Discovering the Right to Life Through Faith

Baby sleepingBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director gallagher@paprolife.org

It is entirely possible to adopt a pro-life position based solely on reason. After all, science shows us that the baby’s heart starts beating at 24 days after conception; brain waves can be detected 43 days after fertilization.

Since every being in creation has a beginning, conception is the logical marker for determining the initiation of life. And, once a human life is initiated, the boy or girl should be protected. No religious creed is required to subscribe to that position.

Still, some look to faith to answer the question of when life begins, or to validate their position on abortion.

To me, one of the most telling verses in the Bible comes from the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 25: “Amen, I say what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for Me.”

The least among us are preborn children. They have no money, no voice of their own. They are small in stature and, under the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, they are largely unprotected under the law.

But according to Christian Scripture, whatever is done, or left undone, for these little ones is done, or not done, for Jesus, the Son of God.

Therefore, a Biblical imperative exists to defend the lives of preborn children. In honoring them, Christians honor God.

Again, one can come to a pro-life position entirely based on scientific evidence. But for those who look to the Bible for direction, the right to life is as clear as the waters of Baptism.

 

Life as the Inalienable Right

Olde Courthouse LewistownBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director gallagher@paprolife.org

In the shadow of the Olde Courthouse in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, people from all different faiths and walks of life gathered to recognize life as an inalienable right.

The peaceful protest was just one of the many held throughout the country this past weekend in a show of quiet solidarity for pregnant women and their babies.

The Life Chain events are known for their calm dignity and prayerful presence. At the Lewistown event, the soulful hymns were punctuated by inspiring speeches illustrating the many pro-life successes of 2017.

We have a man on the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, who is determined to strictly interpret the law, rather than actively make laws from the bench. An Executive Order ensures that no taxpayer funding will support organizations that perform and promote abortions overseas. Stellar pro-life individuals have filled the President’s Cabinet, and, for the first time this past January, a Vice-President addressed the annual March for Life.

In Pennsylvania, abortion centers that could not or would not meet basic health and safety standards have shut their doors. Abortion totals are at their lowest rate in the Keystone State since the tragic 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade. A new optimism and a renewed commitment flow through Pennsylvania’s pro-life ranks.

Life Chain 2017 marks a turning point in the history of our Commonwealth and of our nation–and that is cause for celebration!

Reaching Out to Pregnant Women Facing Challenges

huggies-3d-fetus-blind-ultrasound-mom

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

gallagher@paprolife.org

One of the greatest attributes of the pro-life movement is the concern it shows to pregnant women facing serious challenges in their lives.

There is no woman in Pennsylvania–or across the country–who should feel as if she is being forced into abortion. Help is as close as the nearest cell phone or Internet connection.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation has the most comprehensive list of PA pregnancy care centers on the World Wide Web. Chances are you or a friend can find a center within driving distance of home. You can find the complete list here.

You can also call the toll-free hotline at 1-888-Life-Aid.  Compassionate, caring individuals are ready to take your call.

To be pro-life is to be pro-woman…both supportive of the woman carrying a child…and of the daughter inside her mother’s womb.

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

mother_and_child

“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.

Eggs–A 2016 Summer LifeLines “sneak peek”

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 12th grader Miguel Mendoza, won 1st place in the senior high category. Enjoy!

Miguel Mendoza

Miguel Mendoza

Bald eagles, the enduring symbol of this nation’s spirit, freedom, and pursuit of greatness have received protection by law from those who would wish ill upon this majestic bird. In 1940, the United States passed a strict federal law known as the Bald Eagle Protection Act that focused on guarding not only the national bird, but also the bald eagle’s eggs. If one were to come across those eggs in the wild, it would be considered a serious offense to destroy them. If done so, the penalty would be equivalent to shooting an adult eagle out of the air.

Reverend Tadeusz Pacholczyk, author of The Ethics of Stem Cell Research, states, “By the force of law, we acknowledge the scientific truth that the eagle’s eggs, that is to say, the embryonic eagle inside that egg, is the same creature as the beautiful bird that we witness flying overhead.”  Consequently, this demonstrates the government’s awareness to pass laws that protect not only the adult but also the youngest individual of that species.

This can be applicable to the recent concept of stem-cell research in the field of medical science. Stem-cell research has taken on special attention for its potential health benefits and also for its moral side effects produced by the utilization of human embryos to give way to stem cells. In short, stem cells are an important way for the body’s cells to be restored. They function as unspecialized cells that have the capacity to grow into several specific types of cells, such as a cell that can produce new red blood cells.

