Safety Concerns at Abortion Centers Rise During Pandemic

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By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

Safety concerns at Pennsylvania abortion centers are rising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A check of the Department of Health website shows no abortion facility inspection reports have been posted since Coronavirus swept through Pennsylvania.

Indeed, the last report posted is dated February 12th and shows the Philadelphia Women’s Center failing its inspection. At the time, health officials discovered that the troubled abortion center had not obtained parental consent for some chemical abortions for minor girls.

The facility also had no evidence of a patient safety committee nor an infection control committee. The lack of infection control oversight is especially egregious, considering the Coronavirus crisis that subsequently hit the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania’s Governor had the opportunity to stop abortions during the virus outbreak. In fact, one of the Wolf Administration’s orders during the pandemic suspended elective surgeries statewide.

But Governor Tom Wolf, an outspoken backer of Planned Parenthood, refused to enforce the order on abortion facilities, claiming abortion to be an “essential service.” Despite the entreaties of legislators in both the Pennsylvania House and Senate, the Governor never backed off his radical stand.

The apparent lack of oversight of abortion facilities during the pandemic is worrisome. After all, Pennsylvania gained national notoriety after the discovery of the brutal crimes of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell is now serving a life sentence in prison after being convicted of the murders of three newborn babies. The West Philadelphia abortionist was also convicted of causing the death of a female immigrant patient, Karnamaya Mongar.

The health and safety of how many women have been comprised at PA abortion centers during the pandemic? We may never know for sure. But what is apparent is that the Wolf Administration is not serious about abortion center regulation–especially in these troubling times.

Pro-Life Gains Made During the Trump Administration

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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.”

 

 

 

Fighting for Life–During a Pandemic

Child pensive By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

As the catastrophic Coronavirus pandemic swept through Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood shifted its abortion operation into high gear.

A number of state lawmakers in Pennsylvania became incensed that Planned Parenthood continued to perform abortions in the Commonwealth in the midst of the campaign to stop the spread of the potent virus.

They called on Governor Tom Wolf to enforce his own order, which allowed ambulatory health care services to continue, but banned elective surgical procedures during the pandemic.

Fifty-five members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives signed a letter, demanding that the Governor put a stop to abortions during the viral outbreak.

They were especially outraged that Planned Parenthood was hoarding masks and other medical goods at a time when such supplies were so desperately needed by doctors and nurses trying to save COVID-19 patients.

State Senators also sent a letter to the Governor, calling on him to ensure that Planned Parenthood Keystone came into immediate compliance with the elective surgery ban.

In addition, in an overwhelming showing of solidarity, people throughout the Commonwealth signed our petition to Governor Wolf, demanding a halt to abortions at this time.

But Planned Parenthood Keystone went as far as possible in the opposite direction: it became a 100 percent abortion operation. It announced on its website that its locations were open only to do abortions.

Governors throughout the nation ordered that elective abortions cease as medical professionals scrambled to deal with the fallout from the Coronavirus. But Governor Wolf—a former Planned Parenthood clinic escort—continued to defend abortions as “essential services.”

Abortion centers in Pennsylvania are regulated as ambulatory surgical facilities under a 2011 law. The statute resulted from the tragic Kermit Gosnell case. The West Philadelphia abortionist Gosnell was convicted of murdering three newborn babies and of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of patient Karnamaya Mongar. As a result of that trailblazing law, as many as nine abortion facilities have shut their doors because they could not or would not meet basic health and safety standards.

The pandemic also produced a panic about medical rationing, a fear that hospitals would issue mandatory do-not-resuscitate orders to patients without their express permission. Pro-life advocates led the way in lobbying for the prevention of this lethal practice. The intense efforts paid off, with the federal government ensuring that Coronavirus patients would not be euthanized.

During this incredibly difficult time, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation has been diligently working to protect the most vulnerable—from the baby nestled in her mother’s womb to the frail elderly. We have been your voice on the airwaves and in cyberspace, laboring to ensure that the right to life is not compromised.

Miracles can happen—even in the midst of a pandemic. It is through your unfailing commitment that such incredible breakthroughs can occur. We are striving to save not only this generation—but the many generations to come…generations that can be safeguarded from all manner of social ills through your amazing generosity.

 

The Virtual Mother’s Day

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By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

For many during this year of the pandemic, Mother’s Day will be filled with virtual visits.

Forced to delete travel from the day’s to-do list because of Coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders, adult children will be connecting with their mothers through FaceTime, Skype, and other video conferencing platforms. Others will resort to the old-fashioned phone to spend some quality time with their mothers and grandmothers.

