Senator Toomey’s Record on the Life Issues

Senator Pat ToomeyBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director  gallagher@paprolife.org

Now that we are within 100 days of the November 8th general election, people are starting to pay more attention to the nation’s political campaigns. A key question on the minds of those who view sanctity of life as the most important issue is how incumbent legislators have voted on both pro-life and pro-abortion legislation.

Thankfully, National Right to Life makes it easy for us. You can just go to www.nrlc.org, click on the Legislation tab, then on U.S. Senate Scorecard (2015-2016). There, you can view a comprehensive list of relevant legislation, along with the votes cast by each state’s U.S. Senators.

The NRLC scorecard for the 114th Congress, combined sessions, shows that Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey voted in favor of a ban on late-term abortions—a ban which would protect unborn children and their mothers from the harm of abortion once the preborn baby is 20 weeks old. Senator Toomey also opposed the Murray Amendment, designed to provide one billion dollars to abortion operations, including Planned Parenthood. He also opposed the Collins Amendment to preserve federal funding of Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s largest abortion operation.

Senator Toomey supported passage of a pro-life reconciliation bill to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal anti-life provisions of Obamacare. In short, Senator Toomey scored a 100 percent pro-life voting record on the National Right to Life scorecard.

With high-tech tools such as this scorecard, voters can make informed decisions about candidates running for re-election to Congress. To view a complete comparison on Senator Toomey and his opponent Katie McGinty regarding the life issues, please click here.

Olympic Stories of Choosing Life

“You always dream of going to the Olympics and winning gold. I’ve learned over the years that there are lots of gold medals, but certain stories stick out and make a difference.” –Two-time Olympian and gold medalist Kerri Strug.

I love the Olympics.  It doesn’t matter if it is track and field, swimming, gymnastics, or any other Olympic event.  I love the patriotism shown by the athletes. I love the sheer strength of will on display.  What I love the most though are the stories that come to light of the personal challenges the athletes have to overcome.

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One such life-affirming story is that of Simone Biles who is often referred to as the most decorated gold medalist in world championship gymnastic history.  However, her story is even more impressive because of how it began. Biles was born into a fatherless home and to an “unfit” drug-addicted mother…the ideal target for Planned Parenthood. Thankfully, Biles did not become an abortion statistic, instead eventually going into foster care, and then ultimately being adopted. Biles’ new parents introduced her to gymnastics and now her story is just one example of a person who has made history because someone (in this case both her birth mother and her adoptive parents) chose life.

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Another powerful story is the witness of Olympian volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings.  In an interview with NBC, the three-time Olympic gold medalist (and we hope soon to be four time winner) compared competing in the Olympics to having children, saying:

“When you go through something that’s so momentous, and it’s either really hard or really inspiring, you kind of forget the details, and you just remember the feeling that you’re left with. Childbirth obviously leaves you with the best gift ever, and the Olympic experience has as well. But you forget the little things. And now that I’m here, it’s like, ‘Oh, my gosh. I forget how special this is.’ I literally get goose bumps 20 million times a day, because you see someone or something, and you’re inspired.”

Abortion advocates like to argue that abortion has to be necessary for women to continue their careers. After all, the argument goes, you can’t expect a woman to be able to have a successful career while raising children.  Jennings, with her 3 gold medals, is living proof that a woman can be successful in her career and raise children at the same time.

The Olympics are just getting started, so there will undoubtedly be more stories like Simone Biles’ and Kerri Walsh Jennings’ that stick out and remind us that there is always a reason to choose life.

Avoiding Another American Tragedy: Lessons from 3801 Lancaster

Kermit Gosnell

Kermit Gosnell

I recently watched the movie “3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy” about the house of horrors that was Kermit Gosnell’s abortion center.  There were a number of striking elements to the film (enough to fill several more blogs, so stay tuned). What struck me the most, however, was how much of his horror could have been prevented.

