Senators Demand Answers for Failed Inspection at Abortion Facility

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By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

gallagher@paprolife.org

A trio of Pennsylvania state Senators are asking 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 have sent a letter to Health Department Secretary Karen Murphy which states, “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.”

State health officials have cited Hillcrest for the fourth time in six years for violating Pennsylvania law. The violations run the gamut, from failing to have proper medical credentials to performing abortions without a nurse present. Staff members failed to complete the criminal background checks necessary for dealing with patients under 18 years old. Some supplies were so outdated they could be traced back to 2004.

The Senators note, “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.’”

In 2011 Pennsylvania enacted an abortion center regulations law requiring abortion facilities to undergo unannounced inspections. The legislation grew out of the massive tragedy in West Philadelphia, where abortionist Kermit Gosnell killed living full-term babies and caused the deaths of female patients in a squalid facility labeled a “House of Horrors” by prosecutors.

The law was designed to prevent “future Gosnells” from setting up shop in Pennsylvania. But some legislators now worry the law is not being sufficiently enforced, as evidenced by Hillcrest’s long trail of troubles.

Vice-President Pence’s Commencement Address at Grove City

PenceGCC-264x160Vice President Mike Pence, a stalwart pro-lifer, recently made another stop in Pennsylvania, giving the commencement address at Grove City College.  For his full remarks click here, but of particular note was this comment: “And I can’t tell you how proud I am to be Vice President to a President who stands without apology for the sanctity of life and all the God-given liberties in the Constitution of the United States.”

The Trump Administration has given pro-lifers a renewed sense of hope after eight years of pro-abortion President Barack Obama.  Some of the administration’s pro-life accomplishments so far include:

  • Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at the 2017 March for Life in Washington DC represented the first time a sitting Vice President spoke at the March.
  • President Trump reinstated a policy that prevents organizations receiving federal foreign aid from performing abortions or promoting them.
  • President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. He is a pro-life Justice in the mold of the late beloved Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • President Trump appointed avid pro-lifers to key cabinet positions including Kellyanne Conway as Senior Advisor, Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, and Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  • President Trump even signed an executive order saying his administration will “provide regulatory relief for religious objectors to Obamacare’s burdensome preventive services mandate, a position supported by the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby.”

These pro-life accomplishments give advocates renewed hope that we will be even more successful in changing people’s minds and reminding them that they can always choose life.

Inspection Uncovers Numerous Safety Violations at Harrisburg Abortion Center

HillcrestBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

Gallagher@paprolife.org

In the shadow of the state Capitol, a Harrisburg abortion center which has operated for decades has accumulated a myriad of health and safety violations.

The revelations can be found in an inspection report for the “Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center” posted on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website here.

The number and breadth of violations are truly alarming. No full-time person was in charge of operating the facility. No registered nurse was on duty to assist patients before and after at least 55 abortions had been performed. The facility failed to document the name and dosage of anesthesia used on a number of patients.

In addition, Hillcrest failed to secure drug samples—a dangerous situation. A February tour of the facility revealed a number of outdated medication and supplies.
The procedure room had swabs for sexually transmitted diseases that had expired 13 years before. Inspectors found needles and syringes in paper wrapping that had deteriorated and were yellow with age.

Investigators also determined that Hillcrest violated the state Child Protective Services law.  That law requires that employees who have “significant likelihood of regular contact with children in the form of care, guidance, supervision or training” must obtain three background checks: one from the Pennsylvania State Police, one from the Department of Human Services, and one from the FBI.

Inspectors reviewed medical records, personnel files, and conducted staff interviews. They found that, even though Hillcrest saw patients under the age of 18, “background checks were not completed for employees.”

The egregious safety violations at Hillcrest show the importance of Pennsylvania’s abortion center regulation law, which ensures regular inspections of abortion facilities. Pennsylvania simply cannot depend on abortion facilities to police themselves.

 

 

Remembering Vulnerable Mothers This Mother’s Day Weekend

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

gallagher@paprolife.org

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     I stopped in my local grocery store and found a vibrantly colorful display of balloons, roses, and carnations, signaling the start of this weekend’s Mother’s Day celebrations.

Some of us who are mothers will celebrate with bouquets and brunches, cookouts and candy. Hugs and kisses from the children who delivered motherhood to us will remind us of the tremendous gift we have received in birthing and nurturing our offspring.

But, perhaps before the festivities are in full bloom, could you take a moment with me to pray for those pregnant mothers who, on the eve of Mother’s Day weekend, have entered abortion centers?

Pray that they may have a change of mind and choose life, and that they will have all the support that they and their children need, both now and in the future.

“Roe” Wanted Roe v. Wade Reversed. THAT is Her Legacy.

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

gallagher@paprolife.org

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     You can hear a smile in a voice.

It is one of those interesting facts of communication that I learned in a radio journalism class which proved to be helpful far beyond the confines of the classroom.

As a reporter, I heard a range of emotions in the interviews that would be recorded for broadcast–sadness, anger, pride.

Over the past few days, I have been reminded of a voice that answered the phone when I was working on a story about abortion.

