The days of the slogan “safe, legal, and rare” are long gone in Pennsylvania. Some lawmakers make no secret of the fact that they do not want abortion to be rare–in fact, they are making every effort to increase abortions in the Commonwealth.
A co-sponsorship memo by state Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny County) is the latest example of this disturbing trend.
The proof lies in the subject line of the memo: “Expanding Access to Abortion.”
Rep. Frankel wants to expand the “pool of providers” by having non-doctors perform abortions. As he states, “I am introducing legislation that would allow physician assistants, nurse-midwives, and certified registered nurse practitioners to prescribe medication abortion.”
He is referring to chemical abortions, which are rapidly eclipsing surgical abortions as the leading cause of death of preborn babies in Pennsylvania. A number of legitimate safety concerns–both physical and psychological– have been raised about chemical abortions for mothers.
Rep. Frankel is in the minority in the PA House of Representatives, but abortion giant Planned Parenthood is doing its best to change that, pouring countless dollars into campaigns to replace pro-life lawmakers with pro-abortion zealots. This is why it is incumbent upon voters to know the stands of office-seekers when it comes to the life-or-death issue of abortion.
Pennsylvania is home to a staggering 32,000 abortions each year. We cannot afford policies that seek to expand that number even further.
I wear on my finger a symbol of the Culture of Life.
It is a ring with two dates: 1972, the year before the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade was decided, and 2022, the year Roe was finally overturned.
The ring comes courtesy of COL (Culture of Life) 1972, a family owned and operated company in Pennsylvania. The company offers clothing and other merchandise which celebrates the incomparable gift of life. It was founded as an alternative to retailers that support Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation.
Each time I look at the ring, I am reminded of the nearly 50-year struggle to rescind a dangerous and lethal Supreme Court ruling. I mourn the more than 63 million preborn children who died as a result of that traumatic decision.
But I also have tremendous hope–that wrongs can be righted…that bad decisions can be reversed…and that compassion and sanity can be restored.
In essence, I wear an unusual type of promise ring–a symbol of the promise of the beauty of life. I wear the ring in expectation of a future in which each preborn baby and her mother are treasured and protected, and life is respected as a fundamental good.
Over the past few weeks, my Senate colleagues have had to continually correct false and misleading statements regarding the recently passed Senate Bill 106. Sadly, the misrepresentations have continued, and it has become increasingly necessary for me as a sponsor of one of the bill’s amendments to join them in their efforts.
Senate Bill 106 consists of five different amendments to the Pennsylvania constitution with the subjects being the election of the Lieutenant Governor, legislative disapproval of regulations, voter ID, auditing of elections by the Auditor General, and taxpayer funding of abortions.
These amendments become part of the Pennsylvania constitution if the legislature passes Senate Bill 106 in two consecutive legislative sessions followed by a majority of voters approving each of the amendments individually at the ballot box.
To correct what has been reported in numerous media outlets, if this legislation is approved by voters, it would not be the result of undemocratic procedures and a General Assembly that was deaf to the will of the people. Rather, Senate Bill 106 gives the people of Pennsylvania a voice. It would be the most democratic and fair method for lawmaking that is available to us as citizens, as it requires both representative democracy when our legislature votes on the amendment and direct democracy where the people get the final say at the ballot box.
There have been many falsehoods circulating about what the amendments would do. The most egregious are the reports on the amendment relating to abortion.
For background, Allegheny Reproductive Health Center is suing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, arguing that there is a right to abortion in our Constitution. This is despite previous court precedent and state and federal law that indicate otherwise. This “right” they are asking the court to find would apply to all nine months of pregnancy and would force taxpayers to pay for abortions.
The amendment would simply preserve the status quo, keeping the fate of abortion policy out of the hands of the courts and in the hands of those who are accountable to the people, their elected representatives in the legislature.
There have been claims that the amendment is an abortion ban. This is completely false. Unfortunately, the falsehoods don’t stop there. Some have reported that if this amendment goes into effect, people’s ability to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments will be at risk. Others state that ectopic pregnancies will be forced to term regardless of if doing so would kill the mother, or that D&C procedures will be outlawed, forcing those who have miscarriages to risk serious infection and disease. None of those statements are true.
