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.

Abortion Case Similar to Gosnell Is Breaking in Michigan

A horrific abortion case eerily similar to Kermit Gosnell’s is being exposed in Michigan this week.

According to LifeNews.com:

michaelroth2“Local police have raided the upscale West Bloomfield, Michigan home of abortionist Michael Roth after acting on evidence that Roth may be performing illegal abortions — doing abortions either out of his home or in the private homes of his customers. In the course of the raid, police found what they believe are 14 containers that possibly contain the bodies of aborted babies along with other human tissue.

“The trunk of Roth’s car also contained medical equipment used for abortion procedures. Investigators confiscated medical ‘materials’ in bags and boxes at Roth’s home. Now, Roth is now under investigation by the Michigan Attorney General.”

These gruesome discoveries are reminiscent of what Pennsylvania officials discovered almost five years ago in Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia abortion center. Like Roth, Gosnell kept a grotesque collection of the aborted babies’ body parts on the shelves of his office and in the freezer.

It also is telling that authorities accidentally discovered these abortion horrors after investigating Roth and Gosnell for unrelated incidents.

In Roth’s case, police were investigating after “the doctor was driving … (and) hit a special needs child who was critically injured.” In the midst of the investigation, police found evidence that Roth was performing illegal abortions.

In Gosnell’s case, police raided his facility because of evidence that he was illegally selling prescription drugs.

Other similarities include botched abortions, injuries to women, unsanitary equipment, and drug-related violations of the law.

Tragically, Gosnell and Roth are not outliers. Abortionists like Steven Brigham, Doug Karpen, Ulrich Klopfer, and James Pendegraft are just a few others with similar reputations.

These are the back-alley butchers that Roe v. Wade was supposed to stop, according to abortion advocates’ narrative. But cases like these show that Roe v. Wade didn’t stop back alley butchers or protect vulnerable women. It simply opened the door to more horrors, including 58 million babies who were legally killed in abortions.

Pope Francis in Pennsylvania — and the Pro-Life Cause

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
Gallagher@paprolife.org

It’s been called the biggest event in the U.S. since the Superbowl—and tickets have been scooped up faster than tickets for a Taylor Swift concert.

popefrancis42It is the arrival of Pope Francis in the U.S. People of all different faiths and walks of life are looking forward to the pontiff visiting the East Coast from September 22-27.

Philadelphia will be one of the Holy Father’s stops, and the City of Brotherly Love has been preparing for a long time for his historic tour.

Pope Francis’ visit to Pennsylvania coincides with the World Meeting of Families, which will also be taking place in Philadelphia. If you are attending the event, be sure to stop by the National Right to Life/Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation display table. You can chat with staff members, connect with other pro-lifers, and grab some important pro-life materials.

Whether you plan to see the Pope along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway or view him from the comfort of your living room, make it a point to honor his visit by engaging in some pro-life activity. It is the gift that, quite literally, can last a lifetime.

As Pope Francis once stated, “All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth…to give life is to open (our) heart, and to care for life is to (give oneself) in tenderness and warmth for others, to have concern in my heart for others. Caring for life from the beginning to the end. What a simple thing, what a beautiful thing…So, go forth and don’t be discouraged. Care for life. It’s worth it.”

Pro-Lifers Honor 47 Victims of Gosnell Buried in Unmarked Plot in Philadelphia

A tiny blue silk flower is the only marker that memorializes the gravesite of 47 babies who lost their lives at the hands of notorious Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

IMG_0092Pro-lifers recently discovered that the City of Philadelphia cremated and buried the babies more than a year ago in an unmarked plot at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

On Wednesday, some of our staff joined about 60 people at the gravesite for the first hmemorial service to honor and remember these tiny victims of Kermit Gosnell.

The short service began with a press conference and then a procession to the grave site.

The group placed white crosses and flowers on the unmarked ground where the babies were buried. The pro-life group Philly Alive also placed a temporary marker in the ground, which read, “May God welcome the souls of these children killed by Kermit Gosnell, and the souls of all children killed by abortion into the joy of Heaven.” However, the gravesite is owned by the city, so all the markers had to be pulled up again before we left.

