The days of the slogan “safe, legal, and rare” are long gone in Pennsylvania. Some lawmakers make no secret of the fact that they do not want abortion to be rare–in fact, they are making every effort to increase abortions in the Commonwealth.
A co-sponsorship memo by state Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny County) is the latest example of this disturbing trend.
The proof lies in the subject line of the memo: “Expanding Access to Abortion.”
Rep. Frankel wants to expand the “pool of providers” by having non-doctors perform abortions. As he states, “I am introducing legislation that would allow physician assistants, nurse-midwives, and certified registered nurse practitioners to prescribe medication abortion.”
He is referring to chemical abortions, which are rapidly eclipsing surgical abortions as the leading cause of death of preborn babies in Pennsylvania. A number of legitimate safety concerns–both physical and psychological– have been raised about chemical abortions for mothers.
Rep. Frankel is in the minority in the PA House of Representatives, but abortion giant Planned Parenthood is doing its best to change that, pouring countless dollars into campaigns to replace pro-life lawmakers with pro-abortion zealots. This is why it is incumbent upon voters to know the stands of office-seekers when it comes to the life-or-death issue of abortion.
Pennsylvania is home to a staggering 32,000 abortions each year. We cannot afford policies that seek to expand that number even further.
Over the past few weeks, my Senate colleagues have had to continually correct false and misleading statements regarding the recently passed Senate Bill 106. Sadly, the misrepresentations have continued, and it has become increasingly necessary for me as a sponsor of one of the bill’s amendments to join them in their efforts.
Senate Bill 106 consists of five different amendments to the Pennsylvania constitution with the subjects being the election of the Lieutenant Governor, legislative disapproval of regulations, voter ID, auditing of elections by the Auditor General, and taxpayer funding of abortions.
These amendments become part of the Pennsylvania constitution if the legislature passes Senate Bill 106 in two consecutive legislative sessions followed by a majority of voters approving each of the amendments individually at the ballot box.
To correct what has been reported in numerous media outlets, if this legislation is approved by voters, it would not be the result of undemocratic procedures and a General Assembly that was deaf to the will of the people. Rather, Senate Bill 106 gives the people of Pennsylvania a voice. It would be the most democratic and fair method for lawmaking that is available to us as citizens, as it requires both representative democracy when our legislature votes on the amendment and direct democracy where the people get the final say at the ballot box.
There have been many falsehoods circulating about what the amendments would do. The most egregious are the reports on the amendment relating to abortion.
For background, Allegheny Reproductive Health Center is suing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, arguing that there is a right to abortion in our Constitution. This is despite previous court precedent and state and federal law that indicate otherwise. This “right” they are asking the court to find would apply to all nine months of pregnancy and would force taxpayers to pay for abortions.
The amendment would simply preserve the status quo, keeping the fate of abortion policy out of the hands of the courts and in the hands of those who are accountable to the people, their elected representatives in the legislature.
There have been claims that the amendment is an abortion ban. This is completely false. Unfortunately, the falsehoods don’t stop there. Some have reported that if this amendment goes into effect, people’s ability to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments will be at risk. Others state that ectopic pregnancies will be forced to term regardless of if doing so would kill the mother, or that D&C procedures will be outlawed, forcing those who have miscarriages to risk serious infection and disease. None of those statements are true.
Here are the facts. Should the abortion provision of Senate Bill 106 be approved by the voters, Pennsylvanians will continue to have a statutory right to an abortion under Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act. That Act would remain in place and unchanged. Medicaid will continue to cover both non-elective abortions and voluntary abortions involving cases of rape or incest but will still withhold funding for all other elective instances. IVF, ectopic pregnancies, and D&C procedures would be allowed under the same rules that exist today, and doctors will continue to save women’s lives in the event of life-threatening complications during pregnancy.
With Senate Bill 106, the fate of abortion law in Pennsylvania will be left up to the people’s elected representatives through the legislative process. Policymaking on abortion will be taken out of the hands of the courts and placed exactly where it belongs; in the hands of the people, first through a ballot referendum and then through their elected officials.
Our job as elected representatives is to create public policy that represents the will of the people. I can think of no better way to do that than by putting these issues in front of the voters through Senate Bill 106.
I am quite used to talking about life issues, even debating them with those whose views differ from my own. I just don’t usually do it in the grocery store. With a soon-to-be 8th grader.
Yet, there I was, in the
coffee aisle, talking big topics with
my friend’s grandson, who we’ll call Kevin.
I was delighted to bump into the two of them and chat for a bit. Before saying our goodbyes, Kevin asked me where I worked and what I did. He listened and then politely informed me that unlike his grandmother and me, he is “pro-choice.”