Here are the facts. Should the abortion provision of Senate Bill 106 be approved by the voters, Pennsylvanians will continue to have a statutory right to an abortion under Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act. That Act would remain in place and unchanged. Medicaid will continue to cover both non-elective abortions and voluntary abortions involving cases of rape or incest but will still withhold funding for all other elective instances. IVF, ectopic pregnancies, and D&C procedures would be allowed under the same rules that exist today, and doctors will continue to save women’s lives in the event of life-threatening complications during pregnancy.
With Senate Bill 106, the fate of abortion law in Pennsylvania will be left up to the people’s elected representatives through the legislative process. Policymaking on abortion will be taken out of the hands of the courts and placed exactly where it belongs; in the hands of the people, first through a ballot referendum and then through their elected officials.
Our job as elected representatives is to create public policy that represents the will of the people. I can think of no better way to do that than by putting these issues in front of the voters through Senate Bill 106.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: BONNIE FINNERTY, PPLF
July 12, 2022 717-541-0034
The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation issued the
following statement in response to Governor Wolf’s abortion-related Executive Order.
Pennsylvania Does Not Need MORE
“Governor Wolf wants
Pennsylvania to become an abortion magnet.
We already have over 32,000 abortions a year in the Commonwealth, equating
to five kindergarten classes lost each and every day. Rather than pushing for even
more abortion and competing with radical states like New York and New Jersey for
abortion tourism, we should concentrate on providing compassionate care and
tangible support for pregnant women in need and their vulnerable children.”
This quote is attributed to Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.
************************************************************************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.
It’s the babies. Always the babies. Every time I set up an educational display, it’s the fetal models that draw people to our table like moth to flame. And that was the case at Creation Music Festival, a Christian music event attended by tens of thousands of people each year.
It’s become a predictable pattern. The babies are spotted from a distance.
People approach, touch them, hold them, marvel at them. A conversation ensues. Information is shared.
Stories are told. Many different stories.
Like the woman told to abort her child twenty-four
years ago, after a sonogram revealed that her child had no brain. She refused and instead prayed that a future
test would show a different result. It did. Her daughter was born perfectly healthy.
Two different women told me their stories of getting pregnant as teens and being pressured to abort by their families. Despite feeling alone and unsupported by those closest to them, both women refused abortion, choosing open adoption instead. Both have a beautiful, loving relationship with the children who once grew within their bodies. One even shared the picture of her six-year-old biological son who is thriving with his adoptive family.
Over four days, I talked with hundreds of people and listened to dozens of stories. Many young children delighted in holding our babies and posing for pictures. The one group I did not anticipate the babies attracting, however, were those who were post-abortive.
Never before had so many people disclosed to me that they had one or more abortions. All of them said they silently bore shame and grief for years afterward.
One woman came to our table with her teenage son. She was born into a politically-connected liberal family that counted Faye Wattleton, the former head of Planned Parenthood, as a close friend. Raised to think abortion was no big deal, she had a few. But she was not at peace. She suffered. She regretted. She mourned. She felt that she had been lied to. It was only through a relationship with Christ, she said, that she finally found forgiveness and peace. And she wants her son to learn from her journey and be armed with the truth.
Then there was another young woman looking to start a Respect Life ministry in her church, hoping to use some of the literature we had on our table. She told me that she had an abortion many years ago. Anytime abortion was brought up at church, she would inwardly panic, thinking her body language would reveal to everyone the secret she carried for so long. It was by encountering another post-abortive woman who shared her testimony that she finally got the courage to talk about her abortion. She found healing in a program called Surrendering the Secret. Now she hopes to help others choose life.
On the last day, it was a man that stopped by. With his long hair, red bandana, and heavily tattooed body, I could easily imagine him riding his Harley to the festival. He almost walked by, but suddenly turned around. He stared at the babies. “Hard to believe that we even have to tell people they are human beings,” he said. I agreed.