The practice of stem-cell research appears to favor the use of embryonic stem cells since those cells have the ability to become any type of body cell. Adult stem cells are also utilized and have the potential to become numerous different cells, but not all. Some scientists hope to cure certain diseases like diabetes using embryonic stem cells.

With guidance from Church doctrine and teachings, I have come to the conclusion that I am in favor of most stem cell research, which normally uses cells from adult tissue, which presents no moral conflict. Nonetheless, a moral problem surfaces when researchers use the early stages of a fertilized egg to harvest stem cells, which ultimately destroys the once living human embryo. Although good results may arise from embryonic stem cell research, it by no means justifies the cruelty in the destruction of innocent human life.

The Church directly opposes any alterations to early human life. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s document, The Gift of Life (Donum Vitae), instructs that, “The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception…” I believe that life is a precious gift that we were given. Although not fully developed, human embryos are alive and therefore possess existence.  Remorsefully, their lack of mouth, eyes, and arms make them vulnerable to the evil works of man. Even though the aim of this research is to produce beneficial outcomes, the immoral means used to arrive at the sought after good does not validate the process. The life of a person should not lend itself as a dispensable commodity on behalf of someone else.

In regards to the bald eagle, people realized how its eggs were as important as the eagle itself, and therefore required protection for its conservation. The bird’s value was noticed and so it was reasonable to protect the bald eagle in all its stages of life. The same notion holds true for humans, who are more valuable than any other species on the planet combined. Unfortunately, human beings do not recognize their own inner beauty and uniqueness. They are willing to protect the embryos of other animals but fail to protect themselves first from what Reverend Pacholczyk describes as the, “dismemberment on the altar of stem cell sacrifice.”

 

 

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.

January Events to Mark 43 Years of Roe, Mourn 58 Million Aborted

January is a busy month in the pro-life world. This January 22 will mark the 43rd year since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade.

ErieMarchforLife16

Erie March for Life on Jan. 9

The infamous abortion decision opened the doors to abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. In the past 43 years, more than 58 million preborn babies have been aborted in the U.S.

ErieMarchforLife2-16To recognize this massive tragedy and to call for renewed protections for life in the womb, pro-lifers across the state are planning events in January. Please consider joining your fellow Pennsylvania pro-lifers this month.

March for Life
Many Pennsylvanians will travel by bus to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., joining hundreds of thousands of others in front of the U.S. Supreme Court steps to call for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. If you are looking for a bus to the March, contact our office at 717-541-0034 or lifelines@paprolife.org.

Gosnell Movie in Annville
The Lebanon County Republican Committee will host a free screening of the award-winning documentary film, “3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19 at the historic Allen Theatre, 36 E Main St, Annville.

The film documents the events surrounding the Kermit Gosnell abortion clinic tragedy in Philadelphia. Gosnell was convicted of murdering three newborn babies and contributing to the death of a female patient.

Pro-life Senator John Rafferty, who is featured in the film, will be on hand to greet viewers and comment on the Gosnell case. Running time for the movie is approximately one hour.  The screening is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted.

Pro-Life Breakfasts
Three of the Federation chapters will host special pro-life breakfasts near the anniversary of Roe. Please consider joining one of these special events:

ERIE PEOPLE FOR LIFE 38TH ANNUAL PRO-LIFE BREAKFAST — 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. January 16, 2016 at the Bayfront Convention Center, 1 Sassafras Pier Erie. Special guest speaker is Steven Mosher, President, Population Research Institute.

SCRANTON RESPECT LIFE PRAYER BREAKFAST — Saturday, January 30 hosted by the Pennsylvanians for Human Life Scranton Chapter. Lori Kehoe from the National Right to Life Committee will be the guest speaker.

MERCER COUNTY ANNUAL PRO-LIFE BREAKFAST – 9 a.m., Saturday, February 13 at the Park Inn by Radisson, 3377 New Castle Rd, West Middlesex. The cost is $15 for adults, $5 for children and students.  The keynote address will be given by Wesley J. Smith, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.  The event is sponsored by Pro-Life of Mercer County.  For further information and to reserve a seat, please call Joanne Schell at 330-448-4577, Susan Wallace 724-588-0775 or Brian O’Malley at 724-854-5433, or email Brian at prolifemercer@gmail.com .

Pro-Life Rallies in Pennsylvania
Several of our chapters also are hosting rallies and marches this month to mark the anniversary of Roe and the deaths of millions of preborn babies. People for Life, our Erie chapter, held its annual Erie March for Life on Jan. 9. Check out photos from the event on People for Life’s Facebook page.

