A Day of Hope at the Supreme Court

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

It was a day that had been decades in the making.

The presentation of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the pivotal case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization stirred my soul. Finally, I felt, the Supreme Court was listening to reason.

Sloganeering and catchy memes had no place at the High Court. Rather, Justices were compelled to listen to the many ways the 1973 decision known as Roe v. Wade had failed to settle the abortion debate.

At stake was more than a 15-week ban on abortion in Mississippi. For this is the case that could finally overturn Roe and restore the issue of abortion to the people in the individual states, where it belongs.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation was among the many groups that filed friend-of-the-court briefs. In our well-reasoned brief, we argued strongly that both pregnant mother and preborn child deserve protection and care, and that modern obstetrical practice demanded Roe’s demise.

The Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have proven to be an unpredictable lot. But for the first time in a long time I am hopeful that I will see the day of Roe’s end.

And that day cannot come soon enough.

Hyperbole and Half-Truths Keep Abortion Unsafe

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Planned Parenthood is sounding the siren, alerting supporters in an email to the grave threat they face.

“… as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the June Medical Services case, we’re faced with a terrifying possibility: that our rights could be gutted in a few short months.”

Hyperbole and half-truths.

This case is NOT about abortion “rights” or access. And it is not brought by women seeking abortions but by abortion centers seeking to maximize profits. Whether providers even have legal standing to file suit as a third party is itself questionable.

This IS a case about protecting the safety of women.

The abortion industry thrives on misinformation, doing everything it can to hoodwink supporters into believing that they truly care about women.

But they don’t.

If they did, they would provide medical care that meets standards required at any other out-patient surgical facility. They would employ qualified doctors who have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, so that, if ever needed, emergency care could be sought.  They would recognize that abortion complications do happen and that they can be deadly to a woman.

The reality is that the abortion industry sets their bar for women’s health much lower than the bar for their profit margin.  Consequently, vulnerable young women, who’ve paid hundreds of dollars to entrust themselves to what is often an itinerant abortionist with whom they have no prior relationship, put their health and lives at risk.

According to a Wall Street Journal editorial, five abortionists at June Medical Services did not have hospital admitting privileges. When the Louisiana legislature passed a law to remedy that situation, one abortionist retired, three failed to make a good-faith effort to obtain privileges, and one was discovered to have had no medical school training to perform abortions.

Upholding the duty to protects its citizens, the state of Louisiana said women deserve better.  Like 14 other states, their legislature raised the bar on the abortion industry, acting to protect women from substandard care by requiring admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

And now the abortion industry is challenging that common-sense regulation at the Supreme Court, while its largest provider claims, “our rights could be gutted in a few short months.”

What “rights”?  The right to an untrained doctor? Or one who can’t earn admitting privileges to a hospital due to incompetence?  Or is too apathetic to even try?  The right to delayed treatment of a perforated uterus or a fetal arm left behind?

What about the rights of young women who surrender their babies and bodies to the hands and tools of the abortionist? Is any abortion, whether unsafe, unsterile, and unregulated, better than an abortion that holds the provider to a reasonable level of accountability?

If the abortion industry is unwilling to enact basic safety guidelines that protect women, hasn’t the back alley just simply moved to the front office?

Yes, Planned Parenthood is sounding the siren, but it’s certainly not the one meant to rescue a wounded woman from a botched abortion. It’s the one meant to rescue them from any regulation that might diminish their profits.

Roe Still Must Be Overturned

down-syndrome-group-picture-baby-kidsBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

This week the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up two cases involving the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation.

The cases involved the states of Kansas and Louisiana, which chose to take Medicaid money away from the abortion giant, which has been involved in a range of controversies. Those controversies include everything from disregard for the sacred nature of baby body parts to charges of covering up the sexual abuse of minors.

Because the Supreme Court declined to take up the cases, lower court rulings barring states from taking Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood stand.

Naysayers are quick to use this ruling to claim defeat for the pro-life movement’s efforts to stop abortion. But the fact of the matter is that the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion, Roe v. Wade, can and must be overturned.

It is an inherently flawed decision. It claims a “right” which appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. The ruling came long before medical science was able to save “micropreemie” babies and 4D Ultrasound provided a window to the womb.

