By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
The embattled Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center has shut its doors.
Government sources have confirmed that Hillcrest has voluntarily relinquished its license to operate as an abortion facility.
The abortion center had until August 31st to fix the myriad of health and safety problems discovered during an inspection earlier this year. That inspection yielded an astounding 44 pages worth of violations.
A group of state Senators demanded to know why the state Health Department allowed the facility to remain open, given its abysmal safety record. A follow-up inspection resulted in Hillcrest being shuttered until it could meet basic health standards.
But the deadline for compliance came and went with little indication the abortion center would reopen. A notice posted by the local natural gas company indicated that the gas had been shut off. A subsequent notice by the electric company said the electricity would be cut off if $1,600 in bills was not paid within the week.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health website now lists Hillcrest as “closed.” For the health and safety of central Pennsylvania women, the closure is long overdue.
In the midst of the devastation and destruction of Hurricane Harvey, some inspiring stories have arisen of people putting aside their personal differences and helping each other get through this tragedy. It has been interesting to note the difference in responses between pro-abortion activists and pro-life advocates.
On one hand, there are the pro-abortion activists. Never afraid to take advantage of a tragedy, abortion advocates are using the situation in Houston to raise money to fund abortion. The pro-abortion group The Lilith Fund is soliciting money for women “seeking abortion but (who) cannot afford it.” Pro-abortion writer Bayetti Flores jumped on the bandwagon and encouraged her Twitter followers to donate to a Texas abortion fund.
At the same time, the pro-life response to this tragedy has been nothing short of heroic and inspiring. Stories like that of Cathy Rude, a midwife who used an inflatable swan to float to her laboring patient and help deliver her baby, or Danielle Palmer, who donated over 1000 ounces of saved breast milk to families affected by Hurricane Harvey. These pro-lifers are leading the way in showing everyone how to respond to a natural disaster in a way that does not promote a culture of death, but in a way that encourages people that they can always choose life!
A CBS News feature recently described what the reporter called the eradication of Down syndrome in Iceland. But it was really something else–the abortion of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. Tragically, while Iceland has gone further than most countries in killing all babies with Down syndrome, they are not the only one. Because of fear of what life with a child with Down syndrome may be like, parents all over the world, and even in the United States, are choosing to abort their babies if they are diagnosed with Down syndrome.
In Pennsylvania, we have chosen to address the fears associated with potentially having a child with Down syndrome a different way. In 2014 the Pennsylvania legislature passed, and pro-life Governor Tom Corbett signed into law, legislation requiring that medical practitioners give accurate information about Down syndrome and available resources to parents whose preborn baby is diagnosed with potentially having Down syndrome. We believe making sure parents who may have a baby with Down syndrome deserve information, not to have their child killed simply because that child is different.
We encourage all pro-lifers to educate themselves about Down syndrome. You can then help educate someone who receives this diagnosis for their child. That may be the information they need to remind them they can always choose life.
These days there seems to be a holiday for everything. As someone who spent much of his childhood with his nose in a book, today is a celebration I can really get behind—Book Lovers Day. Recently I read two pro-life books that I thought were particularly interesting, and I thought I would share some thoughts on them in honor of the day.
The first is Not Equal: Civil Rights Gone Wrong by Ryan Bomberger. Yes, the same Ryan Bomberger who is the keynote speaker at this year’s Celebrate Life Banquet September 28, 2017 in Harrisburg. Ryan’s book addresses important pro-life issues such as abortion, adoption, liberal feminism, free speech, and religious liberty. What I appreciated most about his book is that it is primarily a series of articles he’s written over the years so it is an easy read for those who can only sit with a book for a short period at a time. The great thing is, if you pick up his book now, when you attend the Celebrate Life Banquet September 28th you can get it signed!
The second book I wanted to mention is Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer. In this book the authors examine all the aspects of the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist who committed infanticide in his filthy and unsanitary abortion office in Philadelphia. I was admittedly a little hesitant to read this—I’ve never been a fan of horror movies or literature, but the authors do a great job of applying an unbiased, journalistic viewpoint to the situation.
The links to the books above will take you to where the books can be purchased on www.amazon.com. Before purchasing them, please visit www.smile.amazon.com and choose the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Education Fund as the charity you support so a portion of your purchase will benefit our life-saving work. Happy reading, and email me at email@example.com and let me know what you think of these pro-life books.
“What is the difference between these babies”?
That is perhaps my favorite question when I’m using our baby models at a pro-life information table. I point to the baby models we have that represent children in the womb at 12, 20, 26, and 30 weeks gestation at their approximate size and weight.
“Some are bigger than others” is the answer I most commonly hear.
“Right”, I say. “Each one is a little bigger, and a little older. That is the only difference between them. That is also the only difference between them and you or me. We are even bigger and older yet. So logically, if it is ok for someone to kill one of these babies, it should be ok for them to kill you or me if the only difference between us is size and age. That is why abortion is wrong…it determines an arbitrary age and size of a human being when it is ok to kill someone and when it is not. We believe that it is wrong to kill someone no matter how old or young, big or small they are. Don’t you agree”?
Sometimes the simplest arguments are the best!
With Father’s Day approaching, I find myself reflecting on the lessons my father taught me…and not the lessons of how to fish, tie my shoe, ride a bike, or even drive…but lessons of how to be a man. How to stand up for what you believe in, how to admit when you are wrong (one I’m admittedly still working on), and how to stand up for those who can’t defend themselves, among many others.
