Gov. Wolf Appoints Member of PA Planned Parenthood Board as His New Chief of Staff

As Planned Parenthood comes under fire nationally for harvesting aborted babies’ organs, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf today appears to have appointed a board member of the abortion giant as his chief of staff.

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Mary Isenhour

According to a biography posted on the website for Mack Sumner Communications, Mary Isenhour, Wolf’s new top advisor, serves on the board of Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania.

This part of her biography is not in the official state press release, perhaps conveniently so. Nationally, Planned Parenthood faces two federal investigations into whether the abortion chain is profiting off the sale of aborted babies’ tissue and changing the abortion technique for the purpose of harvesting intact organs, both of which are illegal. Watch the undercover videos that led to the investigations here.

Wolf himself served as a volunteer escort for Planned Parenthood at one time, according to Cecile Richards, CEO of the national organization.

In appointing Isenhour, Wolf sends a clear message that he continues to support the abortion giant, even as it is embroiled in scandal.

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.

What Circles the State Each Spring? Our Pro-Life Town Halls

By Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director

This was my fifth year leading the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation town hall tour around the state. I was privileged to have our education director, Micaiah Bilger, as my co-presenter this year.

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Executive Director Michael Ciccocioppo and Education Director Micaiah Bilger

Based on the feedback we received at every stop along the way, the tour was an unequivocal success. People genuinely appreciate our brand of pro-life education. And we reached hundreds of citizens in their hometowns.

We traveled 1,200 miles in seven days this month, speaking in 11 different communities, starting in Ebensburg and continuing on to Uniontown, Pittsburgh, Titusville, Erie, State College, Scranton, Nesquehoning, Easton, Philadelphia and Lancaster. We have one last stop to make in Grove City on September 16. Click here for details.

People like the way we provide the most important information on some of the hottest pro-life topics of the day with high energy, passion and plain English.

This year, we covered seven topics at each stop:

  • The state of abortion in Pennsylvania
  • Gov. Wolf’s ties to the abortion industry
  • Hope for parents whose babies have poor prenatal diagnoses
  • Abortion and medical rationing in the era of the Affordable Care Act
  • The push for doctor-prescribed suicide
  • Encouraging signs for the pro-life cause
  • What you can do to help restore the culture of life in Pennsylvania

Since each event is one-and-a-half to two hours long, we keep our talks brief and focus on the most important aspects of each topic. When people want more details, we provide them during Q&A.

Special thanks to all those who hosted this year’s pro-life town halls. Check out a slideshow of photos from all these events here.

If you or a group would like to host a pro-life town hall in your community in 2016, contact the Federation at lifelines@paprolife.org or 717-541-0034.

In the Wake of Gosnell Scandal, Lawmakers Have Serious Concerns about Nominee

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
gallagher@paprolife.org

More than 40 Pennsylvania lawmakers have signed a letter to Governor Tom Wolf which raises serious questions about Secretary of State nominee Pedro Cortes. Cogosnell40rtes previously served as Secretary of State during the Rendell Administration, a period of time in which the Department of State took no action against infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

Gosnell was suspected of killing hundreds of full-term babies and causing the deaths of female patients in a West Philadelphia abortion facility, which was called a “House of Horrors” by prosecutors. Gosnell is now in prison after being convicted of killing three babies and causing the death of a woman. Prosecutors say they were unable to bring charges in the rest of the cases because Gosnell destroyed the evidence.

The letter from the legislators states, “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.”

You can read the full letter and see the names of the legislators who signed it here.

Wolf Administration Removes Pro-Abortion Link

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

Following an outcry from legislators and citizens throughout the Commonwealth, the state of Pennsylvania has removed a pro-abortion link from its website.

Mom-and-ChildPreviously at PA.gov, visitors who went to the Information page, clicked on Health and Wellness, then Women’s Health, were directed to the Women’s Law Project, a pro-abortion legal group which opposes any restrictions on abortion.

Now, the series of clicks brings visitors to a page encouraging healthy eating, exercise, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and other issues of interest to women.

While we are grateful that the state no longer links to a site which linked to abortion facilities, we must remain vigilant. The president of the nation’s largest abortion operation, Planned Parenthood, has stated that Governor Tom Wolf previously served as a “clinic escort,” accompanying women to their abortions. His candidacy was also endorsed by both Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion group known as NARAL.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a pro-life state, and should remain one, despite the governor’s personal views.