Upcoming rallies include:

GETTYSBURG ANNUAL RALLY FOR LIFE — Noon on Friday, Jan. 22 at the Adams County Courthouse, 111 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg.  All are welcome. The Rally is sponsored by Adams County Chapter, Pennsylvanians for Human Life.  For further information, email ruthsantino@yahoo.com.

LEBANON ANNUAL RALLY FOR LIFE – Noon on Friday, Jan. 22 at the intersection of 8th and Cumberland Streets in downtown Lebanon.  All are welcome.  Members of the Lebanon County Chapter, Pennsylvanians for Human Life, will participate in the event. For further information, email sandrapav@verizon.net.

Check our Chapter Events page for more upcoming pro-life events in Pennsylvania.

Baby who defied the odds and lived sends a touching Christmas card to the world

In the spirit of Christmas, one Florida family is sharing a special message of hope and life with the world.

Brandon and Brittany Buell posted a series of Christmas photos on social media this week to celebrate their son Jaxon’s first holiday at home.

jaxon8Jaxon, who is just a year old, almost never had the chance to sit on Santa Claus’s lap or send a Christmas card. Before he was born, doctors diagnosed him with an incurable brain malformation and advised his parents to abort him.

The Buells refused, but they said they later faced criticism for their decision to choose life for their son.

LifeNews.com shares more about Jaxon’s miraculous story:

A few days ago, the family posted photos of Jaxon around their Christmas tree on social media. One photo shows Jaxon with a special message written on a giant Christmas card. It reads, “I wanted to send a Christmas card to the entire world from me, my mama & my dada. Thank you for supporting me! From my family to yours … Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!! #JaxonStrong”

On Sunday, Jaxon “had one of the best days of his life” when he met Santa Claus for the first time, his father told Fox 29 News. The family also watched the movie “Rudolph.”

“More big milestones for our little guy!” his father said.

Jaxon, who celebrated his first birthday this summer, is beginning to walk and speak, the Buells told the news station. He can say “Momma”, “Daddy” and “I love you.”

“Jaxon has already shown how strong, smart and special he is, accomplishing feats that doctors doubted he’d ever be able to do, shows improvements each and every day, and just reached a miraculous milestone in celebrating his first birthday,” his family shared on Facebook. “Ultimately, Jaxon will need a miracle long-term.”

The family said Jaxon still needs prayers for his continued medical treatments.

This precious little boy’s story holds the warmth of hope and love that are so common around the holidays. His story and his parents’ decision to choose life is something to celebrate all year long.

The Man Behind the Myth That Abortion Is Empowerment

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
gallagher@paprolife.org

SubvertedYou may have heard of Larry the Cable Guy. But do you know about Larry the abortion guy?

In a recently released book entitled Subverted, writer Sue Ellen Browder tells her personal, emotionally riveting story of how she “helped the sexual revolution hijack the women’s movement.” Browder’s personal biography — a writer for Cosmo magazine who eventually saw the light and abandoned the darkness of the culture of death — is fascinating. But here, I want to focus on the individual who might be described as the man behind the modern pro-abortion women’s movement — Larry Lader.

According to Browder’s detailed account, Larry was an atheistic magazine writer whose first foray into the world of book publishing was an account of the life of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Larry was one of the founders of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now known as the abortion lobbying group NARAL.

Browder notes that it was due to Larry’s influence that the woman who might be called the mother of the women’s rights movement, Betty Friedan, inserted abortion into the National Organization for Women’s political platform. This turn of events came about even though Betty originally opposed legal abortion.

As Browder tells it, Larry was on a drive to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with Dr. Bernard Nathanson (an abortionist who converted into a pro-life champion later in life) in 1967 when Larry stated, “If we’re going to move abortion out of the books and into the streets, we’re going to have to recruit the feminists.”

At a NARAL strategy meeting, Larry told Dr. Nathanson, “We’ve got to keep the women out in front. You know what I mean…and some blacks. Black women especially.”

Interestingly enough, Browder reports that Larry’s commitment to abortion formed a wedge between him and Margaret Sanger, who had called abortion “barbaric.”

Larry ultimately wrote a book on abortion, which was subtitled, “The first authoritative and documented report on the laws and practices government abortion in the U.S. and around the world, and how — for the sake of women everywhere — they can and must be reformed.” Still, as Browder writes, Larry’s book “was laced with poisonous half truth, limited truth, and truth out of context.”

And yet, Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmunn cited Larry’s abortion book at least seven times in writing the tragic decision Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, which brought us abortion on demand for any reason during all nine months of pregnancy.

It is impossible to solve a problem unless we know its origins. Please read Subverted to learn how abortion became the law of the land. History can be difficult to handle, but we owe it to the 58 million and counting abortion victims who have become Larry’s legacy — and to the mothers who are still grieving their children’s deaths.