What Would Gov. Robert Casey Say About Campaign 2020?

Robert P. Casey Sr. By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I treasure the autographed copy of the book Fighting for Life, which has a place of prominence in our office library.

The book tells the moving story of the life of former Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, Sr., who called himself the “First of the New Democrats.”

Casey was pro-life–unapologetically so. He signed into law the 1989 Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, which provided for 24 hour waiting periods for abortion, informed consent prior to abortion, parental consent for a minor’s abortion, and a ban on sex selection abortions.

The law became the basis of the U.S. Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which ushered in a new era of legal protections for preborn children and their mothers.

Casey’s legacy? As a result of the Abortion Control Act, Pennsylvania’s abortion rate was cut in half. The law also became a model for the rest of the nation.

I cannot help thinking of the late Governor Casey when I peruse the stands of the Democratic Presidential candidates on the life issues. National Right to Life has produced a helpful handout on the candidates’ positions, and they show unbridled support for the nation’s current policy of abortion on demand.

This is despite a Marist poll earlier this year showing more Democrats identifying as pro-life.

I think to myself, “What would Governor Casey say about the Democratic Presidential candidates’ full embrace of the pro-abortion agenda?”

And then I turn to page 182 of his book, and I think I’ve found the answer.

Back in April of 1992, when Planned Parenthood v. Casey was argued before the Supreme Court, reporters asked Casey for comment on the case.

He answered with a question: “In this debate, who speaks for the child?”

The answer among this year’s crop of Democratic Presidential candidates?

No one.

Marking the Five-Year Anniversary of Chloe’s Law

Chloe Kondrich and Gov. Corbett By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

Pennsylvania celebrates an important milestone this week–the five-year anniversary of the signing of Chloe’s Law.

This landmark act, signed by pro-life Republican Governor Tom Corbett, ensures that the parents of preborn babies who are diagnosed with Down syndrome receive information and supportive resources to help them on their journey.

The law is named for Chloe Kondrich, a vivacious girl with Down syndrome. Her accomplishments run the gamut…from joining with her father Kurt to give the keynote address at the recent National Right to Life Convention to speaking at the United Nations (twice). She has also met with celebrated musicians, athletes, and public officials. Among her many fans are the President and Vice-President of the United States.

Chloe’s Law is as simple as it is remarkable–provide parents with concrete support, and they are far less likely to choose abortion. It is important to note that the legislation received nearly unanimous, bipartisan support in the state legislature.

Let’s hope that more states enact laws similar to the one that bear’s Chloe’s name. The legislation represents a positive approach to an alarming problem–the high incidence of abortion for babies with a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Statistics show that the vast majority of children in the womb who receive such a diagnosis are aborted. Kurt Kondrich sees it as the ultimate form of discrimination against people with disabilities.

Through greater education, understanding, and love, we can reverse this disturbing trend–and make America safe for children with Down syndrome.

Planned Parenthood Shakeup: It’s All About Abortion

Leana Wen 2 By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

The news sent shockwaves through the Twittersphere: after less than nine months on the job, the president of Planned Parenthood was being ousted.

Dr. Leana Wen tweeted on Tuesday afternoon:

I just learned that the Board ended my employment at a secret meeting. We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood. My statement to come shortly.

But what could those philosophical differences be? It appears that, even though she consistently claimed–falsely–that “abortion is health care,” Wen was not politically aggressive enough when it came to promoting abortion.

In a letter posted on Twitter, Wen said she came to Planned Parenthood to promote health care. But the new board’s leadership has made its priority doubling down on abortion advocacy.

This is what pro-lifers have known all along. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s abortion center income comes from abortion. Rather than promoting “choice,” the vast “non-profit” organization promotes abortion expansion.

Abby Johnson knows this first-hand. She’s the former Planned Parenthood director whose conversion to the pro-life cause after viewing an ultrasound-guided abortion formed the basis of the movie Unplanned.

With graciousness and love, Abby reached out to Wen on Twitter following news of Wen’s departure from Planned Parenthood:

Leana, I know exactly how Planned Parenthood works and know ALL about their secret meetings. If you ever want to talk about your experience (in complete confidence), I’m here. I will help in any way I can through your transition. 

The fact is, Abby and other pro-lifers stand ready to assist anyone who has been caught up in the tragic business of abortion. So many former abortion center workers are now ardently pro-life.

