“Progressive” Governor Stalls Progress on Life Issues

Baby with block  By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

He might call himself a progressive, but the Governor of Pennsylvania is standing directly in the way of progress, when it comes to pro-life advances in the Commonwealth.

Democrat Tom Wolf has staked out a position at odds with the state’s mainstream, when it comes to the life issues. He opposes any and all restrictions on abortion, towing the Planned Parenthood line time and time again.

He vetoed a common sense bill that would have banned brutal dismemberment abortions, where babies are torn limb by limb from their mothers’ wombs. The former volunteer clinic escort for Planned Parenthood opposes a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion, even though such a measure is supported by the vast majority of Americans.

He has gone so far as to pledge to veto any pro-life bill that comes to his desk. Undaunted, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this past spring passed House Bill 321, which would ban abortion for the sole reason of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The House approved the bill by a large, bipartisan majority. The measure is now awaiting action in the Pennsylvania Senate.

If the Senate follows the lead of the House and OK’s the bill, would Wolf stand in the way of people with disabilities being protected? Or would he at least acknowledge that children with special needs deserve special legal protection? Time will tell.

But all indications are that, if Wolf had his way, Pennsylvania would become another New York, legalizing abortions up to the moment of birth, while offering no care and consideration for babies born as a result of “botched” abortions.

Pennsylvania’s House and Senate retain pro-life majorities, so Wolf is clearly out of step with the state legislature. He has also distanced himself ideologically from the majority of the populace, who oppose most abortions, according to public opinion polls.

I know of people who are hoping and praying for a conversion of the Governor’s heart. Unless and until that happens, the state legislature is providing a critical firewall against radically pro-abortion policies.

But with another election, that firewall could easily melt away. That is why it is critical that, come 2020, pro-lifers become engaged and informed. Retaining pro-life majorities in the General Assembly is crucial to ensuring that Pennsylvania’s common sense limits on abortion, such as parental consent, informed consent, and 24-hour waiting periods, are maintained.

Without them, PA will lose the legislative ground we’ve gained…not to mention untold numbers of precious lives.

What Pete Doesn’t Know

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director


oleg-sergeichik-MrsbKzRzflo-unsplash

 

 

 

Photo by Oleg Sergeichik on Unsplash

 

Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg may know a lot, but there is one fundamental truth he doesn’t know…when human life begins.

In a recent interview, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana referenced the Bible in defending abortion up to birth, surmising that life begins at first breath. Interestingly, he ignores other passages, such as Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you,” Psalm 139:13 “For thou didst form my inward parts; thou didst knit me in my mother’s womb,” and Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”  Additionally, he ignores the fifth commandment “Thou shalt not kill.”

Pete is proudly “pro-choice”, choosing to invoke only those parts of the Bible that seem to suit an indefensible agenda.

He also chooses to ignore science, specifically embryology, which confirms that a genetically unique human life is present from the moment of conception.

The American College of Pediatricians recognizes this fundamental fact. Issuing a statement in 2017, this group of medical experts

…concurs with the body of scientific evidence that corroborates that a unique human life starts when the sperm and egg bind to each other in a process of fusion of their respective membranes and a single hybrid cell called a zygote, or one-cell embryo, is created.

But Pete doesn’t seem to know this, or perhaps doesn’t want to know.

Does he know that many infants born prematurely, like my first son, have lungs incapable of breathing on their own? A respirator and oxygen tube become their lifelines.  Does he really believe babies dependent on these for breath have no right to life? That their human life hasn’t yet begun? That they can be killed?

Sadly, there is so much more that Pete Buttigieg doesn’t know. His ignorance leads him to dehumanize the most vulnerable and innocent among us, attempting to justify a horrible act of violence against them.

Pete doesn’t know the whirling sound of a child’s in-utero heartbeat, or the utter amazement of seeing your own baby in his first home via ultrasound.

He doesn’t know the tickle of a tiny human tumbling within, or the firm kick later in pregnancy that can make a mother gasp.

He doesn’t know the rhythmic beat of a pre-born babe’s hiccup, rocking the belly at predictable intervals.

He doesn’t know that the worry, the sickness, the labor pain, and all the sacrifices involved in bringing forth the life already created, that all those melt away when you lay skin-to-skin with your own flesh and blood for the very first time and fall in love.

Pete doesn’t know. He doesn’t know that he was a living human being from the moment of his conception, long before he drew his first breath.

Presidential candidate Pete Butterieg, who seeks to lead a nation founded on the promises of life and liberty, should know better.

Abortion is a Stigma on Society

by Jessica Resuta 

Our guest blogger is a junior journalism major at Franciscan University of Steubenville and a past winner of the PA Pro-Life Federation’s Oratory Contest.

Woman on beach

Nicki Minaj described her abortion as “…the hardest thing I’d ever gone through,” “[It’s] haunted me all my life.”

The famed rapper’s words were featured in a recent article from People Magazine that focused on a collection of interviews and social media posts by 25 celebrities sharing their abortion stories to “help end the stigma.”

