LifeNews.com editor Steven Ertelt recently gave the keynote address at the 33rd annual Wyoming Valley Pennsylvanians for Human Life Respect Life Banquet held in Wilkes Barre, PA.
Ertelt began his talk by talking about how far we’ve come since abortion became legal in 1973. He talked about a report published in the American Journal of Public Health that found the number of abortions has dropped by 25% from 2008 to 2014. He went on to point out that the number of abortion centers in the United States has fallen from its peak of 220o to just over 500…a reduction of almost 80%. This has all resulted in a reduction in the ratio of women who have had an abortion from one out of three to one out of five.
Ertelt cited several factors contributing to this decline. First he talked about changes to the abortion laws across the country that have led to stricter regulations of abortion facilities such as Act 122, the 2011 Pennsylvania law which required abortion centers to meet basic health and safety standards. Another major factor he cited was an increase of the general awareness of the horrors of abortion brought on by the Kermit Gosnell trial, despite the limited coverage it was given by the main stream media.
Ertelt ended his talk by reminding attendees there is still much work to do. In the United States almost a million babies are being killed every year and over 30,000 babies were killed just in Pennsylvania alone in 2015. He talked about a recent New York Times article which labeled pro-life websites and even his own Lifenews.com as “fake news“ but couldn’t identify any specific fake news stories published by any pro-life news site. Ertelt pointed out that the pro-abortion writer lamented that pro-lifers are doing a good job of sharing pro-life stories while the main stream media’s lies about abortion are regularly ignored on social media. He encouraged the audience to continue to fight fake news and spread the truth about abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia through social media and by every means necessary in order to hasten the day when abortion is not just illegal, but unthinkable.
In elections in odd years, such as the one being held Tuesday, November 7, 2017, we choose Judicial and Municipal office holders. These elections are often referred to as “off-year elections” and have significantly less attention paid to them than elections for the State legislature, Congress, and President in even numbered years. However, it is extremely important to vote for judges who are strict constitutionalists, who will follow the Constitution, rather than legislating from the bench.
There is no better example of legislating from the bench than the deadly and incorrect decision in Roe v. Wade. In this case, seven Supreme Court justices improperly determined that a woman has a constitutional “right to privacy,” even though that right is not found anywhere in the Constitution. Their decision to make a law from the bench has led to the abortion of almost 60 million babies since that bloody decision in 1973.
Ultimately, the goal of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation is to make abortion, infanticide and euthanasia not just illegal, but unthinkable. The first step in that process is getting state and federal courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court, to respect the sanctity of human life by overturning Roe v. Wade. To do that, we need to support judicial candidates who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench. The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation encourages all pro-life advocates to make sure they vote on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, and remind their fellow pro-lifers to do the same.
cartoon by Dan Bartkowiak
Romeo and Juliet…Lancelot and Guinevere…Pocahontas and John Smith…tragic love stories abound throughout our culture. However, none of those love stories are nearly as tragic, or have had near the devastating impact, as the love story between pro-abortion Governor Wolf and Planned Parenthood.
The “relationship” between Governor Wolf and Planned Parenthood goes back to his days as a private citizen when he acted as a volunteer “escort” at a Planned Parenthood in York. As an escort, Wolf would go out to the vehicles of mothers as they arrived at Planned Parenthood and prevent them from hearing the loving and supportive statements of pro-lifers outside the abortion center. It blossomed into Planned Parenthood spending thousands of dollars supporting Governor Wolf’s election in 2014. It is no wonder then that Governor Wolf repeats Planned Parenthood’s lies every chance he gets and that just last week, he visited and praised the Elizabeth Blackwell abortion center in Philadelphia, despite it failing over 50% of its safety inspections.
The love story between Governor Wolf and Planned Parenthood is tragic for the over 17,000 Pennsylvania babies who die at a Planned Parenthood abortion center every year. It is time for Governor Wolf to end his partnership with Planned Parenthood and start helping people remember there is always a reason to choose life.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.