The Room that Shouldn’t Exist

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

P.O.C. Three little letters.  Do they mean anything to you? 

In the eyes of some, that’s all we really are.

Products of Conception.

Did you know that there is a special room at every abortion center called the POC lab?  It’s where abortion workers literally piece back together an aborted child, reassembling his torso, legs, arms, and head to make sure that the entire baby was suctioned from the mother’s uterus.   If every part of the baby is not accounted for, a remaining piece in the mother may cause infection and potentially death.

Former abortion worker turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson says that workers at her clinic would joke that the room was called the Pieces Of Children lab.

How can anyone joke about reassembling a tiny human like a jigsaw puzzle? Or actually do it?

Can they not see the clearly human features?  Can they not see the life that once was? The life that existed just moments earlier but was violently ended by the flip of a switch?

Not if you’ve been schooled in dehumanization.

23 weeks Image from app Sprout

That is the lesson that the abortion industry teaches.  They use the pronoun “it” to refer to a baby in the fetal stage of life rather than “he” or “she.”

They minimize pre-born life as “a clump of cells,” even though ALL of us are really just a “clump of cells.”  

They call actual heartbeats “cardiac pulsations.”

It’s a crafted language that transforms a who into a what– and in the process, numbs the conscience to the act of destroying vulnerable life. And to piecing it back together.

In her expose on the abortion industry, The Walls Are Talking, Johnson tells the story of Angie, a woman getting her ninth abortion. Even the jaded staff was dismayed by her carefree attitude and smile.  For whatever reason, after the abortion Angie asked to see “it.”  Breaking with protocol, a worker retrieved the dish from the POC lab and brought it to Angie.

As she peered into the dish, her smile faded. She did not expect to see a little human put back together. Her little human. Her baby. Suddenly, the truth of abortion became crystal clear to her.  The shock sent Angie to her knees and into an inconsolable wail. Abortion workers moved her to another room so she wouldn’t alarm the other women getting abortions.

How many Angies are there, blinded to the humanity of life within, misled by the profit-driven abortion lobby in believing their own child is disposable, and then awakened to the lie? Tragically, too many. 

Let eyes be opened and truth be known. 

Let’s work for the day when all women are given life-affirming options, and when all life is safe from harm in the sanctuary of the womb.

Let P.O.C. no longer stand for Product of Conception or Pieces of Children, but rather Protection Of Children, born and unborn.

Pro-Life Gains Made During the Trump Administration

Ultrasound couple 2

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

In a dramatic turn-around from the Obama Administration, President Trump and his Cabinet have initiated an agenda which makes pro-life policies a top priority.

From filling the Administration with pro-life personnel to directing funding away from Planned Parenthood, the Trump Administration has pursued a consistent and unwavering dedication to ensuring the protection of preborn children and their mothers.

As National Right to Life has noted, President Trump has appointed pro-life advocates throughout the federal government, from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. Both Pompeo and Carson have been strong voices for the sanctity of innocent human life, lending a pro-life pedigree to the Administration.

In a direct reversal of course from the Obama years, President Trump restored the legendary “Mexico City Policy,” which bars taxpayer funds from being awarded to groups that perform or promote abortions overseas. The policy, initiated by the late President Ronald Reagan, is considered a hallmark of pro-life Administrations.

President Trump enthusiastically supports the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would ban the use of tax dollars for abortion in any federal program. He also backs re-directing federal monies away from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation.

In a State of the Union speech in 2019, the President urged Congress to pass legislation protecting preborn children from the especially heinous tragedy of late-term abortion. He has also promised to “veto any legislation that weakens current pro-life federal policies and laws, or that encourages the destruction of innocent human life at any stage.”

The Trump Administration issued rules in 2018 to ensure that federal Title X funding does not finance facilities performing or counseling for abortion. The Trump team also stopped funding to a United Nations Fund because of its role in China’s monstrous forced abortion project.

