation is welcomed and encouraged. We are also home to the first-in-the-nation state-assisted pregnancy and parenting program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc. Hundreds of thousands of women and their families have been served by this network of pregnancy resource centers.

But the Keystone State faces its own threats. Our Governor, Tom Wolf, once volunteered as a clinic escort for Planned Parenthood. He has a radically pro-abortion position, opposing a ban on brutal dismemberment abortions, where a baby is torn limb by limb from a mother’s womb.

The Commonwealth has also been hit by a lawsuit from the abortion industry, which wants to end our long-standing ban on Medicaid-funded abortions. This despite the fact that taxpayer-funded abortions are wildly unpopular in Pennsylvania.

Nationwide, the prospect of abortions up to the moment of birth has led not only to an outcry–but also action. The New York effect is sparking a renewed interest in the pro-life movement from people who steadfastly believe that babies should be protected–both inside and outside their mothers’ wombs.

Coming to You Live at WDAC

Michael and Katy at WDAC RadioBy Katy Schriner, intern, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

In Lancaster, PA on January 24th, Michael Ciccocioppo and I had the opportunity to be interviewed on Spotlight with WDAC’s Greg Barton. When I first stepped foot into the studio, there were so many rooms that I wanted to explore. From what I observed, on the first floor, the studio had 3 recording studios that consist of interviews, music, recordings and more. The style of each room was very old school-like. The wallpaper, equipment, tables and chairs brought up a feeling as if I had time traveled back to the 1970’s, which I enjoyed a lot.  The topic of this podcast was the March for Life and Pro-Life issues in Pennsylvania.

I sadly could not attend the March for Life but Michael was able to go to Washington D.C., while I stayed back at the office and watched the rally with Maria Gallagher. I thought that the march overall was very moving for those who had never seen or attended the march before.  I also thought it was interesting to hear all of the discussions between the news anchors and special guests. But hearing Michael’s experience is the FULL effect of the type of environment that he was in. He describes the atmosphere as “filled with joy” where everyone was friendly and loving towards one another. In addition, he believed there were more than 300,000 in attendance at the march. He emphasized that the March for Life is the largest and longest human rights demonstration in the world. There were several special guests that appeared at the rally before the march that included Ben Shapiro, Abby Johnson, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen with a special video guest appearance by President Donald Trump.

Within that podcast with Greg, Michael and I also got to discuss some issues and some goals that we hope to achieve. Recently, we have heard that the new bill in New York will allow women to have an abortion up to the point where the baby is born, which is outrageous. In Pennsylvania, we have strong representation in the House and the Senate, lawmakers who are pro-life and who will restrict any type of pro-abortion bill that will come their way. The only issue that we may have is our governor, Tom Wolf, who is pro-abortion and has shown that he will not make any efforts to change his mind on switching to pro-life. There is also another bill that is expected to be re-introduced in Pennsylvania, which is the Down syndrome bill. The bill intends that you cannot have an abortion just because the baby has Down syndrome, to prevent a form of complete discrimination. We already have a bill in Pennsylvania which states that you can’t have an abortion because you do not like the sex of the baby.

This year is the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation’s 40th anniversary, Michael points out in the podcast. Since 1979, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation has been the largest and the longest running pro-life organization in Pennsylvania, which has made it trustworthy. It has made great strides in reducing abortion in the Commonwealth. For instance, the latest update in 2017 from the Department of Health shows the numbers of abortions in Pennsylvania have dropped down to 30,000, which is the lowest that we have seen. With all our hard work and dedication for pushing forward for Pro-Life, this October there will be a banquet to remember and recognize all that we have done in Pennsylvania for the movement. It’s incredible that our efforts to end abortion have grown dramatically throughout the decade.

Before we ended the podcast, there was one question that stood out the most, which was if someday Roe vs. Wade will be gone. Michael and I both agree that someday that Roe vs. Wade will be a thing of the past but the next mission is to have those states that are pro-abortion such as New York get laws passed protecting preborn children and their mothers from harm.

Late-Term Abortion and Infanticide: Defending the Indefensible

newborn-1400757_960_720

 

By Maria V. Gallagher

I recall an incident that occurred when I was working as a journalist for the mainstream media. A woman from the pro-abortion lobbying group known as NARAL led a gaggle of reporters to believe that late-term abortions only occurred to save mothers’ lives.

Later, a national abortion industry spokesman admitted that the majority of those obtaining late-term abortions were teenagers. The spokesman indicated that the teens were uneasy about abortion, so they had delayed the decision to abort into the third trimester.

Now, we have a Virginia lawmaker openly and brazenly admitting that her bill would allow for abortions while a woman is in labor.  The bill will thankfully go nowhere, but the discussion is relevant nonetheless.

Here is the exchange between the lawmaker, Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax) and a fellow legislator, Todd Gilbert:

Gilbert: Where it’s obvious a woman is about to give birth, that she has physical signs that she is about to give birth. Would that be a point at which she could still request an abortion if she was so certified? She’s dilating.

Tran: Mr. Chairman, that would be a decision that the doctor, the physician, and the woman would make at that point.

Gilbert: I understand that. I’m asking if your bill allows that.

Tran: My bill would allow that, yes.

Not to be outdone, the Governor of Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam, took the explosive situation a step further. On a radio show, Northam delivered a defense of what can only be described as infanticide: “If a mother is in labor…the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and mother.”

To paraphrase Shakespeare, “To kill or not to kill, that is the question.”

One national poll showed that only 15 percent of Americans support late-term abortions. I would hazard a guess the number is even lower for those supporting “after-birth abortions.”

These politicians are completely out of step with the American mainstream. They express no compassion whatsoever for a baby–whether inside or outside the mother’s womb.

The time to act is now. Please share these stories of late-term abortion and infanticide propaganda with your friends and relatives. Let them know what these politicians stand for–a total contempt for the most innocent and defenseless among us.