I can only hope that Leana Wen will come to see that Planned Parenthood is standing on the wrong side of history–and on the opposite side of women facing challenging pregnancies.

Abortion at Heart of Kavanaugh Controversy

Justice on Trial By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

It is all the more fascinating in the re-telling.

I am talking about the unprecedented drama that surrounded the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court

Justice on Trial: the Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court provides a brilliant analysis of the behind-the-scenes power struggle that accompanied the most contentious Supreme Court fight in modern history.

Authors Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino expertly demonstrate how a process that should be dignified and exemplary devolved into character assassination of a man who had sought to bring honor to the courts his entire professional life.

Hemingway and Severino recount this cautionary tale in vivid detail. Kavanaugh’s emotional pain during the confirmation hearings literally leaps off the page.

“Throughout my life, I’ve devoted huge efforts to encouraging and promoting the careers of women. I will put my record up against anyone’s male or female,” Kavanaugh said during his contentious hearing.

“I love coaching more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life, but thanks to what some of you on this side of the committee have unleashed, I may never be able to coach again.”

What pro-abortion Democrats had unleashed were a series of sensational, unsubstantiated allegations accusing the judge of sexual assault when he was a teenager. The most publicized of the claims was that of Christine Blasey Ford, who charged that Kavanaugh had attempted to rape her at a teenage house party. None of the people who Ford said had been present at the party could corroborate her claims.

Addressing Ford’s claims during a dramatic Capitol Hill hearing, Kavanaugh stated, “The other night (my wife) Ashley and my daughter Liza said their prayers, and little Liza—all of ten years old—said to Ashley, ‘We should pray for the woman.’ That’s a lot of wisdom from a ten-year-old. We mean no ill will.”

Hemingway and Severino identify abortion as being a key issue at the heart of the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court appointment. They point out that, as soon as Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered a swing vote on abortion, announced his retirement, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tweeted, “Abortion will be illegal in twenty states in 18 months.”

As much as pro-lifers wish the tragedy of legal abortion would end today, we realize we are in this struggle for the long haul. We do not know when the Supreme Court will right a profound wrong and restore legal protection for preborn children.

One thing we do know—the vitriol and fury unleashed against any Supreme Court nominee President Donald Trump would make coarsen our culture and wound our society.

As President Trump stated, “On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.

“What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process,” the President said.

And, one could add, fairness, decency, and due process are also all violated under the abortion regime created by the High Court.

Cable TV Commentator’s Arguments for Legal Abortion Melt Away

newborn babe arms outstretched By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

The arguments made by pro-abortion advocates can melt away quicker than a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream on a sweltering July day.

Take, for instance, the defense of legal abortion posed by cable television commentator Tomi Lahren.

In her book Never Play Dead, Lahren dismisses the pro-life point of view as a merely religious objection to the practice of abortion.

Speaking of those who would like to see the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Roe v. Wade, Lahren claims they are engaging in an enterprise that would be “unconstitutional” “because we don’t legislate morality. We don’t nominate people to that position (Supreme Court Justice) just to carry out our religion.”

But in truth, the life issues cannot be narrowly defined as being a question of religion. Atheists can be pro-life. The case against abortion can be made on many legitimate grounds: scientific, Constitutional, and legal.

It does not take a divinity degree to recognize the fact that life begins at conception, that the moment of fertilization is a life-giving act which merits legal protection for the unique individual created.

You do not have to belong to a place of worship to understand that a person’s heart starts beating 24 days after conception and brain waves can be detected 44 days post-conception.

It is an act of intellectual engagement, not religious fervor, to argue that our founding fathers saw the right to life as a pillar of a stable society.

This is not to say that religion cannot be a motivator in seeking justice—certainly it was for modern day heroes such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But it is simply wrong to claim that people who recognize the inherent rights of children in the womb are somehow forcing their religion on other people.

Lahren rails against putting justices on the High Court to “interpret your religion.” That is not the position of the mainstream pro-life movement. Pro-lifers advocate an interpretation of the Constitution which is based on what that sacred document actually says, rather than what pro-abortion zealots wish it said.

Reason and common sense are key planks of the pro-life platform. They were back before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, and they continue to be today. And that is why the pro-life case is so persuasive, generation after generation.