But it is in his judicial appointments that the President has built a lasting legacy. He vowed early on in his tenure to appoint only strict constructionists to the federal courts—in other words, judges who would interpret the law and the Constitution as written, rather than acting as a pseudo-legislative body, creating pro-abortion laws from the bench.

Despite a firestorm of pro-abortion-led opposition, the President appointed Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The two jurists believe in having federal courts interpret the Constitution based on text and not as a “living” document, subject to the whims of individual judges.

President Trump has also embraced the pro-life movement and its leaders, honoring them for their vision and vitality.

As the President stated earlier this year, “The life movement is led by strong women, amazing faith leaders, and brave students who carry on the legacy of pioneers before us who fought to raise the conscience of our nation and uphold the rights of our citizens. You embrace mothers with care and compassion. You are powered by prayer, and motivated by pure, unselfish love.”

He further noted, “When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation. When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love that each child brings to a family. When we watch a child grow, we see the splendor that radiates from each human soul. One life changes the world.”

 

 

 

Young Pro-Life Voices Inspire Hope for the Future

composing computer with rose

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Just when we all needed a glimmer of hope and a boost in optimism, they delivered. They are the students who entered our annual pro-life essay and oratory contests and they are an impressive lot.

As a former English teacher, I think I have some pretty high standards. These kids met them! With eloquence and conviction, they took on tough topics, articulated strong arguments for life, and exposed the lies of the culture of death.

Lydia, for example, doesn’t buy into faux feminism that offers abortion as a tool of empowerment. She beautifully proclaims, “Pregnancy isn’t a hindrance to equality, it is something that makes women special.  The ability to conceive is a wonderful gift that women should use to honor and glorify God.”

Alyssa says nature supports this miraculous gift of life, explaining how the release of the “love hormone” oxytocin bonds mother and father with child. This beautiful, natural bond is horribly violated by the act of infanticide. “Protecting the lives of the innocent from infanticide…should be one of our most prioritized goals today.”

“Even animals realize that a baby, and an unborn one at that, is part of the family. They understand that the baby isn’t some impediment, or something they can get rid of…If animals can understand that, then why can’t we?” penned Helena, a passionate and wise eighth grader.

Gwen urges us to heed the silent crying of the babies. “It is our job to protect them, to speak for their rights.”

Camryn, in just seventh grade, wrote about the high percentage of abortion centers in minority neighborhoods. “No matter what the crisis is, abortion is never the answer…Society needs to stop this tragedy and help mothers, especially minority mothers.”

Clare spoke up for those whose abilities may be different but not less. “Unborn babies with disabilities can also live good lives. But we must give them a chance at life so they can show the world that they are not a hardship; they are a gift.”

LJ warned that, “Giving a person less value because they are in the beginning stages of life is the ultimate exploitation of our youth,” while Elise urged being pro-information to help others “appreciate the greatest art: the creation of a human being.”

Abigail points out the travesty of babies created in laboratories to be destroyed for research. “In short, lives are created with the complete understanding that the majority of those lives will be taken soon thereafter,” treating life not as a gift, but as disposable property.

Emily recognizes this destruction of life to be in conflict with our civil rights, citing the “guarantee of life” under the 14th amendment. She writes, “The legalization of abortion not only violates the unborn child’s right to life but also strips them of their ‘due process of law’.”

Alluding to the current crisis, Nathalia says, “If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is to honor the value of life.”

In a time of great turmoil, Thomas reminds us of who we are and what we must do. “The United States is called the land of the free and the home of the brave. Yet, we allow abortion, an attack on the helpless…Let us turn the minds and hearts of this country back to those great principles of truth, protection of the innocent and freedom for all.”

May the passion and wisdom of these young people inspire in all of us a renewed commitment to defend and protect all human life.

 

The Other Pandemic

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

pandemicPhoto by David Veksler on Unsplash

 

Right now we are united in a heroic effort to protect each other from an invisible, aggressive enemy. Choosing to exercise self-restraint and self-denial, we’ve adopted a new normal and together face an uncertain future. We are making sacrifices to protect the most vulnerable members of our society because we recognize their value and dignity.