Case law needs to catch up with medicine. The courts need to recognize the vast body of knowledge which demonstrates the humanity of the preborn child. The judicial system should also listen to the cries of the many, many women nationwide who have been harmed by abortion.

For the sake of our children, for the well-being of women, and for the good of our nation, Roe must go.


Challenging Preconceptions About Roe

Supreme CourtBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I was disheartened recently while watching Fox News coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A news anchor cited a misleading poll purporting that more than 60 percent of Americans support Roe v. Wade, the tragic Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion on demand. The anchor was interviewing an editor with the Washington Examiner newspaper. When the editor tried to explain the false impression left by the poll, the anchor quickly shouted him down.

The fact is that most Americans do not know that Roe meant abortions for any reason during all nine months of pregnancy. They also do not realize that Roe led to the outrageous practice of partial-birth abortion, where a baby is partly delivered, then killed. They also do not recognize the fact that Roe gave rise to the massive tragedy in West Philadelphia, where abortionist Kermit Gosnell was ultimately found guilty of the murders of three full-term babies and the death of a female patient, Karnamaya Mongar.

A Fox News Sunday interview left me similarly disappointed. The head of the abortion lobbying group NARAL was interviewed, without counterpoint, about the Supreme Court. The NARAL spokeswoman claimed that most people are “pro-choice” because they believe in compassionate, healthy choice.

But abortion is not compassionate for the child who is killed. And how can it be a mark of compassion when you leave a woman to grieve a baby who has been unnecessarily lost to abortion?

“Choice” is unhealthy when it results in the death of a baby in the womb. It is also quite unhealthy for those mothers who turn to alcohol and drugs to numb their pain.

The compassionate, healthy choice in the abortion equation is the choice for life. If only mainstream news anchors would recognize that fundamental truth, we would be well on our way to building a culture of life. Until that day comes, we must work through polite persuasion to convince the news media of the rightness of the pro-life cause.


The “Dred Scott argument” for Abortion

mother_and_child     Anyone who has been part of the pro-life movement for any length of time knows that there are certain arguments that the abortion industry and its allies make reflexively.  Perhaps they believe that if they continue repeating these poor arguments, their case will magically improve.

One such argument is the idea that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” and pesky pro-lifers should stop trying to rehash an issue that the Supreme Court has already ruled on.  I like to call this the “Dred Scott argument”, which is why I thought it would be an interesting one to explore during Black history month.

In Dred Scott v. Sanford, Scott was an enslaved Black man who sued for his freedom.  Sadly, in what many constitutional scholars now consider one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever, the Justices ruled that neither Scott, nor anyone else of African heritage, could claim US citizenship, thus allowing the tragic practice of slavery to continue.

What does this have to do with Roe v. Wade and abortion in America?  As in the Dred Scott case, a terrible mistake was made in the Roe v. Wade decision.  In Dred Scott, the Justices determined one person was not as important as others simply because of his race…in Roe v. Wade, five Supreme Court Justices found a “right to privacy” in the U.S. Constitution that had never been there before, and used that newfound “right” to justify the killing of almost 60 million people and counting.

Many people did not agree with the Dred Scott decision. Should they have all just given up and gone home to allow the injustice of slavery to continue?  Of course not.  They doubled down on their efforts to have everyone, no matter what race or ethnicity, recognized as equal…and eventually succeeded in getting the 13th amendment passed and slavery abolished.  The same principle applies to pro-life advocates.  Just because the Constitution was misinterpreted doesn’t mean we pack our bags and go home…it means we continue to fight to end the injustice of abortion so that one day Roe v. Wade will fall into the ash heaps of history—where it truly belongs.

Clearing Up Some Confusion on the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Case

I’ve noticed a lot of confusion this week in reports about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the HHS Mandate. Here are two clarification points for you as you’re reading about the case:

Supreme CourtFirst — Many media outlets are saying the two companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, oppose providing birth control coverage to their employees. This is not true. The family owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga opposed only four of the 20 types of contraception that the government requires employers to provide. The families argued that the four types aren’t just contraception; they can be abortion-causing, life-destroying. Abortion is what the families object to paying for.