He went on to explain that a woman who is a victim of rape or incest should not be forced to carry and birth a baby. Knowing Kevin, I was sure this was coming from a place of compassion. He felt deep sorrow for women enduring such trauma and believed that continuing a pregnancy in those circumstances would only make the situation worse.
I sensed from his pause and steady gaze that he expected me to respond.
I smiled at him, thankful
that he was willing to listen. I gently asked
him if he has ever met anyone conceived from rape or from incest. “No.”
I told him that I have, and that I could never look at them and say they weren’t deserving of life because of the manner in which they were conceived. I pointed out that the perpetrators of such crimes, if caught and convicted get jail time, but the innocent child brought into existence gets a much harsher sentence in abortion: death.
There was much more I could say, especially about whether choosing life over abortion helps women to heal, but left it at that. I could see he was thinking it over. I invited him to reach out to me anytime he has a question and that I would be happy to hear him out and dialogue.
It wasn’t long. A few
minutes later, as I worked my way through the meat section, Kevin was
back. He had more questions he wanted me
to address, eager to hear how I would respond.
What about children born into poverty?
Or a dire pre-natal diagnosis?
What about when the mother’s life is in danger?
For a good 20 minutes we talked. I answered each question while shoppers careened their carts around us. Who knows what bits and pieces were overheard?
I said it was wrong to impose our personal standards of “a worthwhile life” onto others. Surely, people born poor or with a disability or in foster care are glad to be alive. We should not consider their lives less valuable than ours.
Instead, we should do our best as a society to reduce suffering to the extent that we can rather than eliminate humans who suffer. If we choose to eliminate everyone who might experience suffering at some point in their life, who should live?
With regard to a dire prenatal diagnosis I pointed out that even in this modern age, doctors and tests sometimes are wrong. But even if a diagnosis is correct, does a child not deserve a chance to be born, to be held and loved by his parents, to receive medical intervention, to be treated with compassion and dignity? Why must he be killed in utero?
I also shared that due to modern medical practices, rarely is a pregnant woman’s life in jeopardy, but if that situation does arise, it is usually later in pregnancy. At that point an abortion is far more threatening to the mother’s life than delivering the child prematurely and striving to save both lives.
We covered several other topics, including death with “dignity.” It was an intense conversation.
To his credit, Kevin
listened and nodded, displaying a maturity and civility that seems to be lost
on this issue. He never once interrupted me but thoughtfully listened to all I
had to offer, sometimes asking follow-up questions. I again told him to stay in touch and let me
know if he wants to talk again. He
extended his hand and warmly shook mine, thanking me for my time and
As I headed for the dairy section, I marveled at this young man and our exchange, wishing I could replicate the conversation in every supermarket in the country. I don’t know exactly what Kevin believes now about abortion, but I believe to some extent he was enlightened. And his openness was encouraging.
Perhaps this is a good model for all of us. So often we are afraid of talking about abortion for fear of offending, disagreeing, arguing. Let us have the courage to engage with others and the wisdom to have productive, civil discourse that sheds more light than heat. Perhaps in this way, one conversation at a time, we can change minds and hearts and ultimately, the culture.
Because I am a woman one
might expect me to whole-heartedly embrace the celebration of Women’s History Month during March.
After all, this is an opportunity to celebrate my ancestral sisters, applauding
their testing of boundaries and breaking of barriers. And for the most part, I greatly respect the
legacy left by these brave women, reminded that whatever I might accomplish, I
stand on their shoulders. So why the
While grateful to the
trailblazers who’ve cleared a path for subsequent generations, I am deeply saddened
by the collateral damage that has ensued in the struggle toward equality. For in our effort to achieve one thing, some
women mistakenly thought we had to sacrifice another. And what we’ve lost
changes the very essence of who we are.
It is no small thing that
we women are THE life-bearers of the entire species. We alone can grow human
beings in our bodies, craft a cerebral cortex, knit a network of veins, erect a
skeletal system. We alone can nourish
this life with a perfect food forged by our miraculous bodies. We literally make the men and women of
tomorrow with our very own cells. Now that’s power. A power given no man. A
power and a privilege that should not be taken lightly. Or tossed away. Or
But in the fight to have
opportunities equal to those of men, some have confused “equal to” with “same
as”. Eager to embrace the masculine,
with all its power and promise, some have forsaken the feminine, abandoning a
gift that is uniquely given to women.
Too often we women are lumped together as the women’s movement, portraying us as united in support for the so-called “right” to abortion. But many women, perhaps a majority, do not believe that abortion is a path toward liberation or social justice or equality.