The voice belonged to the “Roe” of the tragic U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which brought about the legalization of abortion nationwide in 1973. Her real name was Norma McCorvey, and by that time, she had renounced the court decision that bore her pseudonym. She was striving to right a horrible wrong, to save the lives of preborn children, and to spare their mothers unspeakable pain and heartache.

Ironically, she was not the person I was calling to interview, so our conversation was quite brief.

But I heard much in her voice: Kindness. Compassion. Caring.

Norma McCorvey was once part of the abortion industry. But she died a pro-life champion.

It is common for those involved in court cases to wish the court had ruled differently. It is incredible for a winner of a case to wish she had lost.

“Roe” wanted Roe v. Wade to be overturned. This would be like saying the winning team of the last Super Bowl wished the second half never would have happened and that they had lost the biggest football game of the year.

But it was true. I could not only hear it in her voice–it was also apparent in the actions that she took to try to reverse a Supreme Court ruling that has led to the deaths of more than 59 million preborn children and the haunting grief of millions of mothers and fathers, grandparents and siblings.

Some Millennials may not know that the woman behind Roe, Norma McCorvey, reversed course and adopted a pro-life point of view. They may be stunned to learn that the woman who was the subject of the nation’s best-known abortion case never had an abortion herself–that the pregnancy that led to her being the subject of a court case ended in birth and subsequent adoption.

But as spectacular as Norma’s story may be, in a sense, it is not entirely unique.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the founder of the pro-abortion lobbying group known as NARAL, left the abortion industry behind and became an ardent supporter of the right to life. Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood center director, left the business as well and now assists those who want to make a similar, life-affirming exit. Carol Everett, a former abortion center owner, became a passionate defender of life.

Add to that all those women who are a part of the Silent No More Awareness campaign–women who had abortions, but who now regret them. They are breaking the code of silence surrounding abortion so that other women can avoid such horrific tragedy.

These women cannot be silenced. And neither can Norma. Her voice lives on in video and in the minds of those touched by her call for the nation to embrace mothers and their children–and to abandon Roe v. Wade.

For if Roe no longer believed in Roe v. Wade, why should the Supreme Court? If the Court cannot hear the silent cry of the preborn child, perhaps quite soon it will listen to the words of women such as Norma. They are women who were once deceived by the lies of the abortion industry, but who found their voice when they rediscovered the hope that lies in fighting for life.

The nation owes it to Norma, and to all those other women, to end the epic human catastrophe caused by Roe v. Wade and to discard the unjust court decision once and for all.

The “Dred Scott argument” for Abortion

mother_and_child     Anyone who has been part of the pro-life movement for any length of time knows that there are certain arguments that the abortion industry and its allies make reflexively.  Perhaps they believe that if they continue repeating these poor arguments, their case will magically improve.

One such argument is the idea that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” and pesky pro-lifers should stop trying to rehash an issue that the Supreme Court has already ruled on.  I like to call this the “Dred Scott argument”, which is why I thought it would be an interesting one to explore during Black history month.

In Dred Scott v. Sanford, Scott was an enslaved Black man who sued for his freedom.  Sadly, in what many constitutional scholars now consider one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever, the Justices ruled that neither Scott, nor anyone else of African heritage, could claim US citizenship, thus allowing the tragic practice of slavery to continue.

What does this have to do with Roe v. Wade and abortion in America?  As in the Dred Scott case, a terrible mistake was made in the Roe v. Wade decision.  In Dred Scott, the Justices determined one person was not as important as others simply because of his race…in Roe v. Wade, five Supreme Court Justices found a “right to privacy” in the U.S. Constitution that had never been there before, and used that newfound “right” to justify the killing of almost 60 million people and counting.

Many people did not agree with the Dred Scott decision. Should they have all just given up and gone home to allow the injustice of slavery to continue?  Of course not.  They doubled down on their efforts to have everyone, no matter what race or ethnicity, recognized as equal…and eventually succeeded in getting the 13th amendment passed and slavery abolished.  The same principle applies to pro-life advocates.  Just because the Constitution was misinterpreted doesn’t mean we pack our bags and go home…it means we continue to fight to end the injustice of abortion so that one day Roe v. Wade will fall into the ash heaps of history—where it truly belongs.

Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer

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“…a filthy, flea-infested, excrement covered clinic with expired medicine, machinery and unsanitary instruments staffed by unlicensed, untrained employees.”

No, this isn’t a description of a local haunted house.  It is an inside view of the infamous “House of Horrors” abortion facility Kermit Gosnell ran in Philadelphia, as described in the new book “Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer” by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer.

The book does an informative job of walking the readers through the case itself, the grand jury hearing and subsequent trial, and introducing the villains and heroes involved.  It tells the story of Karnamaya Mongar, the woman Kermit Gosnell was convicted of killing…or as Gosnell referred to her “the Indian woman.”  It talks about the complicity of the state of Pennsylvania, media outlets, and the Philadelphia medical community in Gosnell’s crimes.  Finally, it gives chilling insight into Gosnell, as seen when the authors interviewed Gosnell in prison.