Catherine Foster, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, reminded the crowd: “These babies were like any other … precious little persons. How a person dies doesn’t make anyone less human.”

“Today, we can say that the City of Philadelphia has heard us,” Foster said. “They gave these babies a place to be buried.”

And what a significant place it is. Though the babies’ gravesite is currently unmarked (something pro-lifers hope to change in the near future), their bodies are resting in one of the most important cemeteries in the United States. According to cemetery information, important war heroes, influential politicians, visionary artists and inventors, and industrialists are buried in its grounds.

At the gravesite, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, led the short service of songs and prayers. Mahoney encouraged the group to continue working to protect babies from abortion and not allow the Gosnell tragedy to be “swept under the carpet.”

The burial and memorial of the 47 babies is something that many pro-lifers have been attempting to do for years.

The babies’ bodies were taken from Gosnell’s disgusting abortion center after the state shut down his murderous practice. Gosnell kept the babies’ bodies in plastic containers on shelves and in the freezer.

After Gosnell’s trial, several pro-life and religious groups attempted to claim the babies’ bodies to give them a proper burial; but the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s office denied their requests.

In June 2013, the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s office revealed that it planned to cremate and bury the babies’ bodies, but did not say where they would be buried. Until now, no one knew.

Bill Doran, the superintendent of Laurel Hill Cemetery, said the babies were buried about a year ago in a respectful manner, including a prayer service attended by cemetery staff.

The Philadelphia organizers said they also hope to organize a second, large-scale memorial service for the babies in September.

Vote Shows Many Senators Had Serious Concerns about Cortes, Nominee from Gosnell Era

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
gallagher@paprolife.org

This week’s vote in the Pennsylvania Senate on the confirmation of a Wolf Administration nominee shows continuing concerns that the Keystone State will return to the lax enforcement of abortion law seen during the Kermit Gosnell era.

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Kermit Gosnell

Eighteen state Senators voted against confirmation for Pedro Cortes as Secretary of State. Cortes previously served in that capacity at a time when the Department of State took no action against notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell is now serving time for killing three full-term babies and causing the death of a female patient. The grand jury believed that Gosnell was actually responsible for the deaths of hundreds of babies, but charges could only be filed in a handful of cases because he destroyed the records in the rest.

While 31 Senators voted for confirmation for Cortes, the sizeable number of negative votes demonstrates that a number of people in the state legislature have lingering worries about the Gosnell case.

In fact, more than 40 PA lawmakers in the PA House and Senate signed a letter to the governor raising concerns about Cortes. The letter stated, “To fully understand the gravity of the failures of the department throughout Secretary Cortes’ service, one needs to read directly from the grand jury’s damaging report.

According to the grand jury report: “Between 2002 and 2009, Board of Medicine attorneys reviewed five cases involving malpractice and other complaints against Gosnell. None of the assigned attorneys or their supervisors, suggested that the Board take action against the deviant doctor. In fact, despite serious allegations, three of the cases were closed without any investigation. The other two were investigated and then closed — without any action being taken.”

The letter from the lawmakers notes, “In his resume and biography Secretary Cortes takes credit for various achievements in dealing with occupational and professional licensure complaints and investigations during his tenure. Yet at the same time he takes no responsibility for the documented blatant failures of those same units under his leadership.”

The letter goes on to say, “…it is deeply troubling to us that you would nominate someone for such an important position as Secretary of the Commonwealth despite his deep ties to this national nightmare.”

The Wolf Administration has been put on notice — the old lax attitudes toward enforcement of abortion law will not be tolerated. We owe it to Gosnell’s victims to remain vigilant, to ensure that the PA Department of State cracks down on dangerous doctors who threaten the health and safety of women and children in the Commonwealth.

Remembering Gosnell’s Conviction – Even Though We Want to Forget

Exactly two years ago, Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murdering three newborn babies and manslaughter in the death of a female patient in his Philadelphia abortion facility.

