The New York Effect on the Pro-Life Movement

Baby sleeping


By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

In recent days, our office at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation has been receiving call after call from people wanting to volunteer for the pro-life movement. It seems that this is the effect of the bizarre pro-abortion law in New York and the equally strange legislation in Virginia. The legislation permits abortion up to birth–and offers no protection for those babies who survive botched abortions. People are very upset about what’s going on, but they want to do something positive to counteract it. It’s inspiring!

We have also received a number of emails from people wanting to join a local chapter of National Right to Life. In all my time in the pro-life movement, I have never before seen such an outpouring of activism.

We even received an email about a family who is considering moving from New York to Pennsylvania to escape Governor Andrew Cuomo’s abortion extremist regime. The inquiry came in the form of a question: What is the forecast for Pennsylvania? Is it in danger of going the way of New York?

Fortunately, Pennsylvania has pro-life majorities in both the PA House of Representatives and the Senate. Pro-life legislation is welcomed and encouraged. We are also home to the first-in-the-nation state-assisted pregnancy and parenting program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc. Hundreds of thousands of women and their families have been served by this network of pregnancy resource centers.

But the Keystone State faces its own threats. Our Governor, Tom Wolf, once volunteered as a clinic escort for Planned Parenthood. He has a radically pro-abortion position, opposing a ban on brutal dismemberment abortions, where a baby is torn limb by limb from a mother’s womb.

The Commonwealth has also been hit by a lawsuit from the abortion industry, which wants to end our long-standing ban on Medicaid-funded abortions. This despite the fact that taxpayer-funded abortions are wildly unpopular in Pennsylvania.

Nationwide, the prospect of abortions up to the moment of birth has led not only to an outcry–but also action. The New York effect is sparking a renewed interest in the pro-life movement from people who steadfastly believe that babies should be protected–both inside and outside their mothers’ wombs.

Channel Sadness Over Abortion Law into Positive Action

Baby beautiful


By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

I felt overcome with sadness when I learned that New York had passed a lethal law allowing abortions up to the moment of birth. I was doubly saddened when I discovered that babies born alive after botched abortions could be left to die in the Empire State.

But I refuse to give into despair. I know opportunities abound to protect innocent children and their mothers from the harm of abortion. So I have come up with a four-step plan I intend to follow in the wake of the New York tragedy:

  • Educate–I am doing everything possible to alert people to the dangers of the New York law. With information comes power. I have encountered so many people who are so sickened by the passage of this tragic law that they want to become more involved in the pro-life movement than ever before.
  • Contact my elected officials–I want my elected officials to know my stand on life, and that I do not want my state to go the way of New York. I am more energized than ever to defend Pennsylvania’s life-saving law, which includes informed consent, parental consent, and 24 hour waiting periods prior to abortions.
  • Support pregnancy centers–These centers reach out to women every day with life-changing support and comprehensive counseling. They provide a lifeline to women in challenging circumstances, and are vitally important in offering pregnant women life-affirming options for themselves and their families.
  • Engage in social media as never before–Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are powerful platforms for spreading a message of life and love. I refuse to give into the negativity on social media, and instead embrace a positive mindset that leads to posts which enlighten and energize my friends and followers.

New York is a national wake-up call. Pro-abortion forces would like to see abortion-up-to-birth laws in all 50 states. Working together, we can prevent that nightmare from ever occurring.



New York’s Abortion Law: A Pregnancy Center Director Responds



By Marlene Downing, Director, Hope Pregnancy Center

Wednesday January 23, 2019 held the reality of a horrific day in history. This was the day after lawmakers devastated not only the state of New York, but also the nation with a bill that allows abortion up until birth. It was not like any other day. The atmosphere was heavy with constant reminders plastered on social media platforms.

I drove up I-95 to the sound of life-affirming music. Yet, the tears would not stop flowing as so many questions about humanity bombarded me. After I pulled into the parking lot at Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,  I stepped my foot out of the car and sucked in my last tear in an effort to pull it all together for the day ahead.

I then turned the key and opened the door to the HOPE Pregnancy Center Philadelphia. Performing one small task after another, I turned the lights on, opened the blinds, and turned on the Keurig. I unlocked the doors to each office beginning with the first counseling room and lastly the Ultrasound room. Peace began to fall as the phone calls came in and I prayed for the day ahead.

If these walls could talk, the unassuming building nestled next to Greater Exodus Baptist Church- where the founder, Rev. Dr. Herbert H. Lusk II, has touched the lives of thousands–would say “Don’t lose HOPE!”

The building has seen women plagued with fear, hopelessness, uncertainty and shame and watched as volunteers and workers have turned these feelings around. This has happened over and over for 10 years of service in the North Philadelphia community.

If these walls could talk–they would tell you that your work in a Pregnancy Center and any life affirming organization is surely not in vain. This building would speak to the fact that the fight is far from over!





