The Freedom to Choose…Life!

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director



Freedom. A cherished word. A sacred right. 

The older I get, the more I value freedom and the more I desire others to know true freedom.

I desire it particularly for women who find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy. 

Those who do not feel free to choose life. Those who feel coerced by the baby’s father, or parents, or friends.

Those who feel stifled by society’s lingering stigma regarding unplanned pregnancies and adoption.

Those who feel imprisoned by fear of an unknown future.

Those held hostage by an abusive relationship.

And those whose vulnerability is preyed upon and exploited, trapped into ending their own child’s life.

Two-thirds of post-abortive women report feeling explicitly or implicitly forced into abortion.

That is not freedom. 

We must set them free

We must embrace every opportunity to help women be free to choose life.

Free to protect the child within their womb, even those deemed “imperfect,” or not perfectly timed.

Free to parent a child or free to lovingly place him for adoption.

Free to pursue their dreams, even in the midst of pregnancy or parenting.

When we empower women, whether through our laws, our words, our material support, or whatever is needed to walk with them on their journey, we offer them true freedom.  We give them what they need to make the best choice possible for themselves and their child. That choice can never be death.

I am so grateful that my own family gave me the freedom to choose life when I was just 18 years old.

My mother, relieved that I did not have a terminal illness, assured me we could deal with a baby. 

My oldest brother, a new father himself, told me that all babies, at all times, are a blessing.

My youngest brother embraced me and thanked me for not getting an abortion.

Does not every young woman deserve such support so that they have the freedom to choose life?

As we celebrate our many freedoms, let us renew our commitment to giving every human being, without qualification, the freedom to live first and foremost, for without life, no other freedoms can exist.  

Viable: A Life-Changing Story of Post-Abortive Redemption

By Jessie Morgan, Intern

Playwright John Hoover remembers a moment long ago, when a spark was ignited inside him. Little did he know that years later, that spark would blossom into the life-altering reality known as Viable the play.

In 1984, when attending a pro-life symposium in California, Hoover listened to a woman speak out about her experiences as a former abortionist. This woman was from the Middle East and had been performing abortions for years before her eyes were opened to the painstaking reality of abortion.

“God took the scales off her eyes,” said Hoover. “She realized what she was doing and quickly became a pro-life advocate”.

The woman described that in early days, abortion failures were common, which resulted in physically impaired and developmentally-challenged children being born alive. To prevent potential lawsuits, procedures were developed to ensure that the baby in the womb would be undoubtedly dead.

After listening, Hoover couldn’t help but wonder: “what would the world be like if women were told the truth of abortion?”

He remembered reading a survey which first informed women about the procedures done to abort an unborn child. Afterwards, they asked if the women would still obtain an abortion. 90 percent of women responded “no.”

This alarming response gave Hoover an idea, one that he carried with him for 25 years. In 2019, he finally put it on paper.

According to the play’s website, “The Viable storyline captures an unforgettable confrontation as an aborted child visits her mother nearly 30 years later. The mother has carried guilt and grief for all that time, trying all the while to protect her emotional stability by professing the mantras that abortion providers originally used to comfort her”.

With nothing but three actors and two chairs, Viable invites viewers on a journey of continued healing as Judy, the mother, searches for a ray of hope after walking for decades in post-abortive shame and regret.

When asked about the primary audience, Hoover said that when writing the play, he assumed that it would be targeted at women who had lost children to abortion. However, everything changed on the very first night of the production, during a scene when Judy rushes through the audience in a dramatic exit.

Gisele Gathings, who plays Judy in the production, remembers seeing a man walking out of the audience in tears. By the time she rushed out of the theater, the man was standing in the lobby, sobbing.

“I wanted to comfort him!” Gathings recalled. “But I had to get to my next scene.”

Gathings has observed that an abortion does not just affect women. Rather, all family members—fathers, grandparents, children, husbands, are part of the story, too.

“Delving into the emotions, the negative emotions of how abortion doesn’t just affect the woman that is post abortive, but also the family members that are involved. The cycle that passes down when abortion is in a family, not just one person having more than one abortion, but also family members following in the footsteps.”