SadwomanOn this anniversary of his conviction, I must admit that I hate thinking about Gosnell. I wish I never had to speak or write his name. In all honesty, I wish I never had to write or think about abortion either. Sometimes the horror of 57 million legally-aborted babies seems too much to bear.

I don’t want to think about how Gosnell stabbed the necks of newborn infants who were moving and moaning, according to his staff.

I don’t want to think about the 24 late-term babies who Gosnell was convicted of aborting past our state limit. Or the hundreds more who he likely killed but prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to convict him on.

I don’t want to think about Karnamaya Mongar who died because Gosnell put his pocketbook above the health and safety of his patients.

I don’t want to think about the women who lay suffering in pain and agony on his filthy, blood-stained furniture because Gosnell just didn’t care.

But I must. We must.

Gosnell got away with murder for decades because our society ignored this monster. We now know the consequences. And because we’ve realized, because we remember, our society is stepping up.

In the past three years alone, states passed a record 205 pro-life laws, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Since the Gosnell horrors came to light, six abortion centers closed in Pennsylvania. And abortions dropped to a historic low in Pennsylvania. Today, Pennsylvania leaders continue to work hard to hold abortion centers accountable and strive to protect women and children from abortionists like Gosnell. Likewise other states are beginning to demand more from abortion facilities — as they should!

We are making progress. We are saving lives — because we refuse to forget.

Philadelphia Hospital Advances Treatments for Preborn Babies

I’ve been fascinated lately by the innovative medical work being developed at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to help preborn babies.

TWICEBORNThe other day, I found out that PBS is running a mini-series about the hospital. It’s called “Twice Born: Stories from the Special Delivery Unit.”

I have not watched the series yet, but Kathy Ostrowski of Kansans for Life recommends it:

“Twice Born” focuses on treating serious medical problems detected in the womb, including invasive tumors, spina bifida, and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. The first show was well-paced and personalized the staff, particularly one physician whose daughter has a degenerative disease.

But beyond the pathos of the medical conditions depicted, and beyond the admiration for the dedication and compassion of the medical staff, a deliberate feeling kept rising in me: THIS is what medicine naturally aspires to…how marvelous…how noble! This is what physicians SHOULD be doing!

The Philadelphia hospital has performed more than 1,250 operations on babies in the womb. I can’t help but join Kathy in thinking about the stark contrast between this hospital’s work and the abortion industry.

While Philadelphia is making amazing medical advances to save preborn babies, that same city also is killing them at an alarming rate. In 2013, almost half of all abortions (15,986) in Pennsylvania were performed in Philadelphia.

What a contradiction! Some preborn babies are treated as human beings worthy of medical attention and advancements, while others are mercilessly being killed.

Let’s hope that the work at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will help more people to see that all preborn babies deserve life.

Come Listen, Learn and Connect at Pro-Life Town Hall Meetings

2015ProLifeTownHall

This April will be my third time traveling across the state for our annual Pro-Life Town Hall Tour.

Micaiah1

Micaiah Bilger

The tour is one of the ways we bring the latest pro-life information to people all across the state. We’re planning to share up-to-date news on a variety of topics, including abortion trends in Pennsylvania, dealing with a poor prenatal diagnosis, the push for assisted suicide, the Affordable Care Act, Q&A and more.

I love the tour because we offer a pro-life perspective that people can’t get anywhere else. But most of all, I love having the opportunity to connect with people all across the state.

I love when a grandmother comes to me after a meeting and shares a picture of her grandson who was almost aborted. I love when a teenager eagerly asks me what she can do to help moms and babies. I love listening to the decades-long pro-lifers, because their stories encourage me to keep going strong. And I love talking with the people who aren’t sure where they stand on the life issues and are looking for answers.

Our Pro-Life Town Hall meetings are an opportunity to learn, ask questions, and connect with the people around us.

I hope you’ll join us in Ebensburg, Uniontown, Pittsburgh, Titusville, Erie, State College, Scranton, Nesquehoning, Easton, Philadelphia, Lancaster or Grove City. Click here for details.

And please take a moment to say, “Hello.” I’d love to connect with you.