Partially in response to the horrific conditions found at Gosnell’s facility, in 2011 Pennsylvania passed a common sense bill further regulating abortion facilities.  The men and women of the Pennsylvania legislature should be commended for taking action to protect the health of safety of women-when so many other public officials did not.

Pennsylvanians Join Vice-President at March for Life

28 Marchers making their way up Constitution Ave

People from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be joining Vice-President Mike Pence at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. today in a show of solidarity with pregnant women, their children, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable Americans.

“We thank the Vice-President for his steadfast commitment to the most important human rights issue of our time—the right to life,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life. “We also commend President Donald Trump for taking concrete steps to ensure that protecting innocent human life is not merely a campaign slogan, but a matter of public policy.”

President Trump recently reinstated the Mexico City policy, which ensures that our hard-earned tax dollars will not be spent on organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas. He has also nominated Cabinet members who are dedicated to defending the sacredness of life. And he has pledged his support for the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, which would guarantee that tax dollars are safeguarded.

“The Pennsylvanians who are marching today are thankful to the Trump Administration and to those members of Congress who want to protect our tax dollars from being spent on the abortion industry. Public opinion polls show that 60 percent of Americans agree that their tax money should not be used for abortion.  We thank the Administration and the House for taking to heart the will of the people,” Gallagher added.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans gather in Washington, D.C. each January to commemorate the anniversary of the tragic 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion throughout the country.

“Those who attend the March for Life are marching in memory of the more than 59 million preborn children killed through legal abortion over the past 44 years. They are also showing their solidarity with the countless mothers and fathers who continue to grieve the loss of those children,” Gallagher said.

“They also march with the hope that comes with news that the number of abortions are declining both in the Commonwealth and across the country. No pregnant woman in Pennsylvania should feel as if she is alone—concrete help and support are available by calling the Real Alternatives hotline at 1-888-Life-aid,” Gallagher added.   

 

 

How Many Abortions Happened in YOUR County in 2015?

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The annual Pennsylvania Department of Health report about abortion statistics may look like just a bunch of numbers to some people, but to those of us who are pro-life, each number represents an innocent life lost to abortion.

In 2015, Pennsylvania lost 308 fewer babies to abortion than it did in 2014, according to the report. That’s the equivalent to about twelve kindergarten classes of children whose mothers chose life.

The state statistics show 31,818 abortions occurred in the Keystone State in 2015. Over 80% of the abortions that occurred in Pennsylvania in 2015 happened in four counties: Allegheny, Dauphin, Northampton, and Philadelphia.

Below are the numbers of abortions reported, based on the county where the woman lives:

2015-pa-ab-stats_page_06 2015-pa-ab-stats_page_05

For the full PA Department of Health report, click here.

The 2015 total represents a 51.6 percent decrease from the record high number of 65,777 in 1980 and is the fewest ever recorded in the Commonwealth.

Much work still remains. Please consider getting involved with one of our pro-life chapters in a county near you. You could help save a baby’s life. Click here to find a chapter in your area.

Two Very Different Responses to Grief

baby-in-heavenTwo recent articles, initiated by the discussion of late-term abortion during the Presidential campaign, talked about preborn children who passed away too early. These stories brought up some poignant memories for my wife and me.

The first article, on the pro-abortion website dailykos.com, was written by a woman whose baby’s heart stopped beating during her pregnancy—a painful experience for a mother look forward to the birth of her child. Unfortunately, the author somehow thinks her experience justifies legalizing abortion on demand, using the tired line that politicians should leave the doctoring to doctors.

Let me say, I feel nothing but grief for the author.  As some may remember from a previous post, my wife and I lost a child at 12 week’s gestation.  We had the experience the author describes of going in for a regular checkup and the doctor not finding a heartbeat.  I remember pacing outside the ultrasound room (they wouldn’t let me in because it was an “emergency ultrasound”).  I remember crying into the phone telling my boss why I wouldn’t be in and breaking the horrible news to my father.

While our experience was similar to that of the author, our response has been different. Rather than use our heartbreak to justify the legalization of abortion for any reason, as the author did, our grief is a constant reminder of the life that was.

Our response is more like the author of the second article I read, posted on thefederalist.com titled “In Defending Abortion, Hillary Clinton Denies the Life of My Miscarried Child”.  In that article, the author talks about her child “Ethan” who she also lost around 12 week’s gestation. In the article the author says she just wants to ask Hillary Clinton one question about Clinton’s radical support of late-term abortion: “At what point did your daughter’s life start to matter?”

There is no explanation for why the same horrific experience affects people so differently. Why does one person consider a life a “clump of cells” while others call that same person what it is—a miracle of life?  What I do know is that what my wife and these two women experienced is no justification for abortion on demand.  There is no way to explain, or even to know, why these three lives ended, but there is no comparison between their experience and the act of an abortionist knowingly and willingly ending the life of a woman’s child.

I would not wish our experience on our worst enemy…and I imagine the authors of these two articles feel the same way.  I can only hope that the authors find the peace they need, and that the dailykos.com article author eventually realizes that her grief is confirmation that her lost child was a human being and deserves to be cherished, as do all lives.