Wolf Is ‘1st Governor in History’ to Be a Planned Parenthood Escort

You can usually tell a lot about a person by the way they spend their time, and our new governor is no exception.

Gov. Tom Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf

Since being elected, Wolf named a Planned Parenthood executive to his transition team and appointed a man who has been linked to Kermit Gosnell to his cabinet.

Recently, we learned that Wolf also used to volunteer for the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards proudly told a Pennsylvania group that Wolf is the “first governor in the history of this country who is also a former Planned Parenthood escort.”

For anyone who doesn’t know, Planned Parenthood escorts are volunteers who walk with patients from their car to the building, blocking them from pro-life sidewalk counselors. Escorts can be nasty, even abusive, toward pro-lifers and pushy toward the women they escort.

Their job is to prevent women from hearing about the other options and resources available for them and their baby. They don’t trust women to make their own decisions.

And that’s how our new governor, Tom Wolf, used to spend his free time.

We need to keep a close eye on Wolf to ensure that he doesn’t do in office what he did as a volunteer. Women deserve to know the full truth about abortion, their preborn baby, and the pregnancy and parenting resources available to them. Let’s hope that our new governor will have a change of heart and start trusting women with all the facts.

To Be “for the People,” Gov. Wolf Should Break Ties with Abortion Industry

By Maria Gallagher
Legislative Director

As he takes the helm of state government, new Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is promising a “government that works.”

Pennsylvania: A Pro-Life StateIn order to make good on that pledge, he will have to show his independence from the abortion industry.

It’s a tough task, given the fact that the nation’s largest abortion operation, Planned Parenthood, served on his transition team.

In addition, the man he nominated for Secretary of State, Pedro Cortes, has been sharply criticized for his failure to put abortionist Kermit Gosnell out of business when he had a chance. The grand jury report in the Gosnell murder case cited several instances in which the Department of State, which Cortes previously headed, failed to take action following revelations of trouble at Gosnell’s facility. Gosnell is now in prison after being convicted of the deaths of three full-term infants and in connection with the death of a female patient.

At his low-key inauguration, Wolf also pledged a government for the people rather than the special interests. Again, it will be difficult for him to fulfill his pledge as long as he maintains close ties with the abortion industry.

Pennsylvania made tremendous progress during Governor Tom Corbett’s administration in terms of holding abortion businesses accountable. As a result of a law signed by Corbett, abortion facilities in Pennsylvania must abide by the safety standards of outpatient surgery centers. They must also be subject to regular inspections.
Pennsylvanians will need to keep a close eye on the Wolf Administration to ensure that enforcement of abortion regulations does not take a giant step backward. Women’s health and safety depend on it.

Wolf has also promised to be an unconventional governor. That would mean not following in the footsteps of previous Governors Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell, whose policies were governed by pro-abortion politics. Consider this assessment from the Gosnell grand jury, regarding the decision of pro-abortion governors to stop inspecting abortion centers: “Better to leave clinics to do as they pleased, even though, as Gosnell proved, that meant both women and babies would pay.”

Let’s not have a replay of Ridge-Rendell. Let’s challenge the new governor to safeguard women and children through aggressive enforcement of abortion center regulations. Only then will Pennsylvania really achieve a government that works.

Eight Pro-Life Resolutions for 2015, Including Mine

I have a confession. I rarely make New Year’s resolutions. I like to think it’s not because I’m lazy, but because I see New Year’s Day as just some arbitrary spot on the calendar. I tell myself I can make resolutions any time. I don’t need “January 1st” to motivate me.

People for Life of Erie at the March for Life

People for Life of Erie at the March for Life

Well, I have resolved to change that. I am making a resolution, and I encourage you to make one, too – whether you start Jan. 1 or some other time. Here are eight pro-life resolutions for you to consider (including mine for 2015):

1. Dedicate time to pray for an end to abortion. Last year, I began praying every Friday morning during my hour-long commute. Fridays are one of the busiest days for our local abortion center, so I spend my hour praying for the women, their families, the sidewalk counselors, abortionists and staff. If you are a religious person, consider a new prayer resolution.