Then he shared his story. When he was a young man, he discovered his wife had an affair with his own brother. She became pregnant. Heartbroken over the dual betrayal, he paid for her abortion. For many years it haunted and grieved him. He told me he wasn’t always a Christian but is now. It is how he has found forgiveness, healing, and love.
There were several others who disclosed their
abortions. They didn’t have to. They
could have walked by. They could have
stopped and not shared that piece of themselves. But they did stop. Did share. They want others to know. Not just their
woundedness, but their redemption. Not
just their hurt, but their hope.
As we enter a post-Roe America, let’s remember that so
many have been wounded by abortion. Some are healed. Many are not. They sit at
our tables, in our pews, and on the other side of our computer screens.
Let us love them into the truth. Let us pray for their
healing. Let them feel our acceptance, not judgment. Let us be bridges, not
It’s often said that the church is not so much a
museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.
Let us say the same for the pro-life movement.
U.S. Supreme Court Decision Returns Abortion Issue to States
HARRISBURG, Pa. – The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the tragic 1973 ruling
known as Roe v. Wade represents a victory for women and children
throughout the country.
“Roe v. Wade is a deeply
flawed decision which rightly has now been tossed into the ash bin of history,”
said Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life
Federation, the Keystone State affiliate of National Right to Life.
“More than 63 million preborn children have lost their lives to this
abominable decision. In addition, countless
mothers have been left to grieve babies lost to abortion. With today’s
landmark ruling, the issue of abortion policy rightfully returns to the states,
where the public, through their duly elected representatives, can pursue
policies that protect preborn children and their mothers from harm,” Gallagher
“We commend the High Court
for recognizing the truth that a so-called ‘right’ to abortion appears nowhere
in the U.S. Constitution,” Gallagher said. “This is a day of victory for the most vulnerable among us.”
Statistics from the PA
Department of Health show that more than
32,000 abortions occurred in the Commonwealth in 2020, the latest year for
which statistics are available. “Imagine how many kindergarten classes of
children have been lost to abortion in PA. It’s mind-boggling,” Gallagher said.
In Pennsylvania, abortion
totals would be much higher were it not for the many pregnancy resource centers
which provide free counseling and material assistance for pregnant women facing
challenging circumstances. Pennsylvania’s state-assisted Pregnancy and
Parenting Support Program offers true alternatives and options to women in
their time of need.
“No pregnant woman in Pennsylvania should feel as if she is alone.
Pregnancy help centers stand ready to offer no-cost assistance and the
emotional support every pregnant woman deserves,” Gallagher added.
As I joined with people from around the country in a spirited rendition of God Bless America, a feeling of intense gratitude swept over me.
This was the first time I had sung the beloved hymn in the post-Roe era. The song took on a new meaning, as I reflected on the fact that the worst decision in the history of American jurisprudence had been swept away on a tide of sound judicial reason. This is the moment I had been awaiting for decades—when our nation finally would be free of the tyranny of Roe.
I had prayed each day for years for this victory—boldly claiming that it would happen in my lifetime. The thought that any grandchildren I might have in the future would be post-Roe babies sent my spirit soaring.
I realize that much work remains to be done to protect precious preborn babies and their mothers from harm throughout the country—including the Commonwealth in which I live, Pennsylvania. But the fact that the decision on abortion policy now rests with the people, through their duly-elected representatives in the states, fills me with awe. God bless America indeed.
I am quite used to talking about life issues, even debating them with those whose views differ from my own. I just don’t usually do it in the grocery store. With a soon-to-be 8th grader.
Yet, there I was, in the
coffee aisle, talking big topics with
my friend’s grandson, who we’ll call Kevin.
I was delighted to bump into the two of them and chat for a bit. Before saying our goodbyes, Kevin asked me where I worked and what I did. He listened and then politely informed me that unlike his grandmother and me, he is “pro-choice.”
He went on to explain that a woman who is a victim of rape or incest should not be forced to carry and birth a baby. Knowing Kevin, I was sure this was coming from a place of compassion. He felt deep sorrow for women enduring such trauma and believed that continuing a pregnancy in those circumstances would only make the situation worse.
I sensed from his pause and steady gaze that he expected me to respond.