A lot of the stories expressed the typical glorification of abortion as a woman’s right, like with actress Linsey Godfrey’s statement “I had an abortion…and still am glad I had that choice because that’s exactly what it was, it was my choice, my body.”  However, there’s also much regret and fear implied in many of these statements. For instance, actress and author Amber Tamblyn said of her abortion “It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I still think about it to this day.”

“Abortion is a nightmare at its best,” actress Milla Jovovich says, “No woman wants to go through that.”  Yet, she insisted women must fight to ensure access to abortion.

TV host Sharon Osbourne’s story was one of the most detailed in the piece. Pregnant at 17, she was told by her mother that “You have to get rid of it…She told me where the clinic was, then virtually pushed me off. She was so angry.” Osbourne said, “I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you.”

This doesn’t sound like a choice, or a liberating experience for a woman. It sounds like they were forced by a societal mindset to make what as Minaj said could be the hardest life-decision ever.

Regardless of how they viewed abortion, the majority of these women mentioned some kind of regret about their decision.  And while some decisions in life will be unavoidably hard or painful, killing a child should never have to be one of them. No mother should ever be told that killing her child is a safe or best option.

In contrast, consider some real, average women who underwent the same experience of unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Non-celebrities, yes, but are they any happier or at peace with the “choice” society offered them?

An ongoing photography series  by Angela Forker called “After the Abortion” depicts real women living with the guilt and pain of their abortion, regretting the loss of the child they could never have back. It is similar to the People Magazine article as it shows the pressure and difficulty of their decisions, but the tone is conveyed differently using the visuals of photography to express a true loss by these mothers.

One photo depicts a woman named Rochelle shedding tears into a soft, yellow baby blanket with the caption in her own words “ Sadly this is the blanket I never got to wrap my baby in and rock her to sleep. The pain never goes away! The regret never ever goes away!”

The photos go from subtle to gutwrenching; a woman embracing an empty cradle, another woman bent over in pain trying in vain to turn back a clock. There are photos of women both young and old expressing how abortion did not really solve their problem, but led to the brutal and heartwrenching reality that the killing of a child in abortion leads to lifelong regret for the mother.

It is crucial that women who have abortions should never be shamed for their actions, especially because the society they live in says it’s completely permissible. But it is also necessary that they know that this is not the way society should be and they should never have to choose death for their own preborn child.

The real stigma in society is that abortion is a good, a woman’s right, and totally acceptable.  It’s a dishonest view that needs to end.  Abortion is nothing other than the killing of a vulnerable human being, yet society is too afraid to face the fact that abortion truly devastates women.  An innocent, vulnerable child’s fate should never be death, and a struggling mother should never be told that it’s legal, safe, and perfectly acceptable to kill her child. A culture that promotes and praises unjust killings and ignores the hurt and regret that comes with it is not one that will ever be able to actually promote love, trust, justice, and peace.

Empty Desks at Back to School Time

Empty desk By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

As children around the U.S. head back to school, I think about the children who are missing because of legal abortion.

It is not a small number. Figures from the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, indicate nearly one million abortions occur each year.

That means millions of children will never get a chance to pose for a first-day-of-school photo. They will never experience the joy of learning, or the freedom and frivolity which come with daily recess.

They will never score a soccer goal or play the flute in the school orchestra. They will never have the opportunity to sing in the school choir, perform in a play, or earn the winning touchdown on the football playing field.

Think about it. If we were to memorialize each baby killed by abortion with a single student desk, how empty are classrooms would be.

How many women in the U.S. are silently grieving the children who will never bring home a report card, or a construction paper surprise for their mothers? How many men are suffering from lost fatherhood as a result of abortion?

The babies who were aborted were real people, real children who deserved respect, compassion, and love. Instead, their lives were ended before they could ever step foot on school grounds.

Back-to-school days are just another reminder of how impoverished our society is because of legal abortion.

May today’s schoolchildren, as they grow and develop, come to recognize that truth, and end legal abortion once and for all.

Reading Between the Lines of Campaign Rhetoric

Elizabeth Warren

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

Things are not always what they seem to be–especially on the campaign trail.

Recently, I listened to a National Public Radio political podcast featuring Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

During the interview, Warren stated, “We are called on to see the value of every human being.” She then went on to cite a verse from the Bible, Matthew (Chapter) 25.

Her quote, along with a Biblical reference, might lead one to believe that she is pro-life, and believes in “welcoming the stranger,” including the pregnant woman and her unborn child.

But, sadly, this is not the case–as demonstrated by both her record and her stands on the life issues.

According to National Right to Life’s helpful handout, “Where Do the Candidates Stand on Life,” Warren supports the current policy of abortion on demand.

In fact, the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts co-sponsored a bill that would invalidate nearly every state and federal limit on abortion. She also cast a vote against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would guarantee care for babies who survive abortions.

Warren even voted for taxpayer funding of abortion–even though national public opinion polls consistently show that the vast majority of Americans oppose such a policy.

The lesson here is that, when evaluating candidates, it is important to look beyond their statements in a single podcast or interview. Instead, turn to trusted sources, such as National Right to Life, to get the full story about a candidates’ views.

That way, you can make a fully-informed vote, come election time.

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.

 

 

 

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.

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.