Marking the Two-Year Anniversary of an Abortion Center Closure

abortion-clinic-closed By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

It’s the kind of anniversary that calls for a grand celebration.

It has now been about two years since Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s long-standing abortion facility, the Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center, shut its doors.

Who knows how many precious lives have been saved—and how many women have been saved from the trauma of abortion—as a result of the closure?

But the end of the abortion business did not come without a monumental struggle. Hillcrest had racked up 44 pages’ worth of health and safety violations, according to a report issued by inspectors at the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

And yet, the facility was allowed to continue to operate while it addressed its “problems.” It was not until the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation brought Hillcrest’s shoddy safety record to the attention of the local news media that action was finally taken.

A trio of Pennsylvania state Senators asked 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 sent a letter to Health Department Secretary Karen Murphy which stated, “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.”

The Senators noted, “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.’”

Ultimately, Hillcrest gave up its license to operate—and the rest is history. Harrisburg is still home to a Planned Parenthood which performs abortions, but the closure of Hillcrest remains a major victory for women and their babies.

And so central Pennsylvanians have every right to pause and give thanks for the two-year anniversary of the abortion center’s closing. But we must be ever-vigilant, that abortion centers throughout Pennsylvania are held accountable for violating Pennsylvania’s critical health and safety standards.

There is just no telling how many violators there are—lurking in the shadows.

Disability Should Not be a Death Sentence

Zack Gottsagen By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

I was pleasantly surprised to open People magazine and find a feature devoted to an actor who may be on the cusp of stardom—and who also happens to have Down syndrome.

Performer Zack Gottsagen will be appearing in the August release of “The Peanut Butter Falcon.” A Florida newspaper also published a lengthy profile of this soon-to-be breakout star. According to writer Ben Crandell of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, doctors predicted that Zack would not be able to walk or talk—yet now, he is receiving standing ovations for his role in what Crandell describes as a “bittersweet buddy comedy.”

Zach’s ascendancy in Hollywood is truly inspirational—a testament to his talent and grit. It also shows just how far a person with Down syndrome can exceed societal expectations.

And yet, babies with Down syndrome are routinely targeted for extinction. Research shows the vast majority of preborn babies who receive a Down syndrome diagnosis are aborted. How poorer our society is when these bright lights of humanity are never able to see the light of day.

But whether a person with Down syndrome works in Hollywood, California or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he or she deserves the utmost in respect. Not every citizen with Down syndrome will appear on the big screen; nevertheless, he or she can make a big impact on our families, our schools, our workplaces, and our communities.

This is why the Pennsylvania House of Representatives soundly passed House Bill 321—a bill which would ban abortion for the sole reason of a Down syndrome diagnosis. It is the ultimate form of bigotry and discrimination to deny a person life based on disability. The bill is now pending in the PA Senate.

Every abortion is a tragedy, because it steals the life of a precious, unrepeatable human being. Until the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade falls and states can provide total protection to preborn babies, bills such as HB 321 represent a crucial first step.

We as a nation are suffering from a tremendous talent deficit because of legalized abortion. In a civilized society, people with disabilities should be honored, treasured, and empowered—as much as any star of the cinema.

 

 

 

Google and the Politics of Pregnancy

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By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

She was married, but finances were tight. So when she was abruptly dismissed from her job, the removal carried with it a decimating economic sting.

The reason for her forced departure? She was pregnant with me.

I always felt a tinge of sadness and a healthy amount of outrage when I heard my mother recount the story of how she lost her job because of her first pregnancy. It seemed so unjust, so cruel.

But that was so long ago. Surely, the situation is much improved today for pregnant women.

However, perhaps times have not changed all that much—at least among some short-sighted employers.

Consider this report from The Daily Caller. A former Google employee alleges the tech giant discriminates against pregnant women. Here are her heartfelt words:

  I’m sharing this statement because I hope it informs needed change in how Google handles discrimination, harassment and retaliation. … The details are important in understanding the often drawn-out, isolating and painful experience of victims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

The woman had been told she could not manage a corporate team because her maternity leave would “stress the team” and “rock the boat.”

In a statement to the Daily Caller, Google countered: “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy. To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.”

Nevertheless, if the allegations prove true, the situation is a stunning example of the lack of support that can drive a pregnant woman to abort. Research has shown that support—material, emotional, psychological—can be key in determining whether a woman chooses life for her preborn baby.