2. Learn to articulate your position on human life. Put Scott Klusendorf’s “A Case for Life” or Frank Beckwith’s “Defending Life” on your reading list this year. Both offer a very strong, reasoned case for why all human life should be protected. They also help teach you to respond to pro-abortion arguments.

3. Listen. If a friend is facing a crisis, listen. If he/she wants advice, offer it but only after you listen. If your sister-in-law is pro-choice on abortion, listen to her reasons why before you respond. Sometimes the best way to love people is to show them that we care enough to listen.

4. Volunteer. Contact one of our 40+ chapters, a pro-life group at your school or college, or your local pregnancy help center to volunteer.

5. Attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C. This huge pro-life rally inspires hundreds of thousands of people every year. It’s an awe-inspiring event. Contact us for details.

6. Tell your elected officials where you stand on life. If they vote pro-life, thank them. If they don’t, ask them to. And if you don’t know where your elected officials stand, contact us and we’ll let you know.

7. Stay informed. As the 2015 approaches, we already have our eyes on new threats to life here in Pennsylvania, including doctor-prescribed suicide and a new pro-abortion governor who already has appointed abortion advocates to his transition team. Keep yourself informed by signing up for our twice monthly e-newsletter.

8. Donate. Pro-life organizations like us need your support. Whether you can donate time or resources, you can help us in our mission to restore protections for life. Personally, I’m resolving to spend less on things like coffee and junk food in 2015 so I can donate more to those in need. Donate here.

Please consider making a pro-life resolution in 2015. You can be a part of this mission to ensure protections for every human life in Pennsylvania.

Merry Christmas, and happy New Year!

PA Pro-Lifers Scored Victories amid Losses in 2014 Election

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative/PAC Director

The untold story of Election 2014 in Pennsylvania is how well pro-lifers fared in legislative contests.

Capitol-front-viewLargeThe Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation PAC endorsed 12 candidates for Congress, 69 candidates for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and five candidates for the Pennsylvania Senate. Every single PAC-endorsed legislative candidate won his or her race.

Noteworthy is the fact that the pro-life endorsements crossed party lines—a number of pro-life Democrats won their contests. Female pro-life candidates also scored exceptionally well, shattering the myth that all women in Pennsylvania politics stand on a pro-abortion platform.

Of course, this welcome news for preborn children and their mothers will receive little airplay, since Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation, is playing up the fact that their Executive Branch candidates—pro-abortion Gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf and his flip-flopping running mate, Lieutenant Governor candidate Mike Stack—defeated pro-life Governor Tom Corbett and Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley.

Yet, nothing was as touching as the Election Night moment when Governor Corbett, in a graceful concession speech, praised Chloe Kondrich, a special needs child who successfully won passage of a law to ensure that parents of unborn babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome receive helpful information and referrals. The legislation was especially significant, since statistics indicate as many as 90 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted.

Sadly and tragically, such legislation would have had scarce chance of becoming law under the incoming Wolf/Stack regime.

History will show that, in just four years, Governor Corbett made tremendous progress in the fight for life, answering the Kermit Gosnell tragedy with swift and decisive action. Abortion facilities that went uninspected for more than 15 years finally are subject to regular health inspections…abortion operations must follow basic safety standards…and no taxpayer dollars will be used for abortion under the health insurance exchange created in Pennsylvania through Obamacare.

It will be up to the pro-life General Assembly to keep Wolf’s rabid abortion policies in check, so that protections for unborn children and their mothers will not disappear in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Where the Candidates for Governor Stand on Life

Our Legislative Director Maria Gallagher just finished a new fact sheet comparing Gov. Tom Corbett and challenger Tom Wolf on abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion.

Click here find out where the candidates stand on these important issues.NRLC-Vote

Abortion rates have been dropping in Pennsylvania in the past four years, and abortion centers have been closing their doors. But there is still a lot of work to do.

Every 15 minutes, a baby dies in an abortion in Pennsylvania. Every 15 minutes, we are losing another precious human life in our state. Every 15 minutes, a woman is being subjected to an abortion, a tragedy that may stay with her for the rest of her life.

Babies and their moms deserve better than abortion. Pennsylvania needs leaders who are dedicated to supporting and protecting both baby and mom from this far too common tragedy.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 4 in Pennsylvania. If you aren’t registered to vote, you still have time to. Click here for details.