How very beautiful.

And how very pro-life.

For decades, the pro-life movement has been protecting the weakest and most vulnerable from certain death by fighting a different pandemic, the widespread killing of preborn children.

Our current situation certainly calls for extraordinary measures, yet there is a tremendous and tragic irony at play here.  We’re taking unprecedented steps in an effort to save lives, but, in actuality, only some lives.

While businesses close, schools teach virtually, and life as we know it comes to a halt, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers remain open.

While we take severe measures to stop an invasive virus from claiming life, some medical practitioners invade the womb for just that purpose.

Covid-19 has claimed over 100 precious lives in the US thus far, but abortion claims the lives of almost 3000 precious babies every single day, with the death toll to date exceeding 61 million.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

At a time when we are all sacrificing for the good of the other, should we not re-consider the “other” we’ve been sacrificing in legalized abortion?

Isn’t it time to recognize their humanity, their value, their dignity? To unite as a country in protecting and providing for the weak and vulnerable on the other end of the life spectrum?

Our country is demonstrating that we have the capacity to change and adapt in the face of a life-threatening virus.  We can do the same for the virus that has infected our culture, turning mother against her own child. We can save the next generation.

Among them may be the one who finds the antidote to a highly contagious virus, preventing a deadly world-wide pandemic.

 

How the Pro-Life Movement Can Achieve Real Consensus

Baby sleeping 2020

 

 

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

 As we approach the 47th anniversary of the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, some may be wondering why we persist to try to protect every human life, from conception to natural death. Wouldn’t it be better, these individuals say, to just draw a line at abortions after the first trimester of pregnancy?

In fact, some people wrongly believe that Roe itself bans abortions after 12 weeks gestation. But when Roe is considered with its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the ruling actually allows for abortions for any reason or no reason during all nine months of pregnancy. That is how we have ended up with states such as New York passing bills lifting all restrictions on abortion.

There is no doubt that second and third trimester abortions are especially heinous, given what we know about the development of the preborn child. But every abortion ends an innocent, irreplaceable human life.

If we were to pass a law banning abortions after the first trimester in most of the states, chances are that that would effectively end the national dialogue on abortion. We would be closing the door to future abortion restrictions.

What’s more, the majority of preborn babies would not be protected, since most abortions occur in the first trimester. For instance, in Pennsylvania, of the 30,364 abortions which occurred in the Commonwealth in 2018, 26,404 occurred at less than 13 weeks gestation.

Imagine passing a law against abortion—and still, 26,404 children would lose their precious lives!

It is true that the pro-life movement has been successful in an incremental, or step by step, approach to restricting abortion. For instance, laws requiring informed consent, parental consent, and 24-hour-waiting periods have decreased in abortions. In Pennsylvania, the Abortion Control Act, which contained such restrictions, succeeded in cutting the abortion rate in half.

Our goal as a pro-life movement is not to end abortions after the first trimester. Our goal is to ensure that each individual child is welcomed in life and protected under the law. When it comes to common ground or consensus, the point of agreement we should be aiming for is to help people see the humanity of the preborn child at all its stages of development. We should also work to assist people to understand the vast help and resources that are available to pregnant women in difficult circumstances.

Helping all preborn children and helping all pregnant women—that’s where our consensus should lie.

 

A Seed Planted: The Beautiful Fruits of a School Pro-Life Club

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education DirectorIMG_0075Pregnant with her first child in 1973 when Roe vs Wade was handed down, Connie Fenice hoped that legalized abortion in this country would be short-lived. Like so many others, she was dismayed to instead see a culture of death take hold.  In 1994, as a new teacher at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in the Diocese of Harrisburg, she decided to do something that has had a long-lasting impact. She started a student-led pro-life club, an organization that is now entering its 26th year and has yielded great fruit for the pro-life movement.