I smiled at him, thankful
that he was willing to listen. I gently asked
him if he has ever met anyone conceived from rape or from incest. “No.”
I told him that I have, and that I could never look at them and say they weren’t deserving of life because of the manner in which they were conceived. I pointed out that the perpetrators of such crimes, if caught and convicted get jail time, but the innocent child brought into existence gets a much harsher sentence in abortion: death.
There was much more I could say, especially about whether choosing life over abortion helps women to heal, but left it at that. I could see he was thinking it over. I invited him to reach out to me anytime he has a question and that I would be happy to hear him out and dialogue.
It wasn’t long. A few
minutes later, as I worked my way through the meat section, Kevin was
back. He had more questions he wanted me
to address, eager to hear how I would respond.
What about children born into poverty?
Or a dire pre-natal diagnosis?
What about when the mother’s life is in danger?
For a good 20 minutes we talked. I answered each question while shoppers careened their carts around us. Who knows what bits and pieces were overheard?
I said it was wrong to impose our personal standards of “a worthwhile life” onto others. Surely, people born poor or with a disability or in foster care are glad to be alive. We should not consider their lives less valuable than ours.
Instead, we should do our best as a society to reduce suffering to the extent that we can rather than eliminate humans who suffer. If we choose to eliminate everyone who might experience suffering at some point in their life, who should live?
With regard to a dire prenatal diagnosis I pointed out that even in this modern age, doctors and tests sometimes are wrong. But even if a diagnosis is correct, does a child not deserve a chance to be born, to be held and loved by his parents, to receive medical intervention, to be treated with compassion and dignity? Why must he be killed in utero?
I also shared that due to modern medical practices, rarely is a pregnant woman’s life in jeopardy, but if that situation does arise, it is usually later in pregnancy. At that point an abortion is far more threatening to the mother’s life than delivering the child prematurely and striving to save both lives.
We covered several other topics, including death with “dignity.” It was an intense conversation.
To his credit, Kevin
listened and nodded, displaying a maturity and civility that seems to be lost
on this issue. He never once interrupted me but thoughtfully listened to all I
had to offer, sometimes asking follow-up questions. I again told him to stay in touch and let me
know if he wants to talk again. He
extended his hand and warmly shook mine, thanking me for my time and
As I headed for the dairy section, I marveled at this young man and our exchange, wishing I could replicate the conversation in every supermarket in the country. I don’t know exactly what Kevin believes now about abortion, but I believe to some extent he was enlightened. And his openness was encouraging.
Perhaps this is a good model for all of us. So often we are afraid of talking about abortion for fear of offending, disagreeing, arguing. Let us have the courage to engage with others and the wisdom to have productive, civil discourse that sheds more light than heat. Perhaps in this way, one conversation at a time, we can change minds and hearts and ultimately, the culture.
A day after his fourth birthday, a team of educational experts told us our youngest child was severely autistic. During the hours-long assessment in which he was whisked away from us and surrounded by unfamiliar adults, the team concluded that he couldn’t talk. In reality, he wouldn’t talk, an attached toddler hampered by anxiety that was amplified by the circumstances.
As my husband and I
listened to their diagnosis, we experienced both surprise and heartbreak. We
suspected he might be somewhere on the spectrum. But severely, profoundly autistic?
I had taught such students in a fully inclusive classroom, some who were
completely non-verbal and facing challenges that I didn’t see my son having.
When I voiced doubt about
the results, I was told by the Ph.D. leading the team that I was simply in
denial. She recommended a restrictive diet and possible placement in a school
for children with autism.
Fourteen years later,
after a mix of public, Catholic, and homeschool education, some speech and
occupational therapy, dozens of amazing teachers and encouraging mentors, we
have reached a milestone.
This week our son walked
across the stage to receive his diploma. He graduated. From a traditional Catholic
high school. With few accommodations.
His strong grades excused him from all finals. He has a job and a driver’s
license. He is a happy, gentle soul. In the fall he will be off to college,
having been accepted at all three schools to which he applied.
So how did that team of
experts get it so wrong?