To Gathings, the theme of Viable is not abortion, but redemption through Christ.

“It is bigger than abortion. This (abortion) can lead to various different issues and pain where people need healing. Jesus is about life more abundantly, but also about us choosing him and the choices we have to make. For me, Viable touches on dealing with and bringing up the pain that needs to be healed and addressed.”

Both Gathings and Hoover hope that this play may be what inspires families to begin conversations about their own abortion experiences, so that feelings of hatred, betrayal and regret might be replaced with forgiveness, grace and love.

Hoover is also excited to announce that the Viable tour is back in action. After months of show dates being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Viable plans to resume its tour across the United States, with new dates and locations being added every day. The play will also be performed at this year’s National Right to Life Convention in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, June 24th. For more information, visit http://www.viableplay.org/.

Roe’s Feeble Foundation Threatened by the Tide of Truth

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

With the President, mainstream media, and Hollywood elites all in their corner, it would seem that the abortion lobby is living their misguided dream.

But recent news that the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban has sent them into a tailspin. They’re panicked that not only will the ban be upheld by a more conservative Court, but that Roe itself may be reversed. If there is strong legal precedent and overwhelming public support for abortion, as activists often claim, what are they afraid of?

The truth. Many in the abortion industry know what many pro-lifers know: Roe v. Wade was a decision built on proverbial sand, a feeble foundation that has been steadily eroded by science, experience, and reason over the last 50 years.  

Legal scholars on both sides of the issue acknowledge the shaky ground on which Justice Harry Blackmun’s majority opinion was based. His own pro-abortion clerk, Edward Lazarus, admitted years later, “As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible…And in the years since Roe’s announcement, no one has produced a convincing defense of Roe on its own terms.”

While abortion supporters often refer to the Constitutional right to abortion, the truth is there is no such thing, and there never was. Simply stated, there is no explicit right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution. So on what basis did the Court legalize abortion in 1973?

Roe said that a woman’s “right” to abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment. Yet, the amendment itself makes no mention of right to privacy.

“Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The Roe Court referred to a right to privacy that was invented in a 1965 case about contraception, Griswold vs. Connecticut. In that majority opinion, Justice William O. Douglas wrote of penumbras (shadows) formed by emanations (rays) of the Bill of Rights, and surmised that from these shadows and rays arose a “zone of privacy,” later referred by the court as the “right of privacy.”

In essence, Justice Douglas proposed that the Bill of Rights emanates other rights, and in the shadows of those other rights are additional rights, none of which are specifically declared in the Constitution.  It was on this precarious, ever-shifting bed of sand (and shadows) that the right to abortion as part of a right to privacy was founded. A fabricated, weak argument.

What is undeniably explicit in the 14th amendment are guaranteed fundamental rights: no State shall make a law depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny equal protection of law. The 14th amendment, first and foremost, upholds the right to life.  And yet this amendment is used to imply a right to privacy that is prioritized over an explicit right to life.

But what about the word person, another frequent protest of abortion supporters? Are fetuses persons?  Even Justice Blackmun himself conceded in his opinion that the right to abortion would not exist if the humanity of the fetus could be proved.  “If this suggestion of personhood is established, [Roe’s] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment,” he wrote.

What would a 2021 Blackmun say about this? Hidden in the womb, invisible to the human eye, the fetus was somewhat easier to de-humanize in 1973. But with the revelations of ultrasound, the evolving sciences of embryology and genetics, and the advancements of in-utero fetal surgery, it’s disingenuous to do so today.  Fetuses are as human as infants, toddlers, and senior citizens. Clearly, both science and technology have shown us the irrefutable proof that Blackmun sought. Those unwilling to admit to this obvious truth deliberately turn a blind eye to the evidence and begin playing language games in an effort to justify abortion.

The decision to legalize abortion was rooted in not just poor legal interpretation, but also deception. Roe was based on the lie that Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) was raped.  Roe was supported by then-abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s grossly inflated, yet unquestioned numbers that thousands of women died in back alley abortions each year.  Roe’s majority opinion cited Larry Lader’s non-scientific book Abortion seven times, essentially using a piece of propaganda to justify a legal decision.