Connie’s goal was to heighten awareness of the sanctity of all human life through education and prayer.  Every month students updated a pro-life bulletin board with information and pictures on fetal development, a visible sign to the whole school on the miracle of pre-born life.  This ritual still carries on today.

For a quarter century, the Children of Mary Pro-Life Club has participated in a variety of activities. They’ve attended the annual Life Chain held in October and the Walk for Life benefiting a local pregnancy center. They’ve organized school-wide drives to collect items for a maternity home and then visited the home to learn more about that ministry. They’ve hosted baby showers, sold cupcakes and lifesaver lollipops, and raised money through a Baby Bottle Blessing Collection.

But perhaps most fruitful is the Spiritual Adoption program. Early in the school year, students are invited to spiritually adopt and name their baby. During the next nine months, they follow the baby’s growth, praying that the mother will have the love and support needed to choose life for her child. A baby carriage with a 12-week-old fetal model is placed upon the prayer table in each classroom, while every month a student leader shares information about fetal development over the school PA system.  A few years ago during daily prayer intentions, a student spontaneously prayed aloud for her spiritually adopted child and soon all the students followed her example, remembering publicly every day the life for which they had promised to pray.

When Connie transferred to the local Catholic high school several years later, she became co-moderator of their large, robust pro-life club. She was gratified that many of the officers and active members were from the elementary club she had started.   Some of these students went on to become teachers and pro-life leaders themselves, carrying within them the profound life lessons that were nurtured early on. In this way the pro-life seeds long ago sown continue to bear new fruit.

All of Connie’s children were active in pro-life activities through college. Her oldest child’s five children have all been leaders in the pro-life club that their grandmother started. This is bittersweet, as Connie explains, “I would not have wished to see the child that I was carrying when Roe v Wade was passed grow up to face the same issue. I would have thought that surely her children, my grandchildren, would not have to be part of the struggle. But it gives me great hope to watch this new generation, armed with knowledge, drawing from 46 years of the aftermath of such a terrible Supreme Court decision, go forward and take up the battle.  It is these beautiful young faces that we see at the March for Life each year. It is their love, their energy that uplifts me and gives me the courage to continue the fight.”

Now retired from teaching, Connie coordinates a very active Respect Life Ministry for her parish which includes adults who were once members of the Children of Mary Pro-Life Club.

Although under new leadership, the school pro-life club has the same mission as when it started: through education and prayer, teach our children that all life is a precious gift to be loved and protected.  Imagine how many students over the last 25 years have carried this message in their hearts, back home to their families, into their workplaces, and out to the world!

Plant the seed early, nurture it often, and watch the beautiful fruits of LIFE come forth and witness to a world that so desperately needs it.  That is what one woman did and what we are all called to do in some way.

“Progressive” Governor Stalls Progress on Life Issues

Baby with block  By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

He might call himself a progressive, but the Governor of Pennsylvania is standing directly in the way of progress, when it comes to pro-life advances in the Commonwealth.

Democrat Tom Wolf has staked out a position at odds with the state’s mainstream, when it comes to the life issues. He opposes any and all restrictions on abortion, towing the Planned Parenthood line time and time again.

He vetoed a common sense bill that would have banned brutal dismemberment abortions, where babies are torn limb by limb from their mothers’ wombs. The former volunteer clinic escort for Planned Parenthood opposes a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion, even though such a measure is supported by the vast majority of Americans.

He has gone so far as to pledge to veto any pro-life bill that comes to his desk. Undaunted, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this past spring passed House Bill 321, which would ban abortion for the sole reason of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The House approved the bill by a large, bipartisan majority. The measure is now awaiting action in the Pennsylvania Senate.

If the Senate follows the lead of the House and OK’s the bill, would Wolf stand in the way of people with disabilities being protected? Or would he at least acknowledge that children with special needs deserve special legal protection? Time will tell.