Supporting Both Mother and Child – The truth of the Pro-Life Mission

by Jessica Resuta

Our guest blogger is a junior journalism major at Franciscan University of Steubenville and a past winner of the PA Pro-Life Federation’s Oratory Contest.Baby girl

A recent New York Times article claims that the term “pro-life” is purely a marketing term and that “Whatever the anti-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about the mother.”

The author also says that “The anti-abortion cause didn’t promote itself as ‘pro-life’ until the more punitive-sounding ‘anti-abortion’ label failed.” What this article misses is that the term ”pro-life” means exactly what it says, supporting and cherishing all human life, and if anything is punitive it’s abortion. 

Abortion does not aid or help a woman feel safe because it is the intentional destruction of a human life that brings a woman pressure, heartbreak, regret, and a deadly quick-fix disguised as healthcare.  Pregnancy may be difficult but it is not a punishment. It is a normal, natural opportunity to give, love and respect life. Those who choose to love and sacrifice when it’s hard are those who do the most good in the world.  There are also others who tenderly care and are open to help with the difficulties that arise with an unexpected or crisis pregnancy. 

Being pro-life acknowledges the humanity and uniqueness of all life at every stage, and that includes protecting as precious both the unborn child and his/her mother.  The overused argument that pro-life only equals pro-birth is completely unfounded because it is those who support life who are actually giving a mother a choice, and not just a choice, but one that will help rather than hurt her.  

Many women choose abortion because they feel they have no choice. Abortion is portrayed as the only solution to an unplanned or difficult pregnancy, but telling women their primary option is to either pay a substantial amount of money or have the taxpayers pay to have their child killed is no way to make a woman or her child feel safe. 

These are not just words or ideals, there truly are other and better options for pregnant women, loving and helpful options.  In Pennsylvania alone, there are hundreds of pregnancy care centers all across the state, not to mention countless churches, families and pro-life communities who are willing to give a woman and her child the love and care they need at a critical time.  

The Pro-Life mission is one that treats all life with the dignity belonging to all humans, born and unborn.  Women need to know that there really are loving assistance and the life-giving options that they deserve. 

We are All Born Pro-Life

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Her spirited bounce down the path to our display got my attention.  Her wispy curls pulled into a ponytail and ample rosy cheeks melted my heart.  As she got closer to us and saw the treasure that awaited, her big brown eyes twinkled. I was completely enchanted.  She picked up the fetal model and her delight became palpable.

She first raised the baby in the air, marveling at it. She then imparted a gentle kiss. Creation toddler holding babyCreation toddler kissing baby

Cradling the 30-week fetus in her arms, she listened as her mother softly whispered that this is what mommies grow in their bellies, a beautiful precious human life.

She’s only three years old, but she instinctively knows a truth that many adults and our world at large have long forgotten. She knew this truth even before her mother spoke a word.  Life is precious. It is a gift to be celebrated and cherished. And protected.

She needed no prompting. Her affection was genuine and unlimited. Loving this baby came so naturally, even to a toddler.

She was the very last person with whom I interacted at Creation Music Fest, where we had shown the humanity of the preborn to thousands of people with our fetal model display, witnessing their fascination with life within the womb and their sadness at how disposable it has become.  Our table was steadily busy for three days, and we had many productive and informative exchanges with passersby.  This sweet little girl was the last to visit before we closed up. How perfectly profound, as she left me with a beautiful truth to take home and ponder.

We are all born pro-life.

Show a small child a fetal model or a picture of an ultrasound and ask him or her what it is.  Do the same with an older child.  They readily identify a baby, a living human being in its earliest form of development.

It is so clearly self-evident to those who have not had the world un-teach this to them.  It is so clearly self-evident because it is nature’s beautiful plan, and the most innocent among us honor what is natural.

Abortion is the most un-natural thing in the world. And it violates what all of us, especially children, know to be right, true, and good.

We are all born pro-life, but some allow themselves to be corrupted by a confused world, becoming defenders and promoters of abortion.  I think of this little girl and wonder how did these people get so very far away from a self-evident truth, one that is written on our very hearts?

Is it doubt, fear, desperation, misguided compassion, greed, rationalization, de-humanization or a combination of these that steal this basic truth from them?  I don’t know the answer.  What I do know is life begins at conception. Life is precious. Life is to be treated with dignity and protected from harm.

Even a 3 year old knows that. May she never allow the world to un-teach her that fundamental truth.

Encouraging a Dialogue for Life!