Roe is not immune to being overturned. As Justice Amy Coney Barret explained in her nomination hearings, Roe is not a super-precedent like the de-segregation case Brown vs. the Board of Education because it still faces many legal challenges in courts around the country. This vulnerability is what has the abortion lobby so worried. A tide of truth is creeping ever closer to washing Roe away.  

Overturning Roe will not suddenly make abortion illegal across this county. The abortion decision would go back to each state, and we all must be ready for such a pivotal moment in history, to rebuild a culture of life that is on solid legal ground.

Jessie Morgan: Taking Steps For Those Who Can’t

My name is Jessie Morgan, and I am so excited to take on an internship at the PA Pro Life Federation this summer!

I grew up in Sunbury, about an hour up the river from Harrisburg, and attended Line Mountain School District growing up.

The pro-life caused sparked my interest in the 8th grade, when my middle school Campus Club (Christian charity group) organized a ‘Walk For Life’ for our local Pregnancy Care Center. As young as I was at the time, I had virtually no idea what abortion even was; I just thought the Pregnancy Care Center was a sanctuary for new mothers in need of support and resources.

I vividly remember the design on our T-Shirts, with a picture of two tiny footprints displayed over the front. Underneath the picture in italics was the phrase, “Taking steps for those who can’t”. I wasn’t really sure what it meant, but not too long afterwards I found out the truth—  along with helping mothers, the core of the Pregnancy Care Center was to protect the lives of unborn babies. To save them from abortion.

It was not easy to process the unthinkable. At a young age, children and teenagers are much more adaptable to new ideas; they can normalize practices such as abortion because they’re growing up in an environment where they are told these practices are okay, that they are safe. But I never could. I would remember those two tiny footprints and my heart would ache for the little human lives that were never given a chance to experience life.

I was first introduced to the Federation after entering their annual Pro-Life Oratory contest in 2018. My speech took first place, and I had the amazing opportunity to attend the National Right To Life Convention in Kansas City, Missouri later that summer. Following the convention, I would hop on a bus to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. every January. While the convention provided me with a plethora of helpful information about life in the womb, the March gave me the hope that there were thousands of others in this country who were willing to stand up to protect the sanctity of all human life.

During my internship, I hope to use the skills and abilities I have gained in my own education to engage young people with the pro-life movement. A good friend once mentioned to me that real culture change cannot come from a change of law, but a change of heart. If we can impress the value of unborn life onto the hearts of our young people, I believe we can foster a society that will not only consider abortion illegal, but unthinkable. 

The Call that Saved the Life of a Football Prodigy

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

You can’t win if you don’t play.

And you can’t play if you’ve never been born.

Micah Parsons plays well. Very well. But the NFL top-draft pick from Harrisburg, PA was almost denied the chance.

As he reveals for the first time in an April 20, 2021 PennLive article by Brian Linder, Parson’s mom, Sherese, seriously considered an abortion.  “My mom already had two kids when she got pregnant with me. She just didn’t know if she could afford it.”

At one point, his mother told his father, “I think I’m going to the clinic.’’

As Linder explains, no one knew about the pregnancy so it was surprising when a church friend called to say hello and sensed something was wrong.  Eventually, the truth emerged and a conversation took place.

The woman who simply called to check in and say hello ended up saving Micah Parsons’ life.

 “She talked my mom out of it,” Micah said. “I think that is why (my mom) was always like, ‘God looks over you, son, and you should continue to keep doing good things in your life and give back to God…’”

Believing divine intervention came through the hands and heart of another human being, Sherese calls Micah her “biggest blessing.”

The life-saving caller could not possibly have known that the child in her friend’s womb would one day become a celebrated athlete on the verge of a multimillion dollar professional sports career. 

But what he would or would not become didn’t matter. The caller recognized a precious, unrepeatable gift of life growing within her friend. A life worth saving, unconditionally.