 

The fact of the matter is, there was plenty of evidence that Mr. Gosnell was not just committing horrible acts of infanticide, but also that he was a terrible doctor.  Going back as far as 1972 Gosnell participated in what is known as “The Mother’s Day Massacre,” when 15 women were bused from Chicago to Philadelphia where Gosnell performed abortions on them using an experimental device called a “super coil” without their knowledge.  Sadly, 9 of the 15 women suffered serious complications (including one who had to have a hysterectomy). Yet it was another 37 years before Gosnell was put out of business (and only then because he was caught selling drugs illegally).  Here are some of the signs during those 37 years that something wasn’t right:

–Reports from a former employee of Gosnell that he had unlicensed workers giving anesthesia, that he was using unsterilized equipment from one patient to another, that his facility was filthy, and more.

–Complaints from another doctor in the area (who ironically went on to become the head of the city’s health department) who referred several patients to Mr. Gosnell who all came back with the same venereal disease…one they didn’t have before going to see Gosnell.

–The death of a 14-year-old girl at the hands of Gosnell in 2002, and the subsequent lawsuit which the insurance company settled for 1 million dollars.

–One city employee did the right thing, and when she discovered Gosnell was scamming the citywide vaccination program, reported him and even filed a report identifying some of his most egregious transgressions. Sadly, her report went into a black hole.

–Only a few weeks after the employee filed her report, Gosnell’s sloppy practice killed female patient Kamamaya Mongar in 2009.

–Ironically, shortly after Mongar’s death, Gosnell applied to join the National Abortion Federation.  However the NAF denied Gosnell’s facility membership citing records that weren’t being kept properly, risks not being fully explained to patients, patients being left unmonitored, anesthesia being misused, and other violations. In fact, the NAF evaluator called it the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected (although she never reported any of the violations to the proper authorities).

Let me be clear. Gosnell is not the only one with blood on his hands. Certainly you can find fault with his staff who participated in his misconduct.  Furthermore, you can look at the regulators at the city department of health, who were in Gosnell’s facility regularly collecting blood samples for testing and somehow magically didn’t notice anything amiss…or the PA Department of Health and the Department of State, both of which closed multiple complaints throughout the year against Gosnell and his facility after very little investigation and no further action.

The real question is, with the damage so broad, and so many to blame, what is being done to make sure it doesn’t happen again?  In 2011 Pennsylvania passed common sense legislation which requires abortion centers to meet certain basic conditions of cleanliness and allows for random, unannounced inspections from the Department of Health.

Winston Churchill famously said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  Pennsylvania learned some difficult lessons from the Gosnell tragedy—but we must remain ever vigilant to ensure that would-be Gosnells do not set up shop in our Commonwealth again.

PRESS RELEASE: Donald Trump Would Appoint Justices Like Scalia

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        

CONTACT:  MARIA GALLAGHER,

PENNSYLVANIA PRO-LIFE FEDERATION

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HARRISBURG, PARepublican Presidential candidate Donald Trump Monday renewed his call for U.S. Supreme Court Justices who will follow the Constitution rather than make laws from the bench.

During a rally which attracted thousands of people to Cumberland Valley High School outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Trump said that as President he would appoint Justices similar in philosophy to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. In sharp contrast, Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has pledged a pro-abortion litmus test for Supreme Court Justices.

“Donald Trump understands the havoc an activist bench has wreaked on our beloved nation,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative and political action committee director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, which represents more than 100,000 citizens throughout  the Commonwealth.

“Hillary Clinton will not appoint strict constructionists to the High Court. Rather, she is committed to naming Justices who will not only uphold the tragic 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade, but would expand it,” Gallagher added.  

 According to figures from the abortion industry itself, Roe has led to the deaths of more than 58 million unborn children in the U.S. It has also scarred countless numbers of women, who must live everyday with the grief of losing a child to abortion.

 The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation PAC has unanimously endorsed Trump for President. Trump supports a ban on brutal late-term abortions. In sharp contrast, Clinton fought against the popular federal ban on Partial-Birth Abortion, which outlawed a gruesome practice in which a baby is partly delivered, then killed.