There is no doubt our son
is on the spectrum. He faced many sensory and developmental challenges growing
up. Haircuts, barking dogs, and circle time at preschool launched him into
meltdowns. Later, he struggled with public speaking, time management, and
trying anything new, whether food, activity, or even shoes. By middle school,
his anxiety was so great, we resorted to homeschooling for two years, one of
the best decisions we ever made.
So yes, he has autism. But
he also had far greater potential to overcome and to thrive than the “experts” predicted.
Their methodology was flawed, resulting in an incorrect conclusion.
We are learning that some
tests commonly used during pregnancy are also flawed. The New
York Times reported earlier this
year that analysis of certain
prenatal blood tests showed incorrect positive results about 85 percent of the
time. Tragically, some couples given
these diagnoses choose to abort their child. Many of them may have aborted
perfectly healthy children. But even if not perfectly healthy, did their
children not deserve even a chance at life?
I cringe to think of the
day when the medical experts begin testing in utero for autism. How accurate
will that test be? Will children thought to be on the spectrum be targeted for
death as children with Down syndrome are today? How many more beautiful lives
will be stolen from our world?
Whenever a diagnosis of
any sort is given, we must remember that each and every person deserves the
chance to live, grow, and love to the extent that they are capable. We shouldn’t place qualifications or limits on
any one’s life because of perceived obstacles.
Sometimes “experts” just get
it wrong. Despite great gains made in medicine and education, predicting the
future for any one individual is an inexact science. As much as we think we know,
there are no crystal balls revealing what awaits any human life. There is no way
to measure perseverance. There is no
test for human resiliency. No statistic on the power of love.
As for our family, much
of the expert guidance we received throughout our son’s childhood was helpful.
But we were always a bit guarded because of the initial diagnosis he was given.
No one knows or loves your child as you do, so it’s important to trust your own
In watching our son proudly walk across the stage at graduation, I realized that his journey was actually comprised of millions of baby steps made possible by the encouragement and support of so many people in his life. Sometimes it was two steps forward, one step back, but he kept on. And in doing so, he showed us all that he was much more capable than that first team of experts had thought.
It was the Spring morning
I’d been longing for. Brilliant sunshine embraced me as I stepped outside with
my freshly-brewed coffee, observing the green wave of new life that creeped
over my backyard.
As I strolled beyond the cultivated
garden beds, I spotted the unexpected. Beyond the back fence, amidst last
season’s decomposing yard debris, perched at the foot of a withered woodpile, was
a magnificent singular white hyacinth.
This lone bulb must have
been accidentally uprooted last year and transplanted to a less than ideal home,
the wildly overgrown woods where we dump clippings and weeds.
Yet, somehow that bulb
found just enough light, warmth, and nourishment to produce a majestic flower
that filled me with joy by its very existence. I thought it more beautiful than
any other flower in my yard. It not only survived, it thrived, and it was all
the more glorious for the contrast it provided to its own barren and bleak
It was a little
metaphorical signpost from our Creator, a reminder of both the potential and
resiliency of life, especially human life.
How many of us have been thrown into less than ideal circumstances, and
yet managed to survive? How many of us were born into such a situation?
Our society mistakenly leads
us to believe that we can only welcome new life at the ideal time, in the ideal
place, with the ideal partner. And when
any of those conditions are not met, some believe that it is better for
everyone’s sake, including the child’s, to reject that budding life so full of
potential and resiliency. How many babies are aborted every single day, never
being given any chance at life because circumstances are perceived to be less
When a young woman faces
an unplanned pregnancy, she is uprooted into an unfamiliar world that she can
find frightening. It can be difficult to see past the present moment of fear and
uncertainly. Thrown into rocky soil, she may be unsure if she can become rooted
again and provide for herself and her child.
But nature itself
reflects the buoyancy of the human spirit, the untold potential, the
possibilities that can be.
Let us be that society
that provides enough light, warmth, and nourishment that envelopes her as she
brings forth new life. Let us help her look beyond the imperfect situation of
the present moment and envision the hyacinth that might be awaiting. Let us say
with our lips and show with our actions this simple but often forgotten truth: that
in less than ideal circumstances, beauty can still bloom, life can still blossom,
and the world made infinitely better for it.