In fact, no one can predict the path that any one life may take. No one can foresee the full potential inherent in a tiny human life.  No one can forecast the lasting impact that any one person may have.

And we shouldn’t try.  History is replete with people overcoming incredibly difficult circumstances to make unique and impressive contributions to society, leaving a legacy that has eternal ramifications.

Micah’s life has already had an amazing impact. Not just on his family, his hometown, and on the game of football.  He has a son, a child who would not be here if Micah were not.  Ending a life through abortion has a generational consequence.

Through compassionate support and encouragement that came through a phone call, Micah’s mom chose to give him life.

And he doesn’t take that lightly. Micah aims to maximize that gift. It’s always seemed like I was brought into this world to do something bigger than just play football.”

By sharing his story, Micah Parsons already has.

His story may inspire couples to welcome a child even amidst obstacles, and may motivate more people to lovingly reach out to abortion-vulnerable women.

His story exemplifies what could be when we give life a chance.

And his story shows the difference that one phone call, one conversation, one person can make.

Following the Actual Science

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

While the celestial heavens and the deepest pockets of the ocean remain mysterious to us on many levels, modern technology has made them less so, providing new and fascinating insights that we once lacked. 

The same is true of another once baffling frontier: the womb.

Although it is the origination point of every human being who has ever walked this earth, for the greater part of history we’ve known little about our first home and how we came to be.

It was only in the late 1800’s, for example, that scientists understood that the union of male and female sex cells creates another human being. But beyond that, much remained a mystery.

Without any means to glimpse into the gestational cosmos, scientists could only speculate as to what occurs during pregnancy.  Even well into the 20th Century, we possessed surprisingly little information about prenatal development.

As late as the 1969 edition of the Cumulative Index Medicus, a massive book listing every article published in every medical journal in the world, had just five articles under the heading of “fetus, physiology and anatomy of.”

The void of facts made the product of abortion-on-demand easier to market. After all, it (not he or she) was just a clump of cells.  

The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson addressed this lack of empirical data on human development in his autobiography The Hand of God.  And he discussed the technological lightning bolt that struck him in the late 1970’s which led him to abandon his lucrative abortion practice and leadership role in the pro-abortion movement to become a staunch pro-life advocate.

That transformative tool was ultrasound which provided a window that revealed the miraculous process of human development. These scientific advancements, along with those arising from the study of genetics, sparked an abundance of research into life in utero.

Nathanson credits ultrasound with helping us “to learn more about the fetus since its advent than in almost all the history of medicine before that time.”

By 1979, he accounted for twenty-eight hundred articles on fetology in the Index Medicus, and by 1994 close to five thousand. Now, almost 30 years later, how much more research has been done and articles written on human life in its earliest stages?

How little we knew then; how much more we know now.

It might be easier to understand someone’s support of abortion back in the “Dark Ages” when so little of fetology was known. 

But how can anyone today, especially those who seemingly espouse science as their barometer of all things true, justify abortion? 

They would have to be blind to facts. Deaf to a heartbeat. Indifferent to an innocent life moving right before their eyes.  Numb to dismemberment. Desensitized to a violent death.

Callous to the crude disposal of human life.

They would be and, in fact, are the ultimate science-deniers.

So let us be relentless messengers of the beautiful biological truths we have learned in the last half century. 

Let us incessantly proclaim the fact that every human life begins at the moment of fertilization.

Let us truly follow the science to build a culture of life.

A Film Too Important to Not See

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Where were you in 1973?

Perhaps you remember it well. Perhaps you weren’t even born.

I was five years old, blissfully unaware of the volatile changes occurring in our culture.

It would be many years before I would know what Roe v. Wade was. By that time, an abortion narrative had been carefully crafted and a misleading lexicon taken hold, phrases like “pro-choice”, “reproductive rights”, and even “access to health care.”

Which is why the movie Roe v Wade is so fascinating and so very relevant. It offers a fast-paced, fact-checked depiction of events leading to the most controversial court case of our time, a historical moment that preceded many Americans alive today.

For those familiar with the history of abortion in this country, this movie smoothly ties together main players and events, helping the viewer to see the big picture. For others, the film will expose how the true story of Roe has been omitted from decades of abortion propaganda.