Mourning a New York Nightmare

Baby eyesBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

It used to be that, at a time of national tragedy, people would gather around their televisions and mourn together, unified by their common values.

In 2019, Facebook appears to be the place for complete strangers to grieve in solidarity with one another.

This was certainly true when Facebook users saw the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation’s post about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signing a bill allowing abortion up to the moment of birth.

Here are some of the heartfelt comments we received beneath our link to the story:

How can this be happening in America in 2019???

Pray for New York.

My heart is so sad. 

What is this world coming to? 

So tragic, so sad.

This breaks my heart.

The emotion is real, and it is expressed by individuals both inside and outside the Empire State. It is a profound sorrow for the babies who will be lost as a result of this horrific law.

How can an individual respond to such a tragic turn of circumstances?

Raising our voices in defense of the sanctity of innocent human life is a necessary first step. Contacting our Congressional representatives, letting them know that we want to see safeguards for life at the federal level, is another critical move. Engaging with our state lawmakers to ensure that New York’s tragic error is not repeated in other states is important as well.

Those of us united in mourning must also be united in action to fight radical pro-abortion laws in peaceful, just ways. The future of our civilization depends on it.

Doula Struggles with Saying 11-Year-Old’s Abortion, Sex-Selection Abortion Are Wrong

I read a lot of terrible abortion stories for my job, but some break my heart more than others.

Mom-and-ChildA few weeks ago, I came across a column in the New York Magazine written by an abortion doula. Curious, I clicked on the story and read about the young woman, who provides emotional support for women as they have abortions.

I began to feel more and more horrified as I read about her work and her attempts to justify really terrible things. She writes:

“A year ago, when I was just starting out, Mitchell met with me and the other trainees to talk about the job. We sat in the park, eating pie. She gave us a sheet with situations so exaggeratedly horrible they seemed unreal: An 11-year-old in for an abortion who asks for birth control when she’s alone with the doctor. Her mother works nights; she’d been left with a friend who has a twentysomething son. She calls him her boyfriend; he will go to jail. A woman who says she’d like to do another ultrasound to see if it’s definitely a girl, because she’ll only keep it if it isn’t. …
“’What do you assume?’ Mitchell asked of each case. ‘How can you be supportive?’ We talked about what would be hard for us to overcome, things we might say or do and how we might feel. I felt embarrassed by my assumptions, and the limits of my compassion. I judged these women on the worthiness of their reasons (‘Would she really only keep a boy?’ I wondered) and found myself questioning why those who come in for late-term abortions had waited so long to decide. Later, I learned from Mahoney that all the examples were real cases that had come from her first six months working as an abortion doula.” (You can read the full article here. Parts of it are graphic.)

I hung my head in anger and shame as I read about this young woman from my own generation, a young woman so caught up in the net of moral relativism that she believes it is compassionate to dismiss the rape of an 11-year-old or condone the woman who is aborting her baby simply because she’s a girl.

My generation place high moral value on the idea of acceptance and non-judgment. I think it comes from college, where we’ve been taught moral relativism – your morals aren’t better than mine, and mine aren’t better than yours. We have no right to judge someone else’s actions or beliefs. There is no right or wrong.

Acceptance, inclusiveness, a judgment-free attitude – these are all good things. But when these concepts are taken to the extreme of moral relativism, they become dangerous, and this article is a perfect example of it. Acceptance and non-judgment are no excuse for ignoring things that are truly terrible.

Sometimes people are wrong. Rape is wrong. Taking advantage of a child is wrong. Sex trafficking is wrong. Ignoring the victim of a crime is wrong. Killing an innocent person is wrong.

I could feel the columnist struggling with right and wrong throughout her column. Some situations seemed wrong to her, and rightly so. Yet, moral relativism won the hour.

Let’s not let it win the day. Abortion is wrong. We must never shy away from saying it – though we also must be compassionate when we do. Contrary to what moral relativists would have us believe, realizing that something is wrong opens the doors for us to extend a hand of compassion and love to those who are hurting. And that is true compassion.

Celebrating Life with Our Neighbors in Ohio, New York

This week, we are celebrating with some of our neighboring states because more babies are alive!

Ohio’s newly released abortion statistics showed an all-time low for the state. Comparing 2010 to 2011 statistics, Ohio saw a 12 percent drop in the number of abortions. This means 3,359 fewer babies were lost to abortion.

In 2010, Pennsylvania’s abortion rates also dropped. Compared to 1980, when the most abortions occurred in our Commonwealth, the number of abortions in 2010 was 44 percent smaller. Numbers for 2011 have not been released yet.

And up north, a New York City health clinic said it will stop offering abortions this month. The decision came in response to pro-life advocates – some of whom spent decades advocating for an end to the abortion practices.

More precious lives are being saved – a great reason to celebrate!