Companies need to provide supportive environments for pregnant women and new mothers. Such women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect—and their choice for life needs to be respected as well.

Any one of us can be the voice for change that enables pregnant women to thrive in what might otherwise be a less-than-welcoming workplace. It is these everyday encounters that can help empower women to bring their babies safely into the world.

Due Process and the Fate of the Unborn Child

Baby eyes By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

The concept of “due process” has been much in the news during this past year. For instance, it was front-and-center during the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, who had to defend himself against uncorroborated allegations in his bid to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Merriam-Webster defines “due process” in two ways: “1.) a course of formal proceedings (such as legal proceedings) carried out regularly and in accordance with established rules and principles and 2.) a judicial requirement that enacted laws may not contain provisions that result in the unfair, arbitrary, or unreasonable treatment of an individual.”

These definitions have led me to ponder how we treat the issue of abortion in our nation. Granted, it wasn’t always this way—prior to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, abortion was not widespread in our country.

But ever since that tragic court ruling, unborn children have been sacrificed on the altar of “choice” (a misnomer, really, since so many women report being pressured into abortions). More than 60 million preborn children have perished as a result of Roe.

Under Roe, there are no legal proceedings when an adult woman—who may in fact be under significant duress—shows up at an abortion facility. With the exception of requirements such as waiting periods, informed consent, and parental consent or notification for minor abortions, there are few rules governing the abortion industry.

And, as we saw in the tragic Kermit Gosnell case, the abortion industry appears to be guided by few ethical principles—After all, the National Abortion Federation did not report Gosnell to authorities after discovering the horrid conditions inside his West Philadelphia abortion center (He is now serving three consecutive life terms for the murder of newborn babies in Pennsylvania.).

Under our current system, the unborn child is definitely denied due process before her life is taken. She is not treated fairly or reasonably. She has no representation—there is no lawyer arguing on her behalf.

She receives far less consideration than a Death Row inmate appealing his pending execution.

And what crime has she committed? None. She is entirely innocent. Her life is mercilessly brought to an end before she has had an opportunity to touch her mother’s face or see her father’s smile.

Legal abortion represents the ultimate denial of due process. That is reason enough to do everything we can, legally and peacefully, to bring it to an end.

“Tipping Points” Shows Radical Nature of Pro-Abortion Stance

Tipping Points

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

In her new book Tipping Points: How to Topple the Left’s House of Cards, cable television host Liz Wheeler points out numerous abuses of liberty while also providing a blueprint for rebuilding America from the ruins created by radical far-left policies.

Among the abuses she highlights is a 2015 California law known ironically as the “California Reproductive FACT Act.”

With the swift-moving daily news stream, you might not remember this perverse piece of legislation, which required pregnancy resource centers to post ads for free abortions, funded by taxpayers, in their waiting rooms. As Wheeler deftly notes, “The California government was compelling speech by private citizens.” As a result, operators of pregnancy help centers “were forced to choose between violating their consciences and violating the law.”

Imagine—you set up a center to help empower pregnant women, and the state makes you advertise for a process that will take the life of a helpless preborn child. The word “unbelievable” just doesn’t cover it. The legislation was downright Orwellian in nature, placing the state in the role of monstrous Big Brother.

Wheeler reminds us that in March of 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the legal case which followed. In June of that year, the High Court ruled that the California statute in all likelihood violates the First Amendment right to free speech.

Justice Kennedy, then considered the “swing vote” on abortion-related cases, wrote a concurring opinion in which he described the law as a “paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought, and expression.”

Kennedy scolded California lawmakers stating it “is not forward thinking to force individuals to be an instrument for fostering public adherence to an ideological point of view they find unacceptable.”

The California law shows the extremes to which pro-abortion politicians will go in order to impose their extremist agenda. They are so committed to not only supporting but expanding abortion that they would readily pass measures forcing people to violate their consciences.

Thankfully, the pro-life movement is ever-vigilant, working to stop pro-abortion legislation in its tracks. But the threat of expansion of abortion is ever-present as long as Roe v. Wade remains in place.

Have You Forgotten About Kermit Gosnell?

Gosnell Center By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

This is a question I long to ask the current crop of Democratic candidates for President: Have you forgotten Kermit Gosnell?