Told through the lens of Dr. Bernard Nathanson (played by co-producer Nick Loeb), the movie captures his evolving relationship with abortion: from paying for a girlfriend’s abortion to co-founding the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) to becoming New York’s busiest abortionist. With over 70,000 deaths attributed to his practice, he became known as “The  King of Abortion” and “The Scraper.” But as the film depicts, Nathanson experiences a heart-wrenching epiphany that leads him to abandon his lucrative work and become an outspoken pro-life activist.

As Nathanson narrates his journey, we meet his sidekick Lader, who has authored a book called Abortion. He recruits friend and feminist Betty Friedan to the abortion cause. Reluctant to make abortion the focus of the women’s rights movement, Friedan does ultimately bring the National Organization for Women (NOW) into the fight, but observes, “You boys are only in favor of abortion because it’s cheaper than child support.”

For Larry Lader allies are not enough. He believes every cause has to identify an enemy, and for the abortion movement, he shrewdly chooses the biggest defender of the unborn, the Catholic Church. A master media manipulator, Lader is able to vilify the Church while promoting his newly-coined term “pro-choice” and his “abortion-on-demand” agenda in major publications.

Today’s viewers may be shocked to see the dominant role that men, not women, actually played in legalizing abortion.  In addition, to Nathanson and Lader, the Supreme Court at that time was all male, none of whom could have ever felt the flutter of life in their belly or witnessed an ultrasound image of that life.  The movie reveals that two justices, Potter Stewart and Harry Blackmun, actually had family members who volunteered at Planned Parenthood while Roe was in the courts, yet they didn’t recuse themselves.

A little-known fact explained in the movie is that arguments for Roe were heard twice, once in 1971 and then again in 1973. Justice Warren Burger (played by John Voight) insisted on the second hearing since two seats on the Court had been vacant the first time around. With a case as controversial as Roe, he felt a decision should be made by a full court. Tragically, in the time between oral arguments, Burger and Blackmun would switch their votes to be in favor of Roe, likely a result of media and family pressure.

An outstanding woman in the film is the poised and brilliant Dr. Mildred Jefferson, the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Recognizing that abortion violates the Hippocratic Oath she took, she decides she cannot sit on the sidelines.  “Life begins at conception. As a physician, I know this.” She goes on to become President of the newly formed National Right to Life Committee, now the oldest and largest pro-life organization in our country.

Although dense with people, events, and information, the movie flows easily, thanks to Nathanson’s retrospective voice framing the story. The extensive, detailed research that underscores the film is impressive, making this an excellent educational tool not only for today but for generations to come.

Many scenes will give the viewer pause: the arrest of clergy involved in a secret abortion-referral network, Planned Parenthood fundraising at the Playboy Mansion, Nathanson’s overseas training in “assembly-line” abortion methods, the emotional recitation of the diary of the unborn, and the stirring closing argument offered by Robert Flowers.

Many of the lines are thought-provoking. Throughout the film, Constitutional law professor Robert M. Byrn offers bits of wisdom, quotations from historical figures like Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall.

But perhaps it is his own words to his students that should resonate with us long after viewing the movie, impelling us to never stop advocating for the innocent, vulnerable child in the womb.

“Don’t you think someone’s hopelessness should motivate us to protect them, not destroy them?”

(For $12.99 plus tax, you can stream Roe v Wade to any device by clicking here.)

.

The Difference a Law Can Make

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

A happily married woman who delights in her two children may not seem like someone who would get an abortion.

Yet, Sue Ellen Browder did.  In her book Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement, she reveals the mindset that led her to a decision she would later regret.

It’s a mindset that, decades later, still lures women to abort. At its core is the universal emotion of fear.

Browder feared that she and her husband, struggling writers working temp jobs to keep the lights on, could not afford another child. The 1970’s Cosmo culture in which she was steeped validated that fear and gave her “permission” to act on it. “In my mind, abortion was an integral part of the women’s movement, a right as fundamental as equal pay for equal work,” she writes. As “watered-down Christians,” she says her husband even tried to find justification for abortion in the Bible.  