Can You be “Personally Pro-Life” and Not Act Like It?

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“He’s been not only a solid vote, but really, an ally”.—Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood on the Rachel Maddow show June 26th.

“He voted against dangerous abortion bans, he has fought against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and he voted to strengthen clinic security by establishing a federal fund for it.”—Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America in a press release July 22nd.

Despite these ringing endorsements from some of the most radical pro-abortion advocates out there, the Democrat nominee for Vice President, Senator Tim Kaine, claims to be personally pro-life. He tries to say he’s personally pro-life, but that politicians should not make decisions for women about their so-called reproductive health care.

Let’s be clear…there are many people out there who have a similar position, mainly because they haven’t taken the time to study the issue.  These people simply need to be educated, and once they understand that an abortion ends one life and permanently scars another, their position changes.

What’s truly disturbing is someone, like Senator Kaine, who hides behind his Catholic faith to say he’s personally pro-life, but has a 100% voting record from Planned Parenthood (which means in the 14 votes that matter to Planned Parenthood he’s voted with them 14 times).  By joining the Clinton ticket, Senator Kaine has even taken a position that is less pro-life than the 56% of Democrats who do not think taxpayers should be funding abortions.

The bottom line is, if you vote like you are pro-abortion, if you are praised by others as pro-abortion, you are probably not as pro-life as you pretend to be.

A Review of Pro-Life Movie “Hush”

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“Should we not be entitled to all the information, regardless of whether we want kids or not, regardless of whether or not that information is at odds with cultural norm?”

That is the question that is central to the documentary “Hush.”  This documentary looks at the truth about the physical and psychological damage abortion causes.  It highlights the misinformation told by abortion center workers and addresses how the medical community is complicit in hiding the truth.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film is the journey writer-director and narrator Punam Kumar Gill takes as she explores these questions.  Punam starts the film identifying herself as a feminist, and admits she started this film with a pro-abortion viewpoint that informed consent laws are meant to scare women into not having an abortion.  As she dug deeper into the issue, she found more and more evidence of the medical community suppressing studies that showed a linkage between breast cancer and abortion, hiding research that shows a correlation between surgical abortions and pre-term births, and attempting to minimize the stories of women who have had serious psychological problems after an abortion.

Punam’s journey became more personal when, while doing her research, she tragically lost her first child to a miscarriage at 32 weeks. As she states, “When it’s your life at stake, it’s amazing how the information suddenly means something.”  By the end of the movie, Punam’s position has changed, and while she still identifies as “pro-choice,” she concedes that women deserve to have all the answers, and not a bunch of lies, when making important decisions that will impact their long-term health.

The film can be purchased through the website http://hushfilm.com/.  It is a great resource for pro-lifers to make sure they have all the information they need…which is the point of the informed consent laws to begin with!

Choose Life…and Hope

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“No matter how dark it is, all you need is a little ray of hope to overcome it.”

This quote by Indian film maker Anurag Prakash Ray has been at the forefront of my mind the past few weeks.  We’ve certainly experienced our fair share of darkness recently.  Between the senseless violence and death both overseas and even in our own cities, and the vitriolic rhetoric that comes with an election season, it is easy to lose hope and despair.  It would be easy to give up and ask “what difference can I make”?  It would be easy to focus on the darkness and miss the little rays of hope.

Instead, I encourage everyone to focus on those little rays of hope.

Focus on the women heading into an abortion center but choosing life after talking to a pro-life sidewalk counselor.

Focus on the women visiting a pro-life pregnancy resource center and finding out about the resources they need to choose life.

Focus on the abortion centers being forced to close because of lack of business.

Focus on legislative victories such as HB1948, which would ban the brutal practice of dismemberment abortion and change the legal cut-off for abortions from six months to five months in Pennsylvania, moving through the legislative process.

Focus on the parents who have chosen life for their child, despite doctor’s prognoses of challenges like Down syndrome, and recommendations to kill their child.