Rather, we pro-life feminists understand abortion as another form of oppression: forcing women to choose between birthing the burgeoning life within or ending that innocent life because of fear, pressure, or lack of resources. Abortion supporters promote a world of either/or, as in either sacrifice your child or you can’t succeed, while ironically claiming that they are all about choice.
But true feminism doesn’t limit women’s choices, nor force them to deny what makes them uniquely women. True feminism promotes a world of and/both, a world where motherhood and career aspirations can coexist and be fully supported. A world where women need not choose death for their children to walk through the doors that have been opened to us. That is the world for which first generation feminists like Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul fought, and it is to that noble mission the modern women’s movement should return.
Alongside all the amazing accomplishments women have achieved, we should also celebrate and revere the vocation of motherhood. On our journeys to the board room, operating room, and courtroom, we should view fertility as a gift to be treasured, not a “disease” to be treated. We should see the potential of our own children and the legacy we can leave the world by investing our time and love in them. While celebrating women’s history, we should not be ruthlessly exterminating the history-makers of tomorrow.
With the great progress the pro-life movement is making in sharing the truth and beauty about human life in all its stages, I am hopeful that future Women’s History Months will not rely on abortion as a necessary step toward women’s success in society, but will instead, be a celebration of all that a woman is and all that she can be, including the sacred, irreplaceable, and incredibly rewarding role of mother.
Even decades after
slavery was abolished, there was a time in our country when it was legally
acceptable to separate people by race. In fact, the Supreme Court upheld the
constitutionality of racial segregation in the 1896 case Plessy vs. Ferguson, protecting the doctrine of Separate but Equal.
It would be upheld by the Court seven times.
It took 58 years for the Court to see the error of its ways. It’s impossible to quantify the tremendous damage that Plessy did in stalling equal rights for all Americans. Finally, the Court’s landmark decision in the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case determined racial segregation of school children to be unconstitutional, and it became a cornerstone of the civil rights movement that led to de-segregation of other institutions.
Today, it’s hard for us to
imagine how the Court in 1896 could have possibly thought that such a practice
was constitutionally protected. The
doctrine of Separate but Equal with regard to race was long overdue for the ash
heap of history.
In similar fashion, another Supreme Court precedent, should join it. Where Plessey marginalized people based on race, Roe marginalizes people based on age and location. In a day of 4-D ultrasounds, fetal surgery, and ever-changing viability, it’s hard to imagine how the Court in 1973 could have possibly thought abortion to be a constitutionally protected right.
In every pregnancy, two separate
and equal humans exist. From the moment of conception, a genetically unique
human is formed, one who is inside the mother, yet NOT the mother. Perhaps a different gender, eye color, or
hand dominance. A person who has never before existed and never will again. A
person whose future is impossible to predict and whose impact on the world can
only be imagined.
Clearly human, created of
human parents. Clearly living, as demonstrated by rapid growth. It is
intellectually dishonest to say this is not a living human being.
In challenging this, the abortion supporter will frequently invoke personhood, saying that we are not really people with inherent dignity and rights until we possess sentience, abilities to feel, dream, plan, etc. Yet, one must ask, does a newborn infant possess these qualities? Or those with limited cognitive capacity? Or those tortured by addiction? Are they, or others in likewise vulnerable situations, not persons?
Personhood cannot be
qualified by arbitrary social constructs.
Defining personhood should be based on objective truth, and scientifically
speaking, the indisputable truth is that human life begins at conception, just
as it was indisputably true that our human dignity is not a function of race.
Justice Blackmun, in his Roe majority opinion, acknowledged that
if the personhood of the fetus is someday established, Roe is doomed to collapse, as the 14th Amendment clearly
protects the fetus’ right to life.
That day has come. Forty-nine years later, at the tragic cost of 63 million American innocent lives, wounded mothers, forsaken fathers, and a fractured society, it’s time to correct the error of Roe.
While Separate but Equal
based on race has no place in our society, equal rights based on biology
certainly should be guaranteed. Situational circumstances do not change an
objective truth of who we are and how we came to be. We all have inherent worth
from the moment of our conception. Every person, once in existence, should have
the right to live.
I vividly recall the scene, since the details are forever etched in my memory.
I stood before the abortion center, knowing that each car parked there represented a tiny, irreplaceable human being who was being led to death.
It was a sobering sight–all the more so because it was near Christmas.
There is something particularly surreal about being present at an abortion facility at Christmas time. After all, at this time of year we recall an unmarried teenage Mom who gave birth to the child Christians would call the Savior.
Mary, of course, had her Joseph. Far too often, women today are left abandoned by the fathers of their children. It is that desperation that can lead them to the abortion center door.
