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?

babies on a light background

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.

Can You be “Personally Pro-Life” and Not Act Like It?

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“He’s been not only a solid vote, but really, an ally”.—Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood on the Rachel Maddow show June 26th.

“He voted against dangerous abortion bans, he has fought against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and he voted to strengthen clinic security by establishing a federal fund for it.”—Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America in a press release July 22nd.

Despite these ringing endorsements from some of the most radical pro-abortion advocates out there, the Democrat nominee for Vice President, Senator Tim Kaine, claims to be personally pro-life. He tries to say he’s personally pro-life, but that politicians should not make decisions for women about their so-called reproductive health care.

Let’s be clear…there are many people out there who have a similar position, mainly because they haven’t taken the time to study the issue.  These people simply need to be educated, and once they understand that an abortion ends one life and permanently scars another, their position changes.

What’s truly disturbing is someone, like Senator Kaine, who hides behind his Catholic faith to say he’s personally pro-life, but has a 100% voting record from Planned Parenthood (which means in the 14 votes that matter to Planned Parenthood he’s voted with them 14 times).  By joining the Clinton ticket, Senator Kaine has even taken a position that is less pro-life than the 56% of Democrats who do not think taxpayers should be funding abortions.

The bottom line is, if you vote like you are pro-abortion, if you are praised by others as pro-abortion, you are probably not as pro-life as you pretend to be.

Life Lessons in “Finding Dory”

DoryBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I think you could draw many life lessons from the Disney movie, “Finding Dory.”

The long-awaited sequel to the cinematic classic “Finding Nemo” tells the story of one brave fish’s quest to find her parents.

Dory suffers from short-term memory loss. But at the beginning of the movie, we see her loving parents are very supportive of her and celebrate her every accomplishment.

This brought to my mind a couple of key points. One is how too many in the medical community often discourage parents whose unborn children have been diagnosed with disabilities or difficult health problems.

It has been reported, for instance, that the abortion rate for a Down Syndrome diagnosis is 90 percent. Unfortunately, too many doctors fail to offer encouragement to parents who have been given a challenging prenatal diagnosis, focusing on the hardships rather than the blessings.

Abortion activists demand exceptions in abortion restrictions for “fetal anomalies,” which is a euphemism for disabilities or medical problems. But, just because someone is handicapped in some way, that does not make them any less human. In fact, caring for that individual, showing compassion to her, can actually make us, in a sense, more human.

Also noteworthy is that a character who tries to help Dory–Hank the octopus–also has a disability, in that he has one tentacle missing. Yet, he proves very adept at moving himself–and the story–forward.

The other thought that crossed my mind was on the other side of the spectrum, the elderly. Someone who has been diagnosed with dementia is also deserving of our protection–especially from those who would have that individual succumb to euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Kudos to the creators of “Finding Dory” by celebrating true diversity–the diversity that comes from those who are differently-abled. May our children learn the movie’s life lessons and carry them on throughout their lives.

The Splendor of Truth–A “sneak peak” at 2016 Summer LifeLines

The Federation just wrapped up its annual pro-life student essay contest, and as always the entrants were amazing and the judges had a difficult time choosing a winner.  Since I will be on the road all this week on our town hall tour, I thought I’d share the winning essays with you as a sneak peek of what will be featured in the Summer LifeLines magazine.  This essay, written by 7th grader Marie Therese Heil of Camp Hill, won 1st place in the junior high category.  Later this week, we’ll be posting the 1st place senior high winning essay. Enjoy!

Marie Therese Heil

Marie Therese Heil

The Federation just wrapped up its annual pro-life student essay contest, and as always the entrants were amazing and the judges had a difficult time choosing a winner.  Since I will be on the road all this week on our town hall tour, I thought I’d share the winning essay with you as a sneak peek of what will be featured in the Summer LifeLines magazine.  This essay, written by 7th grader Marie Therese Heil of Camp Hill, won 1st place in the junior high category.  Later this week, we’ll be posting the 1st place senior high winning essay. Enjoy!

Rhetoric plays a large role in the abortion debate.   By purposefully relying on ambiguous and oblique terminology, abortions-rights activists, who frequently prefer to be called by the more-positive sounding name of “pro-choice,” try to mask the reality of abortion.

A typical semantic obfuscation regarding abortion is the term “women’s health.”  Abortion has been linked to a number of diseases, including breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer; long-term infertility; and psychological problems, including an increased risk of suicide.  However, in Pennsylvania, of the six abortion providers found on Abortion.com, four have the term “Women’s Center” in their names (making them sound like women’s social organizations), while another has “Women’s Medical Center.”[1]  Looking at their websites, it is obvious that the main business of these clinics is providing abortions, which clearly shows that they are not concerned with overall  “women’s health.”  This linguistic fog in the naming of abortion clinics takes its lead from Planned Parenthood, the largest single provider of abortions in the United States.  If a woman were looking to Planned Parenthood for assistance in becoming a parent, she would be out of luck.   While if she wanted an abortion, she would be directed to the local Planned Parenthood “health center,” a woman who needs assistance for infertility is primarily directed to an external website.