Second — Some pro-abortion groups claim that the four drugs/devices in question don’t cause abortions because they don’t interrupt a pregnancy. However, these groups define pregnancy as beginning when the embryo implants in his/her mother’s uterus. They fail to acknowledge that a new human life begins before that point. According to biologists, a new human being forms at the moment of fertilization. The four drugs/devices may sometimes work by preventing an embryo from implanting in the womb, thus killing him or her. That’s why the families who own Hobby Lobby and Conestoga are opposed. They do not want to be forced to pay for the destruction of innocent human lives.

As you read news about the case, please keep these facts in mind.

Supreme Court Upholds Religious Freedom for Business Owners

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the overreaching Obamacare HHS Mandate on Monday.

“This is a victory for religious freedom,” said Michael Ciccocioppo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life FederatioGaveln. “Government cannot force business owners to pay for abortion-causing drugs for employees.”

“This decision renounces the Obama administration’s attempts to overreach the basic provisions of Obamacare by imposing unlawful mandates on Americans,” Ciccocioppo said.

The high court ruled in favor of family-owned businesses Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Lancaster-based Mennonite company. Both objected to paying for abortion-causing drugs for their employees.

Click here to read the full Supreme Court decision.

Buffer Zones Hurt Women Seeking Alternatives to Abortion

The U.S. Supreme Court is getting a lot of attention as religious groups and business owners of faith battle the Affordable Care Act HHS Mandate.

But the high court is about to hear another important case related to abortion and sidewalk counseling.

40 days for lifeIt involves buffer zones around abortion centers. The justices will look at a Massachusetts law that created a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion centers, supposedly to “protect” women from pro-lifers who are trying to offer them a better option.

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby recently pointed out a serious flaw with these buffer zones — they not only restrict pro-lifer’s free speech but they also “buffer out” women’s right to hear the information that pro-lifers offer.

Jacoby writes:

The (Massachusetts) law, signed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007, makes no allowance for peaceful or quiet protest. It doesn’t permit an individual to simply stand in silence, holding a sign or offering pamphlets. It forbids approaching even a willing listener who would like to hear — who might be desperate to hear — about a realistic alternative to abortion. The 35-foot boundary is marked with paint, and anyone who steps over it can be sentenced to as much as 2½ years in prison.

For years, the abortion industry has been pushing for buffer zones to help them hide the facts about abortion. They don’t want women to know the truth that abortion kills a baby and harms many women physically and emotionally. They don’t want women to know that help is available for them and their babies.

More than ever before, pregnant and new moms have access to counseling, temporary shelter, diapers, maternity clothes, and much more. But abortion providers are trying to prevent women from knowing that it’s there.

Euthanasia Lobby Exploits Pennsylvania Case

A Pennsylvania case has caught the eye of the euthanasia lobby.
Compassion and Choices, whose roots can be traced back to the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society, is representing a nurse from Philadelphia who is being charged with assisting in the suicide of her 93-year-old father.

According to a Philly.com report, Joe Yourshaw was in hospice care when he asked his visiting daughter Barbara Mancini, who is a nurse, for his bottle of morphine.Gavel
A hospice nurse at the home told police that “her client had taken an overdose of morphine with the intent to commit suicide.” The hospice nurse said Mancini gave her father the morphine “at his request so that he could end his own suffering.” The hospice nurse called 911, and Yourshaw was revived at the hospital. He died four days later.

Mancini says she gave her father the medicine to help ease his pain, not to help him die.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office was asked to prosecute the case because of a conflict of interest at the local court level.

“If a person beyond a reasonable doubt committed assisted suicide, justice needs to be served and the law needs to be adjudicated,” Michael Ciccocioppo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told ABC News. “But in a case like this one, which is so murky, unless there is real evidence to corroborate the charge, it’s hard to see how this would go all the way through.”