Photoshopping Abortion

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

As I was perusing Twitter the other day, I saw a picture of a woman displaying a fire engine-red purse that was supposed to signify “pro-choice” fashion.

Somehow I don’t associate abortion with handbags. But I find that, increasingly in our image-driven world, abortion advocates are promoting paraphernalia to symbolize abortion. Pink tennis shoes immediately come to mind, since that was the footwear of choice for Texas politician Wendy Davis during her filibuster to prevent the enactment of common sense protections for mother and child.

Image of a baby at seven weeks

Image of a baby at seven weeks

And when the abortion industry is not accessorizing abortion, it is Photoshopping it. The aim is to crop the baby right out of the debate. The problem is, no amount of Photoshopping can conceal the stark, deadly reality of abortion: the taking of an innocent human life. Colorful imagery should not confuse us, obscuring the fact that abortion stops a beating heart.

Cleverly-designed portraits of “reproductive justice” also cannot erase the painful scars abortion can leave behind. Again and again, I hear from women who have silently struggled with the not-so-pretty-as-a-picture aftermath of abortion: in some cases, sterility; in other cases, substance abuse; in more cases than I can count, a flood of regret.

Through well-coiffed celebrities, the abortion industry tries to put an elegant face on abortion. Unfortunately, these stars cannot see the darkness that accompanies abortion — the lies, the denials, the violence. Only once in a while is the pristine imagery shattered by the horrific insider views of the abortion industry, as perhaps best demonstrated by the Kermit Gosnell case. (Gosnell was convicted in Philadelphia of killing three full-term babies and causing the death of a female patient. The grand jury suspected him of causing hundreds of additional deaths, but he could not be prosecuted for them, because he destroyed the records which could have led to more murder counts.)

Since major media outlets seem to be blinded by their own biases, it is up to the pro-life movement to shed light on the abortion industry every day that abortions take place. For the false images and to-die-for accessories will eventually fade away, as a majority of Americans come to realize that the freedom promised by abortion businesses is nothing but false advertising.

Airplanes, Alzheimer’s, and My Grandfather’s Last Days

My mind jolted to a stop last week as I read an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer about Barbara Bitros.

The 64-year-old woman is a former hospice nurse who doctors say may have early signs of Alzheimer’s. Bitros, an advocate for assisted suicide, has made plans to end her life because she is afraid of living with dementia.

She told the reporter:

“I fear the long, painful, humiliating process where you don’t know who you are or who anybody else is. Nobody should ever die like that.

“I want my grandchildren to remember me as a warm and loving person who’s still capable of reading them books and making them dinner.”

I felt a dark cloud of sorrow shadow my heart as I read her words, and my mind flashed back to memories of my grandfather.

When I was about 8 years old, I watched my grandfather’s life rapidly deteriorate because of Alzheimer’s. His dementia was doubly difficult because it was coupled with trauma from his World War II days. He was rarely at peace, even before the Alzheimer’s set in.

It was more than 20 years ago, but I still vividly remember those last days with Grandpa. Mostly, I remember the times when Grandpa played with my little brother. They often sat together on the kitchen floor playing with airplanes, balls, or tops. When they were together, Grandpa was calm and happy, and the whole family felt at peace.

Even when my grandfather went into the hospital, he connected with me and my siblings in meaningful ways. Grandpa often pulled out his harmonica and played us tunes from his military days. He didn’t remember who we were; he couldn’t read books to us or play on the floor, but we knew he loved us.

Brother

Had my grandfather decided to end his life before the Alzheimer’s, my brother never would have known him. My brother was only about 3 years old when Grandpa died, and his memories of Grandpa are few and vague.

But he remembers them playing airplanes together. Flying was something Grandpa always wanted to learn but never had the means to. Inspired by our grandfather, my brother worked hard and saved his money to begin flying lessons. He flew his first solo flight before he had his driver’s license.

Thinking back, I realize how meaningful my grandfather’s life was even in those last days. It’s why I hope Bitros won’t discount the value of her life, even as her memory fades. She clearly loves her grandchildren very much. I hope that she will see that, even with dementia, she can love and inspire her grandchildren just as my grandfather did.