Life at the Fair

Erie People for Life Chrerry Festival 2012b

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

She came to the festival booth with a secret–a life-affirming secret that she had been permitted to share. The year before, she had visited this very educational table and taken a soft-touch fetal model to show a pregnant woman considering abortion. The result? A life had been saved, and a mother had been spared a lifetime of grief.

Such is the power of pro-life educational displays at summer fairs and festivals. Local chapters of National Right to Life and the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation have been busy this summer, spreading the pro-life message at various community events. From fetal models to educational flyers, the materials on display persuade with a hope-filled message which cannot be denied.

One person reaches out to another with the scientific fact–that every human life is precious and needs to be protected. I recall vividly taking a little one to a church festival–and how she marveled at the models of preborn babies on display. They left an indelible impression which caused her to become passionately pro-life.

It may sound like a simple thing, handing a fetal model to a festival-goer. But in some communities, this is a profound act of courage. Abortion activists rail at fetal models–even going so far as to try to ban them from fairs. What they really fear is that people will find out the truth–that life begins at conception and that every abortion is an unspeakable tragedy.

Congratulations to those chapter volunteers who are rebuilding a culture of life in their communities. They make life worth celebrating!

Setting the Record Straight: Scott Wagner Has Strong Pro-Life Stand

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Republican candidate for Governor Scott Wagner

 

 

The following statement can be attributed to Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation:

“For the second time in weeks, Senator Scott Wagner’s record on the life issues has been misrepresented. Senator Wagner has a 100 percent pro-life voting record.

“For those not familiar with Senator Wagner’s record, here are the facts:

·  Scott Wagner is a cosponsor of Senate Bill 3, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks and outlaw dismemberment abortions.

·  Scott Wagner is a cosponsor of Senate Bill 300, which would defund Planned Parenthood.

·  Scott Wagner has denounced the horrific impacts Roe v Wade has had on the preborn and has fought  to ensure that the Pennsylvania Department of State would not repeat the mistakes that led to the lack of enforcement that enabled abortionist Kermit Gosnell to ply his trade in West Philadelphia.

·  Scott Wagner sponsored a trip to Washington, D.C. for a group of pro-life advocates so they could participate in the March for Life.

“While national, liberal interest groups like Planned Parenthood are pledging to spend millions of dollars on the radical pro-abortion candidate for Governor, Tom Wolf,  those of us who truly are pro-life should be coming together. Anyone who spreads misinformation about a candidate’s pro-life record is falling into Planned Parenthood’s trap.”

 

Signs of Progress, 45 Years After Roe v. Wade

Baby Superman with motherBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

gallagher@paprolife.org

As we mark the 45th anniversary of the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, I would like to offer 45 reasons for hope for the cause of protecting innocent human life:

  1. Statistics show the number of abortions in the U.S. are on the decline.
  2. Polls show the Millennial Generation is more pro-life than young people of generations past.
  3. President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order barring taxpayer funding of organizations that perform and promote abortions overseas.
  4. The White House supports no federal funding for abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
  5. Vice-President Mike Pence has been outspoken in his defense of innocent human life.
  6. Strict constructionist Neil Gorsuch now sits on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  7. The President has vowed to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will not legislate from the bench, hastening the day; when Roe v. Wade will be overturned.
  8. The annual March for Life continues to attract huge crowds, largely made up of young people.
  9. Pregnancy resource centers are reaching out to pregnant women everyday with compassion, love, and support.
  10. The number of pregnancy resource centers in the U.S. far outnumber abortion facilities.
  11. Abortion centers are closing all across the country.
  12. Congress boasts a pro-life majority, as do many state legislatures throughout the nation.
  13. 4D ultrasound technology is showing babies smiling in their mothers’ wombs.
  14. Women who regret their abortions and who want to help other women avoid similar heartache have found their voice in organizations such as the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
  15. Healing retreats such as those of Rachel’s Vineyard are bringing hope to women scarred by abortion.
  16. A number of Planned Parenthood workers have left their jobs in the abortion industry and have become powerful spokespeople for the pro-life cause.
  17. Abortion survivors such as Melissa Ohden are speaking out about being targeted for abortion when they were preborn babies.
  18. A number of men are taking responsibility for pressuring their wives and girlfriends into having abortions.
  19. Scientific research supports the pro-life contention that abortion hurts women physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  20. The blogosphere is filled with pro-lifers willing to share their knowledge.
  21. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow the pro-life movement to get accurate information out into cyberspace.
  22. Nurses who work with premature infants are sharing their experiences about the fragility of human life.
  23. A number of abortionists have stopped doing abortions and now promote life instead.
  24. College students are organizing and motivating their classmates to support pregnant women on campus.
  25. Teens for Life are finding innovative ways to promote life in their communities.
  26. Local chapters of National Right to Life are educating people about the life issue at area fairs and festivals.
  27. State affiliates of National Right to Life are passing pro-life laws and changing hearts and minds about abortion.
  28. Campaigns to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide have failed much more often than they have succeeded.
  29. Popular culture is recognizing the humanity of the preborn child by sharing Ultrasound  videos and praising “baby bumps.”
  30. People with Down syndrome are showing why it is inhumane to abort a child diagnosed with a disability in the womb.
  31. New attention is being focused on the brutal practice of dismemberment abortion, where a child is torn limb by limb from a mother’s womb.
  32. An increasing number of people are questioning the practice of sex selection abortions, in which babies are aborted just because of their sex.
  33. The gruesome practice of  partial-birth abortion, in which a baby is partly delivered, then killed, has been outlawed.
  34. A number of members of Congress are determined to shine a spotlight on allegations of baby body part harvesting in the abortion industry.
  35. Public opinion polls continue to show most people oppose most abortions.
  36. Polls also indicate that the vast majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.
  37. Polls demonstrate that most Americans oppose late-term abortions.
  38. A number of states have passed laws ensuring that no taxpayer funding of abortion can occur in the health insurance exchanges created by Obamacare.
  39. Many Congressmen want to make the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer funding of abortion except in rare cases, permanent.
  40. A distinguished counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, spoke at the March for Life.
  41. Women across the country are courageously stating that Planned Parenthood does not speak for them.
  42. People with disabilities are leading the fight against doctor-prescribed suicide and euthanasia.
  43. Some people who joined the pro-life movement way back in 1973 continue to serve the cause with dignity and honor.
  44. A number of celebrities, such as actress Patricia Heaton, are bucking the Hollywood trend and boldly proclaiming their pro-life views.
  45. The end of Roe v. Wade is in sight, given anticipated changes in the makeup of the Supreme Court.

 

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.