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sent a letter to the Secretary of the PA Department of Health, asking why the abortion center’s license had not been revoked.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

 

Inspection Uncovers Numerous Safety Violations at Harrisburg Abortion Center

HillcrestBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

Gallagher@paprolife.org

In the shadow of the state Capitol, a Harrisburg abortion center which has operated for decades has accumulated a myriad of health and safety violations.

The revelations can be found in an inspection report for the “Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center” posted on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website here.

The number and breadth of violations are truly alarming. No full-time person was in charge of operating the facility. No registered nurse was on duty to assist patients before and after at least 55 abortions had been performed. The facility failed to document the name and dosage of anesthesia used on a number of patients.

In addition, Hillcrest failed to secure drug samples—a dangerous situation. A February tour of the facility revealed a number of outdated medication and supplies.
The procedure room had swabs for sexually transmitted diseases that had expired 13 years before. Inspectors found needles and syringes in paper wrapping that had deteriorated and were yellow with age.

Investigators also determined that Hillcrest violated the state Child Protective Services law.  That law requires that employees who have “significant likelihood of regular contact with children in the form of care, guidance, supervision or training” must obtain three background checks: one from the Pennsylvania State Police, one from the Department of Human Services, and one from the FBI.

Inspectors reviewed medical records, personnel files, and conducted staff interviews. They found that, even though Hillcrest saw patients under the age of 18, “background checks were not completed for employees.”

The egregious safety violations at Hillcrest show the importance of Pennsylvania’s abortion center regulation law, which ensures regular inspections of abortion facilities. Pennsylvania simply cannot depend on abortion facilities to police themselves.

 

 

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:

PAabtn1

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.