But all indications are that, if Wolf had his way, Pennsylvania would become another New York, legalizing abortions up to the moment of birth, while offering no care and consideration for babies born as a result of “botched” abortions.

Pennsylvania’s House and Senate retain pro-life majorities, so Wolf is clearly out of step with the state legislature. He has also distanced himself ideologically from the majority of the populace, who oppose most abortions, according to public opinion polls.

I know of people who are hoping and praying for a conversion of the Governor’s heart. Unless and until that happens, the state legislature is providing a critical firewall against radically pro-abortion policies.

But with another election, that firewall could easily melt away. That is why it is critical that, come 2020, pro-lifers become engaged and informed. Retaining pro-life majorities in the General Assembly is crucial to ensuring that Pennsylvania’s common sense limits on abortion, such as parental consent, informed consent, and 24-hour waiting periods, are maintained.

Without them, PA will lose the legislative ground we’ve gained…not to mention untold numbers of precious lives.

What Pete Doesn’t Know

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director


oleg-sergeichik-MrsbKzRzflo-unsplash

 

 

 

Photo by Oleg Sergeichik on Unsplash

 

Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg may know a lot, but there is one fundamental truth he doesn’t know…when human life begins.

In a recent interview, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana referenced the Bible in defending abortion up to birth, surmising that life begins at first breath. Interestingly, he ignores other passages, such as Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you,” Psalm 139:13 “For thou didst form my inward parts; thou didst knit me in my mother’s womb,” and Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”  Additionally, he ignores the fifth commandment “Thou shalt not kill.”

Pete is proudly “pro-choice”, choosing to invoke only those parts of the Bible that seem to suit an indefensible agenda.

He also chooses to ignore science, specifically embryology, which confirms that a genetically unique human life is present from the moment of conception.

The American College of Pediatricians recognizes this fundamental fact. Issuing a statement in 2017, this group of medical experts

…concurs with the body of scientific evidence that corroborates that a unique human life starts when the sperm and egg bind to each other in a process of fusion of their respective membranes and a single hybrid cell called a zygote, or one-cell embryo, is created.

But Pete doesn’t seem to know this, or perhaps doesn’t want to know.

Does he know that many infants born prematurely, like my first son, have lungs incapable of breathing on their own? A respirator and oxygen tube become their lifelines.  Does he really believe babies dependent on these for breath have no right to life? That their human life hasn’t yet begun? That they can be killed?

Sadly, there is so much more that Pete Buttigieg doesn’t know. His ignorance leads him to dehumanize the most vulnerable and innocent among us, attempting to justify a horrible act of violence against them.

Pete doesn’t know the whirling sound of a child’s in-utero heartbeat, or the utter amazement of seeing your own baby in his first home via ultrasound.

He doesn’t know the tickle of a tiny human tumbling within, or the firm kick later in pregnancy that can make a mother gasp.

He doesn’t know the rhythmic beat of a pre-born babe’s hiccup, rocking the belly at predictable intervals.

He doesn’t know that the worry, the sickness, the labor pain, and all the sacrifices involved in bringing forth the life already created, that all those melt away when you lay skin-to-skin with your own flesh and blood for the very first time and fall in love.

Pete doesn’t know. He doesn’t know that he was a living human being from the moment of his conception, long before he drew his first breath.

Presidential candidate Pete Butterieg, who seeks to lead a nation founded on the promises of life and liberty, should know better.

Making a Gift of Self

hands reaching for help

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Something moved me last week, and has stayed with me ever since.  Stopped at a busy intersection, I noticed a man in need, with a cardboard sign and backpack lying next to him. A car that had the right of way and could have easily kept going pulled over, lowered the window, and beckoned the man to approach.

Conversation and smiles were exchanged. A large water bottle passed through the window and then a bag full of groceries.  After a gesture of gratitude, the man returned to his familiar patch of grass, eagerly examining his treasure, almost like a child on Christmas morn.

The light signaled me to go and so I did. But my mind remained at that intersection, processing the simple yet profound act of kindness I had just witnessed.