While the details of this specific case are not clear, the intentions of the euthanasia lobby are. The group is urging state Attorney General Kane to drop the case, by citing her decision not to defend a Pennsylvania law upholding traditional marriage. If the attorney general refused to defend that law, the euthanasia lobby argues she could refuse to defend the Pennsylvania ban on assisted suicide, too.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously in Washington v. Glucksberg and Vacco v. Quill that states have an interest in protecting their citizens from suicide, and they may ban assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Wesley Smith, an attorney and leading advocate against euthanasia, wrote about how the euthanasia lobby is twisting the court rulings to push their agenda here in the Commonwealth.

“Over 20 years of anti-euthanasia advocacy, I have come to realize that many activists on the other side care little for the truth, or indeed, facts. They just want to win!” Smith wrote on LifeNews.com.

The euthanasia lobby claims pain as a reason for legalizing assisted suicide, but studies show pain is not a leading factor in suicides.

In Oregon, where physician-assisted suicide is legal, studies show that pain is one of the last reasons people give for committing suicide. Depression – a treatable condition – “is the only factor that significantly predicts the request for death,” according to Oregon Right to Life.

Pennsylvania’s ban on assisted suicide protects vulnerable people from being pressured into committing suicide.

“One thing is for sure,” Ciccocioppo said. “People in pain have a right to relieve their pain, and we don’t have a problem with that. But the same Supreme Court decision … also upheld assisted suicide laws and the rights of the states to say it’s not legal. We stand by that to the end.”

Pro-abortion Side Makes False, Misleading Statements during Political Debates

It’s been hard to miss the abortion issue in the news lately. Pro-life protections have been introduced and, in some cases, passed in Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, and, yes!, here in Pennsylvania, too.

All the media attention to these new bills and laws has people discussing abortion Gavelagain. Talk is a good thing, but misleading and incorrect information is not.

Here are some misleading or incorrect things I’ve read recently online in reference to the debates:

A commenter on PolicyMic.com wrote: “None of this will stop until a case makes its way back to SCOTUS. Given the current court the most likely outcome will be to reaffirm Roe v. Wade leaving it to the states.”

Our country’s education about this infamous Supreme Court decision is poor at best. Polls show it, and this comment demonstrates it.

Roe v. Wade actually did the opposite of what the commenter says. It took the abortion decision out of states’ hands by striking down laws – both those protecting life and those allowing abortion – in all 50 states. The ruling of seven men overrode the states’ interests. In their overarching power, the judges set a new rule in place: abortion for any reason up to birth.

Thankfully, since Roe, states have been fighting to reclaim their roles in protecting life by passing legislation to help preborn babies and their mothers.

The “brochoice” campaign attempts to recruit more young men to the pro-abortion side. A headline reads, “Bro-Choice: How #HB2 Hurts Texas Men Who Like Women.”

One of the key points in the article claims that men will lose their freedom to make decisions about their family if abortion becomes more regulated. The truth is that men lost most of that freedom in Roe v. Wade. The decision denied the man’s freedom to help make choices about his preborn child by saying that abortion should be a private decision between a woman and her doctor.

Just recently I heard from a man who was desperately seeking help because his girlfriend wanted to abort their baby and he didn’t. He wanted to know what he could do to protect his child. My heart broke when I had to tell him that legally he can’t do much of anything to protect his child’s life before he/she is born.

(A side note: Our laws do make it illegal for a man (or anyone else) to force a woman to kill their child in the womb.)

“Women’s health” – Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates are using fear-mongering tactics by making women’s health synonymous with abortion. They claim that pro-lifers are trying to sabotage “women’s health” when what they really mean is end abortion.

Columnist Jonah Goldberg pointed this out in a recent column: “But it is bizarre to suggest that women’s health and abortion rights are interchangeable. The biggest killer of women is heart disease, followed by cancer, then stroke. … And yet President Barack Obama — and nearly every other abortion-rights supporter — blithely accuses Republicans of wanting to make women’s ‘health care choices’ for them.”

A procedure that kills one human life and often damages another is not health care. And, as Goldberg says, it’s disrespectful – sexist, even – to narrow the term “women’s health care” to mean sexual reproduction “as if women were nothing more than breeders.” Women are so much more than that.

We have truth on our side. Pro-lifers don’t have to resort to manipulative word-play to sway people, but we do need to equip ourselves with the truth about Roe v. Wade, abortion, and life in the womb.