Thankfully, however, there are so many people who are willing to stand in the gap to support pregnant women at their time of need. No pregnant woman should be made to feel as if she is all alone. A supportive, compassionate team may be as close as the nearest pregnancy resource center.
May pregnant women this Christmas find all the love they need to bring their babies into this world–a world which is desperately in need of the hope their children can provide.
I will forever remember the intensity of those eyes.
I would gaze into them as I was nursing, and they would pierce my soul. I never felt so connected with my baby girl as I did when I looked into her pale blue eyes.
Science tells us that a baby’s eyes start to develop a mere 19 days after conception. These windows to the soul carry with them so much possibility and promise.
Yet, nearly 900,000 times a year in the U.S. alone, that possibility and promise come to a terrifying end. The culprit is abortion, which forever steals from those eyes of the majesty of sunsets, the glory of flowers, the pristine wonder of new fallen snow.
So much of our humanity is expressed through our eyes. Who among us has not been deeply touched by the kindness expressed through the eyes of someone who truly cares for us?
As I was in church the other day, I saw a man lift up a baby and stare joyfully into her eyes. It was a moment of profound connection—sacred time.
Part of the tragedy of abortion is that the mother is robbed of the experience of gazing lovingly into her baby’s eyes. The bond between mother and child is severed in a most violent and heartless way. In fact, it is only in denying the humanity of the preborn child that abortion is able to flourish. It is through intellectual blindness that abortion proliferates.
As advocates for life, it is incumbent upon us to teach the world about the development of the unborn child. People need to know that by the 10th week post-conception, a preborn baby can move her eyes into a squint. Our fellow travelers on this earth need to know just what is at stake with every abortion—the loss of an unrepeatable human life.
May we always see the miracle inherent in a preborn child and share that miracle with the world!
The presentation of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the pivotal case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization stirred my soul. Finally, I felt, the Supreme Court was listening to reason.
Sloganeering and catchy memes had no place at the High Court. Rather, Justices were compelled to listen to the many ways the 1973 decision known as Roe v. Wade had failed to settle the abortion debate.
At stake was more than a 15-week ban on abortion in Mississippi. For this is the case that could finally overturn Roe and restore the issue of abortion to the people in the individual states, where it belongs.
The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation was among the many groups that filed friend-of-the-court briefs. In our well-reasoned brief, we argued strongly that both pregnant mother and preborn child deserve protection and care, and that modern obstetrical practice demanded Roe’s demise.
The Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have proven to be an unpredictable lot. But for the first time in a long time I am hopeful that I will see the day of Roe’s end.
HARRISBURG, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh should be thoroughly investigated amid allegations of researchers there harvesting body parts from babies whose hearts are still beating.
“The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act makes it clear—you cannot take the life of a precious baby to harvest organs. For the sake of babies, mothers, and taxpayers throughout the Commonwealth, it’s time to investigate the University of Pittsburgh,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life.
Under Pennsylvania law, it is a felony to experiment on a living unborn baby or to refuse to offer medical care to an infant who has been born alive.
The Center for Medical Progress notes that Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania abortion providers supply the aborted babies, while the University of Pittsburgh provides sponsorship to Planned Parenthood’s operations in what appears to be an illegal quid pro quo for unborn baby body parts. That would be a violation of 42 U.S. Code 289g-2 and 18 Pennsylvania Statutes 3216.
After securing hundreds of pages of public records, the non-profit group Judicial Watch has found that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has channeled at least $2.7 million into a project at the University of Pittsburgh that uses a tissue bank with body parts from aborted babies.
Pitt’s application for one project stated that the university planned “to develop a pipeline to the acquisition, quality control and distribution of (urinary and genital organs and functions) samples obtained throughout development (6-42 weeks gestation).” A baby born at 40 weeks is considered full-term by the National Institutes of Health, while a baby born at 42 weeks is considered overdue.
According to the Center for Medical Progress, “If the (preborn baby’s) heartbeat and blood circulation continue in a labor induction abortion for harvesting organs, it means the (baby) is being delivered while still alive and the cause of death is the removal of the organs.”
“The allegations read like something out of a horror movie—gruesome and disgusting,” said Gallagher. “It is deeply disturbing to think that full-term babies could be treated in such an inhumane manner. We call on both federal and local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the University of Pittsburgh’s research practices,” Gallagher added.
********************************************************************************************************************************************************************The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation is a grassroots right-to-life organization with members statewide. As the state affiliate of National Right to Life, PPLF is committed to promoting the dignity and value of human life from conception to natural death and to restoring legal protection for preborn children.
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
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.