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.

Abortion at Heart of Kavanaugh Controversy

Justice on Trial By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

It is all the more fascinating in the re-telling.

I am talking about the unprecedented drama that surrounded the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court

Justice on Trial: the Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court provides a brilliant analysis of the behind-the-scenes power struggle that accompanied the most contentious Supreme Court fight in modern history.

Authors Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino expertly demonstrate how a process that should be dignified and exemplary devolved into character assassination of a man who had sought to bring honor to the courts his entire professional life.

Hemingway and Severino recount this cautionary tale in vivid detail. Kavanaugh’s emotional pain during the confirmation hearings literally leaps off the page.

“Throughout my life, I’ve devoted huge efforts to encouraging and promoting the careers of women. I will put my record up against anyone’s male or female,” Kavanaugh said during his contentious hearing.

“I love coaching more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life, but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again.”

What pro-abortion Democrats had unleashed were a series of sensational, unsubstantiated allegations accusing the judge of sexual assault when he was a teenager. The most publicized of the claims was that of Christine Blasey Ford, who charged that Kavanaugh had attempted to rape her at a teenage house party. None of the people who Ford said had been present at the party could corroborate her claims.

Addressing Ford’s claims during a dramatic Capitol Hill hearing, Kavanaugh stated, “The other night (my wife) Ashley and my daughter Liza said their prayers, and little Liza—all of ten years old—said to Ashley, ‘We should pray for the woman.’ That’s a lot of wisdom from a ten-year-old. We mean no ill will.”

Hemingway and Severino identify abortion as being a key issue at the heart of the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court appointment. They point out that, as soon as Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered a swing vote on abortion, announced his retirement, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tweeted, “Abortion will be illegal in twenty states in 18 months.”

As much as pro-lifers wish the tragedy of legal abortion would end today, we realize we are in this struggle for the long haul. We do not know when the Supreme Court will right a profound wrong and restore legal protection for preborn children.

One thing we do know—the vitriol and fury unleashed against any Supreme Court nominee President Donald Trump would make coarsen our culture and wound our society.

As President Trump stated, “On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.

“What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process,” the President said.

And, one could add, fairness, decency, and due process are also all violated under the abortion regime created by the High Court.

Cable TV Commentator’s Arguments for Legal Abortion Melt Away

newborn babe arms outstretched By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

The arguments made by pro-abortion advocates can melt away quicker than a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream on a sweltering July day.

Take, for instance, the defense of legal abortion posed by cable television commentator Tomi Lahren.

In her book Never Play Dead, Lahren dismisses the pro-life point of view as a merely religious objection to the practice of abortion.

Speaking of those who would like to see the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Roe v. Wade, Lahren claims they are engaging in an enterprise that would be “unconstitutional” “because we don’t legislate morality. We don’t nominate people to that position (Supreme Court Justice) just to carry out our religion.”

But in truth, the life issues cannot be narrowly defined as being a question of religion. Atheists can be pro-life. The case against abortion can be made on many legitimate grounds: scientific, Constitutional, and legal.

It does not take a divinity degree to recognize the fact that life begins at conception, that the moment of fertilization is a life-giving act which merits legal protection for the unique individual created.

You do not have to belong to a place of worship to understand that a person’s heart starts beating 24 days after conception and brain waves can be detected 44 days post-conception.

It is an act of intellectual engagement, not religious fervor, to argue that our founding fathers saw the right to life as a pillar of a stable society.

This is not to say that religion cannot be a motivator in seeking justice—certainly it was for modern day heroes such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But it is simply wrong to claim that people who recognize the inherent rights of children in the womb are somehow forcing their religion on other people.

Lahren rails against putting justices on the High Court to “interpret your religion.” That is not the position of the mainstream pro-life movement. Pro-lifers advocate an interpretation of the Constitution which is based on what that sacred document actually says, rather than what pro-abortion zealots wish it said.

Reason and common sense are key planks of the pro-life platform. They were back before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, and they continue to be today. And that is why the pro-life case is so persuasive, generation after generation.

Supporting Both Mother and Child – The truth of the Pro-Life Mission

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.Baby girl

A recent New York Times article claims that the term “pro-life” is purely a marketing term and that “Whatever the anti-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about the mother.”

The author also says that “The anti-abortion cause didn’t promote itself as ‘pro-life’ until the more punitive-sounding ‘anti-abortion’ label failed.” What this article misses is that the term ”pro-life” means exactly what it says, supporting and cherishing all human life, and if anything is punitive it’s abortion. 

Abortion does not aid or help a woman feel safe because it is the intentional destruction of a human life that brings a woman pressure, heartbreak, regret, and a deadly quick-fix disguised as healthcare.  Pregnancy may be difficult but it is not a punishment. It is a normal, natural opportunity to give, love and respect life. Those who choose to love and sacrifice when it’s hard are those who do the most good in the world.  There are also others who tenderly care and are open to help with the difficulties that arise with an unexpected or crisis pregnancy. 

Being pro-life acknowledges the humanity and uniqueness of all life at every stage, and that includes protecting as precious both the unborn child and his/her mother.  The overused argument that pro-life only equals pro-birth is completely unfounded because it is those who support life who are actually giving a mother a choice, and not just a choice, but one that will help rather than hurt her.  

Many women choose abortion because they feel they have no choice. Abortion is portrayed as the only solution to an unplanned or difficult pregnancy, but telling women their primary option is to either pay a substantial amount of money or have the taxpayers pay to have their child killed is no way to make a woman or her child feel safe. 

These are not just words or ideals, there truly are other and better options for pregnant women, loving and helpful options.  In Pennsylvania alone, there are hundreds of pregnancy care centers all across the state, not to mention countless churches, families and pro-life communities who are willing to give a woman and her child the love and care they need at a critical time.  

The Pro-Life mission is one that treats all life with the dignity belonging to all humans, born and unborn.  Women need to know that there really are loving assistance and the life-giving options that they deserve.