Gosnell was the infamous abortionist and mass murderer who is suspected of killing hundreds of newborn babies. Prosecutors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania could bring criminal charges in only a handful of cases because Gosnell destroyed so many records from his “House of Horrors” abortion facility.

Ultimately, Gosnell was convicted of the murder of three newborn babies and involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of a female patient, Karnamaya Mongar. He is now safely off the streets, serving three consecutive life terms in prison.

I have yet to hear a Democratic Presidential candidate mention his name. He does not fit their false narrative: that abortionists come to the rescue of women (they don’t) and that infanticide is a hoax (Tell that to those who witnessed Gosnell’s evil deeds).

Gosnell’s crimes pulled the curtain back on an abortion industry the mainstream media simply do not want to investigate. The abortionist actually joked that one of the babies he killed was big enough to walk to the bus stop. Gosnell is the epitome of someone with simply no regard for innocent human life—inside or outside the mother’s womb.

The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would ensure that medical care would be required for babies born during botched abortions. Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has denied the bill a vote some 80 times.

As you can imagine, many people in Pennsylvania—individuals who have felt the repercussions of Gosnell’s depravity—are outraged that the bill has not passed. So they are calling on their Congressional representatives to sign a discharge petition which would allow a vote on the bill.

They are also incensed that Democratic Presidential candidates would ignore the silent crimes of Gosnell’s victims. For, by supporting absolutely no limits on abortion and no protections for babies who survive abortion, these candidates are doing nothing to prevent future Gosnells from plying their grisly trade.

If we have learned nothing else from the epic Gosnell tragedy, it is that abortion can all too easily lead to infanticide. Without the law and public officials to protect them, untold numbers of babies may be at risk.

Why We Will Be Marching for Life in Pennsylvania

March for Life banner By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

The year 2020 will mark a new era in the decades-old fight for legal protection for preborn children in Pennsylvania.

Next year the Keystone State will be holding its first Pennsylvania March for Life on May 18th. Pro-lifers from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and many points in between will be converging on the state Capitol in Harrisburg to draw attention to the plight of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens.

Why will we be marching in Pennsylvania?

  • We march on behalf of children in the womb who lose their lives at the rate of 30,000 annually in the state known as the birthplace of our nation.
  • We march for the many Pennsylvania women facing challenging circumstances during their pregnancies.
  • We march in honor of children with special needs who so often receive a prenatal death sentence based on their diagnosis.
  • We march in solidarity with women who have had abortions who now regret them.
  • We march arm-in-arm with men who have grieved lost fatherhood as a result of abortion.
  • We march to empower the frail elderly who are in danger of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
  • We march to celebrate the gift of life, at all its stages and phases of development.
  • We march to rebuild a culture of life in Pennsylvania from the moment of conception to the instant of natural death.
  • We march in defense of our time-tested Abortion Control Act, which provides for 24-hour waiting periods, parental consent, and informed consent for abortion.
  • We march in recognition of the need for greater legal protections for preborn children in Pennsylvania.
  • We march to show that there is a better way to handle unexpected pregnancies than Roe v. Wade, the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision which brought us abortion for any reason, or no reason at all, during all nine months of pregnancy.
  • We march to demonstrate our opposition to cruel dismemberment abortions, in which babies are torn limb by limb from their mothers’ wombs.
  • We march to bring hope and healing to grandparents who have lost precious grandchildren to abortion.
  • We march in recognition of the hundreds of pregnancy resource centers throughout the Commonwealth which offer comprehensive counseling and support to pregnant women and their families.
  • We march to rededicate ourselves to the awesome pro-life movement which has enhanced the quality of life in Pennsylvania.
  • We march to pay tribute to the dignity and inestimable value of human life.

If you live in Pennsylvania, please consider joining us at the 2020 Pennsylvania March for Life. It is your opportunity to stand up for the values you hold dear.

Join us! PA March for Life in Harrisburg

PA March for Life

Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life in Washington, DC, has announced that they are bringing the March for Life to Pennsylvania on Monday, May 18, 2020. Mark your calendars now for a rally at the State Capitol in Harrisburg at 11:00 a.m. followed by the March for Life at Noon. Jeanne said, “Ending abortion in America – and Pennsylvania – will take the effort of every single pro-life person. Each of us must commit to making a difference for the pro-life cause.” Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation said, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with the March for Life on this bold initiative and encourage pro-lifers across the Commonwealth to join us in marching together for LIFE.” For more information, please click HERE.