Between the cards and the cakes, the gift deliveries and the garden walks, let us remember the incredible treasure mothers represent in our lives.

When we were just months old, they held us through the night, when only their touch could console us. When we were children, they might have been our primary party-planners, making sure everything was just right for our birthdays.

As we grew older, they were witnesses to our lives, present for everything from play performances to proms, from graduation ceremonies to wedding vows.

We owe them so much–and, in a post-Roe world, children can credit their mothers with making the choice for life.

As a caller said to me this week, “Remember, if your mother had had an abortion, you wouldn’t be here.”

And so I would like to offer a round of applause to all mothers, whether your children came to you through birth or through the heart by adoption. You are the miracle-makers in our midst, and we all owe you a debt of gratitude.

Next year, I hope we can all deliver our thanks in person!

Wolf Veto Harmful to Health

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By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) is receiving national attention for his refusal to allow an expansion of telemedicine in the Commonwealth in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The reason? The Chief Executive—a former clinic escort for Planned Parenthood—vetoed a popular telemedicine bill because it would have banned the telemedicine distribution of dangerous drugs, such as the abortion pill RU-486.

Pennsylvania has been considered one of the “hot spots” for Coronavirus in the country. As a result, there has been a tremendous push to increase the availability of telemedicine, especially in under-served rural areas.

The telemedicine bill, known as Senate Bill 857, passed the Senate and landed in the PA House of Representatives. There, House members inserted an important amendment which would have barred telemedicine services not approved under what’s known as the Food and Drug Administration’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). RU-486 has not been permitted under the REMS standard.

Responding to the public outcry over his veto, the Governor said, “As amended, this bill interferes with women’s health care and the crucial decision-making between patients and their physicians.”

But the truth is, the amendment would have safeguarded women’s health and safety by ensuring that dangerous medication was not dispensed without a physician physically present. RU-486 has a host of harmful side-effects, everything from excessive bleeding to vomiting, nausea, even death.

Two years ago, the abortion behemoth Planned Parenthood made public its plans to spend a whopping $1.5 million to re-elect Wolf, whose radical pro-abortion stance is considered at odds with Pennsylvania’s mainstream. He has routinely vetoed pro-life legislation, including a ban on brutal dismemberment abortions and a bill which would have banned the abortion of preborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome.

With his latest veto of the telemedicine bill, Wolf has cemented his reputation as an unapologetic cheerleader for the pro-abortion cause.

Don’t Miss This Pro-Life Production!

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By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I recall when I first saw the movie, “Gosnell.” I cried a flood of tears as I saw the bags carrying the remains of babies who had died in abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia House of Horrors.

When I viewed the movie “Unplanned,” my heart ached for the protagonist, Abby Johnson, when she witnessed a preborn baby dying before her eyes as she watched an ultrasound-guided abortion.

In both cases, the movies seared my conscience, and motivated me to redouble my efforts to stop the tragedy of abortion.

As a result, I am eagerly awaiting “Viable,” the play being streamed at watchsalemmedia.com starting on Mother’s Day. Viable is a story of redemption and forgiveness following one woman’s 30-year-old choice. It is a powerful tale of love and healing–and a marvelous gift to present to the mother in your life.

Please join me in viewing Viable.  Together, we just may be inspired to approach the issue of abortion prevention in a whole new, exciting way.

 

Fighting Assisted Suicide = Giving Hope

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By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

When my father died, the emotional pain experienced by my mother, sister, and myself felt overwhelming. He was the rock of our family, our protector, and the world felt a little less safe without him in it.

Yet, we were consoled by the fact that medical personnel had done everything they could to save his life. The best medical equipment gave him every opportunity to rebound. But sadly, he just could not recover.

I think of my father when discussions turn to assisted suicide–or, more appropriately referred to as doctor-prescribed suicide. Proponents argue that it is the solution to what ails many in our society–the feeling of a loss of control, the fear of intractable pain.

And yet, doctor-prescribed suicide leads to a host of problems. The vulnerable and the mentally ill are especially susceptible.

Consider this statement from Dr. Charles Bentz: “Instead of helping my patient, (a) once-trusted colleague decided my patient was ‘better off dead’ and became an accomplice in his suicide.

“This is the real tragedy of assisted suicide in Oregon. Instead of providing excellent care, my patient’s life was cut short by a physician who did not address the issues underlying his suicidality.”