But Browder admits that she would never have considered abortion were it not legal in 1974. “Looking up some sleazy criminal abortionist in a back alley would be too hideous a prospect for words.” An important admission that we need to bear in mind today as we seek to change laws to protect life.

Getting a legal abortion in the “bright, clean hospital” where she had already given birth, however, gave it an air of legitimacy, as though it were just like any other medical procedure. “I didn’t think of myself as killing a child. I thought of myself as solving a problem.”

The abortion was excruciatingly painful, both physically and emotionally. In an act of self-preservation, Browder blocked much of the details from her mind, rendering the memory a blur.  

Afterward, she numbly returned to work. “I have just snuffed out a tiny life over my lunch hour.  I have betrayed the bond of love that holds the universe together. And no one I work with seems any the wiser.”

To prevent any possible feelings from surfacing, Browder buried herself in distractions. She blamed the persistent angst and depression she felt on the couple’s continually volatile finances.  Her husband struggled emotionally as well, and they chose to stifle their pain by never speaking of the abortion.

One day, however, Browder found herself offering a gesture of atonement. She spontaneously purchased a brand new wooden crib and mattress and donated it to a pro-life center for “some struggling mother who, despite her poverty, had chosen to keep her baby and to reach out humbly to others for help.” Something she wished she had done.

Browder’s thinking shifted and she questioned the faux feminism that portrayed abortion as the great liberator. She recognized that she herself was deceived by the very propaganda she helped disseminate as a writer for Cosmopolitan.

Her entry into the Episcopal Church, coinciding with her work on a book about human interactions, resulted in a new understanding of personhood. She realized an interconnectedness between all humans, especially mother and child.

It gradually became clear to Browder that the women’s movement embodied by Betty Friedan and the National Organization for Women was rooted in flawed thinking that “falsely isolates a woman from God, from a true relationship of love with a man, and even from the dance of life in her own body.”

Browder had succumbed to fear in getting her abortion, but she would no longer succumb to the lies that pitted women against their children.

Her journey was taking a new turn, one that would lead her to a surprising place.

(Please join us in reading Chapter 13-18 and the Epilogue for next week.)

Quotable quotes:

“It’s not only a tiny little life who dies on this gurney. Part of my heart dies along with him.” (p. 105)

“Men, stripped of the maturity than comes with responsible fatherhood, were becoming self-absorbed Peter Pans who couldn’t grow up.” (p. 122)

So Much More than a Statistic

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Somewhere in Pennsylvania in 2019, an abortion was performed on a 12-year-old girl.

We don’t know her name.  Or her story.

We do know she was not the only one. The 2020 PA Department of Health annual report on abortion reveals that three other 12-year-old girls also had abortions. And twelve 13-year-olds. Fifty-five 14-year-olds.  One hundred sixteen 15-year-olds. All in our Commonwealth, all in one year.

We know nothing of the circumstances surrounding their pregnancies, but we do know that each of these precious young women, many still in middle school, have endured something they shouldn’t have.

They- and their unborn children-are more than a statistic.

Compounding the tragedy of ending an innocent life in the sanctuary of the womb is the additional horror that abortion fails to protect vulnerable young girls from trauma.  They too are victims and deserving of our help and protection.  

What steps did the abortion business take to make sure these young women were not being returned to a situation marked by unhealthy relationships, abuse, molestation, or sex trafficking?  What help did they offer to assure they are not repeat customers?

Or was the abortion simply a financial transaction, where problematic “evidence” is “erased” for a dollar amount while the root problem itself remains unaddressed?  Is not abortion then the abuser’s tool, allowing for continued exploitation of young women?

Abortion ends the life of a human already created, but it does not end the situation that may have given rise to that life. And so the cycle continues.

While many who support abortion claim it liberates women, the fact is abortion can enslave women to toxic relationships and perpetuate abuse. Coercion, whether strong or subtle, characterizes almost 2/3 of abortions as reported by the women who get them.