It’s that last lesson—standing up for those who can’t defend themselves– that stands out for me the most. Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest of four living siblings, but I have always felt I have an obligation to work toward making the world a better place, mainly by doing what I can to help those who need it most.
That is why I am pro-life—I believe that not just as a father, or even just as a man, but as a human being I have an obligation to defend pre-born babies who can’t defend themselves—we all do!
That is why I find the argument that I shouldn’t express my thoughts about the horror of abortion just because of my gender absolutely wrong. I have never understood what my gender has to do with whether or not I can speak out against injustice. Certainly it was not only slaves who spoke out against slavery…men joined women in speaking out for women’s suffrage, and I don’t have to be the victim of a crime to know that crime is wrong. The morality, or immorality, of a statement (e.g. “all life deserves protecting”) is independent of the person who makes the statement.
So this Father’s Day, and every day, I encourage all fathers, indeed all humans, to stand up against injustice against the most vulnerable among us. I guarantee you that leaving a legacy of a life-respecting society is better than any tie you can get your Dad this Father’s day!
By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
A trio of Pennsylvania state Senators are asking why the license of a Pennsylvania abortion operation was not revoked, once serious health and safety violations were uncovered.
Senators Joe Scarnati, Bob Mensch, and John DiSanto have sent a letter to Health Department Secretary Karen Murphy which states, “The DOH inspection report portrays a facility which is clearly unsafe and unhealthy for both patients and staff alike. Given this, we would like an explanation as to why DOH did not immediately move to suspend or revoke Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center’s license upon finding such numerous egregious violations.”
State health officials have cited Hillcrest for the fourth time in six years for violating Pennsylvania law. The violations run the gamut, from failing to have proper medical credentials to performing abortions without a nurse present. Staff members failed to complete the criminal background checks necessary for dealing with patients under 18 years old. Some supplies were so outdated they could be traced back to 2004.
The Senators note, “These health and safety violations are obviously deeply troubling. However, even more problematic appears to be DOH’s response, which was to allow the abortion clinic to continue operating while granting Hillcrest a six month grace period to correct the cited ‘deficiencies.’”
In 2011 Pennsylvania enacted an abortion center regulations law requiring abortion facilities to undergo unannounced inspections. The legislation grew out of the massive tragedy in West Philadelphia, where abortionist Kermit Gosnell killed living full-term babies and caused the deaths of female patients in a squalid facility labeled a “House of Horrors” by prosecutors.
The law was designed to prevent “future Gosnells” from setting up shop in Pennsylvania. But some legislators now worry the law is not being sufficiently enforced, as evidenced by Hillcrest’s long trail of troubles.
Vice President Mike Pence, a stalwart pro-lifer, recently made another stop in Pennsylvania, giving the commencement address at Grove City College. For his full remarks click here, but of particular note was this comment: “And I can’t tell you how proud I am to be Vice President to a President who stands without apology for the sanctity of life and all the God-given liberties in the Constitution of the United States.”
The Trump Administration has given pro-lifers a renewed sense of hope after eight years of pro-abortion President Barack Obama. Some of the administration’s pro-life accomplishments so far include:
- Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at the 2017 March for Life in Washington DC represented the first time a sitting Vice President spoke at the March.
- President Trump reinstated a policy that prevents organizations receiving federal foreign aid from performing abortions or promoting them.
- President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. He is a pro-life Justice in the mold of the late beloved Justice Antonin Scalia.
- President Trump appointed avid pro-lifers to key cabinet positions including Kellyanne Conway as Senior Advisor, Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, and Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
- President Trump even signed an executive order saying his administration will “provide regulatory relief for religious objectors to Obamacare’s burdensome preventive services mandate, a position supported by the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby.”
These pro-life accomplishments give advocates renewed hope that we will be even more successful in changing people’s minds and reminding them that they can always choose life.
By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
I stopped in my local grocery store and found a vibrantly colorful display of balloons, roses, and carnations, signaling the start of this weekend’s Mother’s Day celebrations.
Some of us who are mothers will celebrate with bouquets and brunches, cookouts and candy. Hugs and kisses from the children who delivered motherhood to us will remind us of the tremendous gift we have received in birthing and nurturing our offspring.
But, perhaps before the festivities are in full bloom, could you take a moment with me to pray for those pregnant mothers who, on the eve of Mother’s Day weekend, have entered abortion centers?
Pray that they may have a change of mind and choose life, and that they will have all the support that they and their children need, both now and in the future.
Today is National Sibling Day, which got me thinking about my two great brothers and an amazing sister, but it also made me think of my older brother Johnathon who was not fully formed at birth and didn’t survive. I wonder how life would’ve been different for me if he was healthy, and I had an older brother on this earth instead of looking down on me from Heaven.
I also can’t help but think of other people’s siblings—those lost to abortion since 1973, or worse yet, those never conceived because of the number of couples who end their relationship after an abortion. These missing siblings are not even included in the 59 million babies killed by abortion…their numbers will never be known.
So on this day, I would encourage you to think of the siblings lost to abortion, and those never conceived since Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided. Consider what you can do to make sure no more siblings are lost. And celebrate all those siblings who have been spared since 1973 because their mother’s chose life!