The man was white and middle-aged, the driver a young black woman.  But in that moment of need, in that time of self-giving, there was no race, gender, or age to divide them. There were two human beings, both of equal dignity, one freely giving of her plenty to one who had little.

It was a voluntary act of love between two strangers that touched me deeply. How many others stopped at the intersection were privileged to see this?  Could the young woman possibly know the impact she had, not just on the man, but on all of us onlookers?

While clearly her act of charity benefitted the man, I know that she too gained something in that moment. “It is in giving that we receive.”

Caring for the weak and vulnerable, making time for others, giving of self, sharing resources, expecting nothing in return…this is the pro-life message. It is our mission as human beings, written in our hearts. And even though it can be challenging, it is inherent in our human nature.

It is natural to want to reach out, to help, to aid in the other’s survival.  That is why abortion is so un-natural. It erects a wall where there should be none, between a mother and her very own child.  Abortion divides. It dismisses. It disposes of another living human being.

The opportunity to be a gift to one in need, to one who is dependent, to one seeking survival is tragically lost.

That is why random acts of kindness, acts of love toward the other, like the one I witnessed, mean so very much. They remind us.

They remind us that gender, race, age, faith, or socio-economic status do not make us more or less valuable.

They remind us that size, level of development, environment, or degree of dependency do not make us any more or less human.

They remind us that our achievements or lack of them do not define our worth.

They remind us that every life has inherent dignity and deserves our protection.

They remind us that making a gift of ourselves to the other is as good for the giver as it is for those who receive.

We are made that way.  At our very core, we are pro-life.

Join the “Club”: Literature for Life!

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

 

books and a chair picture

Books have long been a friend to me.  As a young girl my best friend and I spent much time at our neighborhood library perusing shelves for hidden treasures. Thanks to my high school teachers’ artful explication of great literature, my love for books deepened. My first career as an English teacher allowed me to journey through classical and contemporary literature with middle and high school students. A neighborhood book club, which I joined about 10 years ago, exposed me to books I most likely would not have selected myself but am glad to have read.

So when I walked into the Education Director’s office six months ago and saw a sizeable selection of books, something stirred inside me.  The books seemed to demand action!

But what? I wanted to do more than read them all. I want to share them. Thus, Literature for Life, a pro-life book “club” was born, a club which anyone can join just by reading our seasonal selection.  The idea is to enjoin pro-lifers in a common conversation by reading the same pro-life book, discussing it with friends, church ministries, or a pro-life group.  We will even try an online book chat, creating a virtual community of pro-life activists engaging in meaningful dialogue.

Years ago, Oprah united many across the country with her book club. Communities have done it on a smaller scale with variations of “One County, One Book” programs. Why not unite those of us in the pro-life movement by reading some of the best pro-life books out there, especially when there are so many stories that deserve our attention?

Not only will we readers expand our knowledge and strengthen our resolve, we will be better equipped in the battle to build a pro-life culture.  We will be more informed, more articulate, and more committed, becoming agents of change in a world that so needs our voices and activism.

If you haven’t read our summer selection yet there is still time.

Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer is a critically important book for us pro-lifers, especially relevant to those of us in Pennsylvania, as our state officials allowed unimaginable atrocities to occur under their watch.

Many have already seen the Gosnell movie and are familiar with his House of Horrors. The book delves into greater detail, painting a fuller portrait of his employees and his victims, and it includes a compelling interview with Gosnell himself.

This is a book worthy of our time. It should be discussed and shared. For the sake of the babies and woman who were his victims, the tragedy of Gosnell must never be forgotten.

Please consider joining us on Skype for our on-line book chat on Thursday, Sept. 12 from 7-8 p.m. Send an email to lifelines@paprolife.org to have a link for the on-line conversation emailed to you.  Our book for Fall will be announced at that time.

Let us use books as a tool for uniting, broadening, and strengthening the Pro-Life movement!