Stephanie Gray By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I remember a friend asking me a series of questions long ago. The question-and-answer session helped to cement my pro-life views and ultimately led me to advocacy for pregnant women, children, people with disabilities, and the frail elderly.

As pro-lifers, we need to ask questions of those who believe they hold a “pro-choice” position on abortion. I am not talking a “60 Minutes”-style inquisition. I am speaking about questions which gently lead to understanding and eventually the truth.

This technique is brilliantly on display in the book Love Unleashes Life by noted pro-life speaker Stephanie Gray. Gray has shared her intelligent, well-reasoned rationale for life with audiences around the world. Gray is a staunch advocate for asking a number of questions to ascertain why a person is accepting of abortion and helping that individual to realize the rightness of the pro-life position.

This technique strikes me as being especially important in these times. For instance, is a person with a “pro-choice” position really for abortion up to the moment of birth? Do they oppose any and all limits on abortion, or do they see circumstances in which abortion should be restricted? Once apprised of the milestones in the development of an unborn child, such as a heart beating as early as 24 days after conception, do they see the humanity of the child in the womb?

The pro-life movement thrives on human connection. We must be prepared to reach out–even to people who may be initially hostile to our message. The more we can learn about how they arrive at their viewpoint, the more we can hone our argumentation to get to the crux of the issue.

It is possible to speak civilly about abortion. People such as Stephanie Gray prove it everyday. Why not follow their impressive lead?

Micro-Preemie Babies Show the Importance of Defending Life

sleeping baby By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

She came into the world at the tender age of 26 weeks’ gestation–just two weeks past Pennsylvania’s late-term abortion limit.

At birth, she weighed a scarce pound-and-a-half–approximately the same weight as a block and a half of butter.

As a result, medical professionals whisked her into the neonatal intensive care unit, hoping that against all odds she would survive.

Twenty-two years later, she returned to the NICU to thank the nurses who had helped save her life. She also came to give confidence to parents whose precious babies are living in the NICU.

A local Pennsylvania television station chronicled the woman’s incredible story of survival. The feature came at a time when the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, has pledged to veto any and all limits on abortion.

It’s not hard to see how schizophrenic our society has become. On one hand, health care professionals are working round the clock to save infants who are born prematurely.

At the same time, Democratic Presidential candidates are defending legislation that would allow babies of the same gestation to be aborted.

This dichotomy cannot continue forever. At some point, our law will reflect the truth that every human life–no matter what her age or stage of development–deserves protection.

Modern technology has produced the miracles that allow babies to survive at ever earlier stages. It’s well past time for the law–and our politicians–to catch up with medical progress.

Mother Seeks Censure of Pro-Abortion Lawmaker

Ashley Garecht










By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

She had come seeking justice–not for herself, but for her daughters and their friend.

Ashley Garecht recently came to the state Capitol in Harrisburg, PA to do what she said was her job–advocating on behalf of her children.

You might not know Ashley’s name, but chances are you saw her face–trying to speak rationally and calmly to an out-of-control lawmaker in a video that went viral.

PA State Representative Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) recorded himself berating and harassing Ashley, her teenage girls, and their friend. The group had been quietly praying outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood facility known for its shoddy safety record.

Sims even offered a bounty to anyone who would identify the teenagers and reveal their home addresses. In a separate video, he used the same tactics to try to intimidate an older woman who was simply exercising her First Amendment rights by peacefully praying in front of the abortion center.

Sims has failed to personally apologize to Ashley, her daughters, their friend, and the unidentified older woman.

But Ashley–along with many people both in Pennsylvania and around the country–want to see Sims held accountable for his actions. They are supporting a resolution, sponsored by state Representative Jerry Knowles (R-Schuylkill, Berks, and Carbon Counties), which would formally censure Sims and take away his committee assignments.

At last county, House Resolution 387 had nearly 40 co-sponsors. But so far, House leadership has been reluctant to take up the cause–despite the nearly universal condemnation of Sims’ behavior.

And so Ashley made the rounds of the Capitol, meeting lawmakers in leadership, hoping to hold Sims to account. The odds might be stacked against her, but she is willing to try–for the sake of the young people that Sims badgered–and for all young people struggling to be heard above the din of a culture which tolerates, and at times even celebrates, abortion on demand.

Action Item: If you live in PA, please call and email your state Representative and urge him or her to support HR 387.