And yet, the abortion business seems to have no desire to protect vulnerable women or reduce abortion, even among teens. In fact, former abortion workers report that the industry actually aspires to have women come back for multiple abortions. Some centers actually set abortion quotas for a given year knowing it is their most profitable “service.”

It’s a most sinister business model, but, sadly, one that seems to work for the abortion industry. In 2019, 47.3% of abortions performed in Pennsylvania were repeat abortions. Of those, 4.6% (1,437) were to women having had four or more previous abortions and 5.5% (1726) to women having had three previous abortions.

These women-and girls- are so much more than a statistic or business transaction.

They deserve better from a society that claims to be “woke” and to fight for marginalized populations. We afford more legal protection to animals than to these precious human beings.

These women deserve to be helped out of difficult situations and protected from harm. They deserve to be supported, encouraged, and empowered. And their innocent children, no matter the circumstances of their conception, deserve a chance at life, not the death penalty.

Behind each statistic is a true-life story with real people in need. The pro-life movement is working hard to rewrite a better, brighter, and life-affirming next chapter for all of them.   

The Propaganda that drove Roe

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

The fourth installment in our weekly blog on Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution to Highjack the Women’s Movement by Sue Ellen Browder.

The longing for truth is etched on the human heart, leading us to search in all kinds of places for it. Yet, often, we are left dissatisfied.

Such was the case with two very different people, a man and a woman, in the early 1970’s: a struggling freelance writer and an accomplished Supreme Court Justice.

Unknown to one another, they were both exploring the same questions regarding women and equality.  

Sue Ellen Browder admits in her memoir Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution to Highjack the Women’s Movement that she sought answers in Abraham Maslow’s humanistic psychology of “self-as-God” and in Germaine Greer’s “fearlessness” as the path to true freedom. Consequently, with disregard to her own moral compass, she threw herself into her career, certain it was there she would find true self-fulfillment.

Around the same time, Justice Harry Blackmun, a Republican, Methodist, and family man, struggled for months to write the majority opinion for Roe vs. Wade. His first draft was roundly rejected by liberal colleagues who considered it too weak an argument for abortion. Blackmun vowed to come up with a stronger legal opinion.

His 28 year-old law clerk, known for his excellent writing skills, would come to his rescue. He possessed a book that could be used to bolster the case. Abortion: The first authoritative and documented report on the laws and practices governing abortion in the U.S. and around the world, and how-for the sake of women everywhere-they can and must be reformed was written by National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws co-founder Larry Lader.  

This particular book had convinced National Organization for Women president Betty Friedan to insert an abortion platform into the women’s movement. It would be footnoted in Blackmun’s majority opinion no less than seven times. The problem, however, was that it was far more propaganda than fact.

Browder writes, “For when Blackmun accepted Larry Lader, a mere magazine writer, as a reliable authority on history, philosophy, and theology, he became a blind man following a blind guide.”

A newly crafted opinion was finalized on August 10, 1972 and in a highly unusual move, Blackmun’s law clerk circulated it to the other justices before final oral arguments without being first fact-checked. He believed that among other things, this step “might well influence voting.”

The strategy worked in that six other justices joined Blackmun in the final vote on Roe. However, the opinion itself was widely criticized in the legal world.  One law professor and well-known abortion supporter, John Hart Ely, called the opinion “bad,” saying “it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”

Blackmun was accused by pro-abortion historian David Garrow of ceding “far too much of his judicial authority to his clerks,” to a degree that was “indefensible.”

Even Blackmun himself remained uneasy with the decision, stating that the ruling might go down as one of the worst mistakes in the court’s history.

He, like Browder, had searched for answers in places where truth could not be found. 

And the consequences for both Browder and for our country would be devastating.

 We’re doubling up for next week. Join us in reading Chapters 9-12.

Quotable Quotes

“Perhaps they realized that legal abortion could be extremely helpful to men- enabling them to escape paternity suits, years of child support, social embarrassment, and the wrath of betrayed wives.” (p. 93)

“Despite his best efforts, Harry failed to see he had embraced a well-crafted verbal mirage, mistaking it for truth.” (p. 95)