Teaching: A Pro-Life Vocation

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

teacher with students

To teach is to touch the future.

So true.  My former students are now coding software, engineering structures, managing businesses, and dispensing prescriptions.  They are mothers, fathers, consumers, and citizens active in my community and in many others.  Occasional chance meetings allow me to learn where some of my middle schoolers of the 90’s have landed.  Sometimes I am quite surprised.

For several years I got to play a small role in the development of today’s younger adults. Like other educators, it was a desire to nurture the hidden potential within each child that prompted me to become a teacher.

And it was precisely because of that desire that I quit the teachers’ union.

When I learned that the National Education Association, the largest union in the nation with almost 3 million members, supported “reproductive rights”, I could no longer pay the required dues.  How could I support an educational organization that was complicit in eliminating our very clientele?  If teachers were called to see the potential in every child, how could we ignore the potential of the pre-born and advocate for their termination? The irony shocked me, the hypocrisy plagued me, and I ultimately quit the union, hoping that one day things would change.

Sadly, the NEA has since doubled-down on their support for abortion.  While identifying themselves as the nation’s leading advocate for children, they recently added Business Item 56 to their agenda, which states that the union “vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade.”

I continue to be mystified. Why does an educational organization whose mission of improving public schools take a position on this issue?  How about sticking to negotiating fair salaries and lobbying for lower student-teacher ratios in the classroom?  How about promoting strategies for greater parental involvement and supporting successful inclusion practices for all children?  There are a plethora of issues to address but abortion shouldn’t be one of them.

When I refused to join the union at my second teaching job, I was paid a visit by the president of the local affiliate.  She said I could be sued by a student and would not have union advocacy and legal protection.  It’s interesting that fear, which is almost always at the root of abortion, was being used to persuade me to join the union.

When that didn’t work, she told me I was ruining the 100% union membership of which the school had boasted for several years.  I was able to direct her attention to a poster I had just hung in my classroom. “Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone.”  That poster wasn’t there for just my students, it was a much-needed reminder to me as well.

Exasperated, she left my classroom with the promise to send another teacher and union member who was pro-life to speak to me.  I nervously awaited his visit.

When he stopped by the next day, we sat and had a good, honest, and lengthy talk. In the end, he decided he could no longer support a union that supported abortion. I was grateful for his courageous change of heart. If the two of us refused membership on the basis of abortion, would others join us?  Could we at least get people thinking and talking about this issue rather than simply accepting the NEA’s misguided position?

No teacher should have to pay several hundred dollars annually to an organization that lobbies for the abortion of future students.  There is nothing pro-child, pro-teacher, or pro-education about that.  Teaching should be about touching the future, not killing it.

What Would Gov. Robert Casey Say About Campaign 2020?

Robert P. Casey Sr. By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I treasure the autographed copy of the book Fighting for Life, which has a place of prominence in our office library.

The book tells the moving story of the life of former Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, Sr., who called himself the “First of the New Democrats.”

Casey was pro-life–unapologetically so. He signed into law the 1989 Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, which provided for 24 hour waiting periods for abortion, informed consent prior to abortion, parental consent for a minor’s abortion, and a ban on sex selection abortions.

The law became the basis of the U.S. Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which ushered in a new era of legal protections for preborn children and their mothers.

Casey’s legacy? As a result of the Abortion Control Act, Pennsylvania’s abortion rate was cut in half. The law also became a model for the rest of the nation.

I cannot help thinking of the late Governor Casey when I peruse the stands of the Democratic Presidential candidates on the life issues. National Right to Life has produced a helpful handout on the candidates’ positions, and they show unbridled support for the nation’s current policy of abortion on demand.

This is despite a Marist poll earlier this year showing more Democrats identifying as pro-life.

I think to myself, “What would Governor Casey say about the Democratic Presidential candidates’ full embrace of the pro-abortion agenda?”

And then I turn to page 182 of his book, and I think I’ve found the answer.

Back in April of 1992, when Planned Parenthood v. Casey was argued before the Supreme Court, reporters asked Casey for comment on the case.

He answered with a question: “In this debate, who speaks for the child?”

The answer among this year’s crop of Democratic Presidential candidates?

No one.