Research indicates that as many as 90 percent of suicides in this country are linked to  mental illness, most notably depression. Yet in 2015, a paltry 5 out of 132 assisted suicide victims had obtained psychiatric counseling.

It is also important to note that, when individuals choose assisted suicide, pain, or even the fear of pain, ranks at the bottom of the list of reasons for their decision. Rather, the top reason listed is losing autonomy, or independence.

Fighting assisted suicide equals giving hope. We must redouble our efforts to attend to patients’ physical and psychological needs, so that doctor-prescribed suicide is not only unappealing, but also unthinkable.

Questions I Wish Journalists Would Ask About the Life Issues

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By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

When I worked for the mainstream media, I noticed a double standard when it came to covering the core life issues.

Planned Parenthood was considered to be the irrefutable expert in all matters related to abortion. Their assertions were seldom questioned; their pronouncements were accepted uncritically.

Pro-life advocates, on the other hand, were viewed with high skepticism. Anything they said was assumed to come from a place of religious faith and, therefore, suspect. Grilling of pro-lifers was encouraged and, in fact, expected–grilling of abortion advocates frowned upon.

Now, as a pro-life advocate, I find I wish there were questions that the news media would pose to spokespeople for the abortion industry and their allies. The answers to these questions would make for more interesting, more informative articles and broadcast news stories.

I wish reporters would ask the simple question: What is abortion? And not be willing to accept a ridiculous answer such as “the right to choose.”

It would also be helpful if reporters would ask Planned Parenthood why their abortion totals keep rising–even as overall abortion numbers are declining nationwide.

I think it would be beneficial if the media asked the abortion industry what specific help it provided to pregnant women who chose to keep their babies. In addition, inquiring minds want to know what abortion facilities are doing to facilitate adoptions.

I wish reporters would ask what abortion businesses are doing to combat domestic violence–since research shows as many as 60 percent of abortions are coerced.

I would like a reporter to ask an abortionist to describe, in detail, the process of abortion and its aftermath–and not accept euphemisms as valid responses.

A free press is a time-honored way to preserve democracy. For far too long, the free press has given a free pass to the abortion industry. Let’s challenge the news media to take on a watchdog mentality when it comes to abortion. After all, lives are at stake.

Fortresses of Courage in the Wilderness of Mourning

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By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

As I write these words, I know of two women who are accompanying loved ones on their final journeys. One is a wife, tending to her dying husband. The other is a daughter, spending the remaining precious moments with her ailing father.

At such times, the crush of emotions can be overwhelming. The torrent of sadness pouring over one’s soul. The deep longing for opportunities missed. The chilling realization that goodbye will come all too soon.

These women are fortresses of courage in the face of death. They deal with its stinging reality everyday, yet they manage to share smiles with friends and co-workers who desperately wish they could relieve them of their current pain.

Yet, at such times, there is also a special grace that shines through the wilderness of mourning. It is the realization of the inherent, unmistakable value of life–that life, in all its complexity, is worth living.There can be gratitude for the celebrations in days past…thankfulness for the memories shared.

These two women are witnesses to their loved ones’ lives. They are the cheering section, even in those final, difficult moments when eternity beckons. They are the caregivers who give their beloved the wings to fly back home to God.

While it is painfully hard to serve as a bystander in such circumstances, it is also ennobling. For in living life to the fullest, these unrepeatable human beings are teaching us all how to live. And they are sharing the lesson with us that each life is to be treasured and protected until the point of natural death.

 

 

Wolf Veto: A Sad Day for PA Women

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HARRISBURG, Pa. –Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has ushered in a policy that will do grave harm to women, as a result of his veto of an important telemedicine bill.

The measure, known as Senate Bill 857, would have banned the telemedicine distribution of dangerous drugs, such as the abortion pill RU-486.

“The women of Pennsylvania deserve to be protected from the harm that can be caused by tele-abortions,” said Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life.

This veto sends the disturbing message that women’s health will be compromised in order to placate the abortion industry,” Gallagher added.

RU-486 can cause a number of complications, including excessive bleeding, vomiting, and nausea. Without the restrictions contained in Senate Bill 857, women will be forced to deal with these possible dangerous side-effects on their own, without a physician physically present.

Senate Bill 857 passed the Senate, then passed the House with the insertion of a key amendment halting the dispensing of dangerous drugs by telemedicine. The Senate concurred with the amendment, sending the legislation to the Governor for his review.

“Once again, Governor Wolf has sided with the abortion industry over the interests of the women of Pennsylvania. The veto is appalling and demonstrates how out of touch the Wolf Administration is when it comes to medical care for women,” Gallagher said.