The terms for abortions also attempt to take away the stigma of this action.  “Emergency contraception” does not only have a contraceptive effect, but it can also “prevent a newly-conceived embryo from implanting in the womb, causing an abortion.”[2]   Abortions themselves are frequently termed “procedures” or “terminations.”   As David Grimes, one of the “world’s leading abortion scholars,”[3] wrote, “According to the accepted definition of abortion, removing a fetus from the uterus after 23 or 24 weeks gestation is not an abortion.  Hence other terms should be used for these interventions.  Examples include feticide, labor induction, dilation and evacuation (D&E), hysterotomy, termination of pregnancy or combinations of these.  However, ‘abortion’ should not be used for these procedures, since the word is not applicable after viability.”[4]  The preferred words used to describe an unborn child are “embryo,” “fetus,” and “tissue,” objectifying – that is, degrading into the status of an object – a human being.

David Grimes himself wrote, “Incorrect, misleading, and inflammatory language obfuscates, rather than illuminates, the discussion around abortion. Words matter. We should all choose them carefully.”[5]  Agreed.  When the words “fetal tissue” mask the unique humanity of an unborn child and when the rhetoric of “women’s health” and “reproductive rights” hide the truths about how abortion hurts women, it is time for all of us who care about the unborn to speak a word of truth: abortion is murder.

[1]“Pennsylvania Abortion Clinics,” Abortion.com, retrieved from http://www.abortion.com/abortion_clinics_state.php?country=United%20States&state=Pennsylvania.

[2]Patrick Craine, “World’s top authority on morning after pill says women must be told it may cause abortions,” Life Site News, 22 February 2013, retrieved from https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/worlds-top-authority-on-morning-after-pill-says-women-must-be-told-it-may-c.

[3] “David A. Grimes,” The Huffington Post, retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-a-grimes/.

[4]David A. Grimes and Gretchen Stuart, “Abortion  jabberwocky: the need for better terminology,” Contraception: An International  Reproductive Health Journal,  February 2010, p. 93, retrieved from http://www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-7824(09)00415-6/fulltext.

[5]David A. Grimes,  “6 Things To Understand When Talking About Abortion,” The Huffington Post, 9 February 2015, retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-a-grimes/abortion-terminology-things-to-understand_b_6175430.html.

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.  In the first major abortion case in nearly a decade, the court will rule on the constitutionality of Texas law HB2 and determine whether commonsense reform intended to increase women’s health and safety is an undue burden on abortion facilities.  These Texas regulations came out of the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell and his “house of horrors”.  They simply require abortion facilities to have admitting privileges with a hospital within 30 miles and to meet some basic quality of care, facility cleanliness, and safety standards.

The real question is, if the big abortion lobby want abortions to be “safe” as they claim (never mind the fact an abortion is NEVER safe for the baby) why do they support clinics like Gosnell’s “house of horrors”.  According to a University of California study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology last year, complications to the mother are reported in approximately 2.1 % of the abortions that occur in the United States.  That’s despite the fact that only 27 of the 50 states require abortion facilities to report complications…and even in many of those states the reporting is lacking.  So even if we assume those numbers are correct, that means of the approximately 90 abortions that are performed just in Pennsylvania today, 2 women will have some kind of complication (not to mention all the others scarred for life mentally).  Clearly that number will only go up if states aren’t allowed to hold abortion facilities to the same standards as nail salons and tattoo parlors.  Is that really what abortion advocates want?

The question to be decided by the Supreme Court is whether or not these regulations create an “undue burden” on abortion facilities. The good news is that the Supreme Court upheld stricter requirements in 1983 saying they were important to “ensuring public health”.  Even more recently in Planned Parenthood v Casey in 1992 the court determined laws making abortion more difficult or more expensive do not necessarily create an undue burden.

With the passing of Justice Scalia, the court is currently split between 4 conservative justices and 4 liberal justices.  Justice Anthony Kennedy is generally the swing vote on abortion cases, and during arguments he appeared to be open to allowing the regulations to stand in the interest of women’s health.  It is vital we keep Justice Kennedy, and the entire court, in our prayers as they weigh the merits of this case.

Do You Know How Many Babies from Your County Were Aborted?

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 2014, Pennsylvania lost 18 more babies to abortion than it did in 2013, according to the report. That’s a 0.1-percent increase – a tiny number to statisticians; but to us, it’s almost a whole kindergarten class of children who were denied their right to life.

The state statistics show 32,126 abortions occurred in the Keystone State in 2014. The vast majority of the abortions occurred in four counties: Allegheny, Dauphin, Northampton, and Philadelphia.

But every county lost babies to abortion in 2014. Whether you live in a big city or in the backwoods, your neighborhood is missing babies because their moms had abortions. Below are the numbers of abortions reported, based on the county where the woman lives:

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PAabtn2PAabtn3Click here to find the full state abortion report for 2014.

The good news is that the 2014 total represents a 51.2 percent decrease from the record high number of 65,777 in 1980. The dramatic decrease in abortions over the past few decades can be attributed to a number of factors, including protective laws such as the Abortion Control Act, which provides for informed consent, parental consent, and 24-hour waiting periods for abortion.

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.