I recognize sometimes that’s sometimes easier said than done.  When every time we turn on the news we are faced with news of another shooting, or more death and destruction, it is easy to think we’ve lost and it is hopeless and not worth trying.

However, I leave you with this anonymous quote: “Sometimes life seems a dark tunnel with no light at the end, but if you just keep moving forward, you will end up in a better place.”

Our challenge is to keep moving forward through the dark tunnel of a culture of death. We need to continue praying as if it is up to God and working as if it is up to us. If we do that, and focus on those rays of light, we will end up in a better place where life is valued.

Saving Babies….and Cats

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A recent article in the Worcester county Maryland paper The Dispatch titled “Battle Waged to Save Trapped Cat from Euthanasia; National Group Sparks Letter Writing Campaign to Elected Officials” caught my eye.   The article is about a cat named Oliver, who was part of the colony cared for by the local Community Cats Coalition.  Oliver was trapped in the area, during an effort to rid the area of rabid animals, and now apparently awaits its fate with the county’s Animal Control Department.

Oliver may or may not be rabid, so last week a group called Alley Cat Allies interceded with a letter to the Worcester County Commissioners urging them to allow the Animal Control Department to turn Oliver over to the local Community Cats Coalition organization to quarantine the animal for as long as it takes to ensure it is not rabid at its own expense and effort. After getting little in the way of response from the commissioners, shelter staff or Animal Control Chief Susan Rantz, Alley Cat Allies on Tuesday reached out to its vast membership to intercede on Oliver’s behalf and, as a result, over 56,000 emails were reportedly sent to the Worcester County Commissioners.

Now, you may be asking why we’re talking about some random cat in Maryland, but my point is simple.  If a stray, potentially rabid cat can get 56,000 emails, how many more emails, calls, etc. should the pro-life movement be able to generate for pre-born babies, and other vulnerable humans?

The question is not meant to disparage the vast number of pro-life volunteers and staff who spend countless hours praying outside abortion centers, writing letters to the editor, helping pro-life pregnancy centers, or otherwise working to protect the most vulnerable among us.  Truly, these volunteers are on the front-line of the movement, and are its heart and soul.

Rather it is meant as a challenge to all of us.  If a cat can get that kind of response, we should be able to get an equal, if not greater, response for pre-born babies.  Surely the lives of pre-born babies are worth more than that of a cat (as much as I love cats).  We need to see this response for Oliver as a challenge to all of us…is there one more thing we can do to protect those who can’t speak for themselves?  Is it spending an extra hour per week praying at an abortion center?  Maybe it’s forwarding that “call to action” email we received to ten more people (after answering the call to action ourselves of course).  Perhaps it is that “thank you” call to your pro-life legislator after he or she votes the right way on an important bill.  Whatever it is, each of us needs to consider what that “one more thing” may be, and then put that plan into action.  A cat’s life doesn’t depend on it, but the life of a pre-born baby just might!!!

When Rhetoric Meets Reality

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It is always interesting when the rhetoric of abortion advocates meets reality.

Consider the abortion rhetoric “her body, her choice”.  Abortion advocates use this rhetoric much as today’s teenagers use the word “like”—indiscriminately, and reflexively. Occasionally though, the fact that there is a second person impacted, when an abortion occurs hits home in a way that cannot be ignored.

Such was the case in Wellsboro PA recently when 25 year old Danielle Reddig was arrested and charged with multiple drug charges including drug delivery resulting in death and involuntary manslaughter.

The victim in this case was her pre-born son Collin, described as “a beautiful, handsome little guy” by deputy coroner James Daugherty.  Due to his mother’s repeated drug use while Collin was in the womb, Collin died a little more than an hour after he was born by emergency cesarean.  The autopsy lists Collin’s cause of death as maternal drug use.  Prosecutors note repeated positive tests for opiates, codeine, and morphine in Reddig’s pre-natal urine test, as evidence she used drugs throughout her pregnancy.

Now, if an unborn child is “just a bunch of cells” and not really a person, as abortion advocates try to pretend, shouldn’t Reddig have the “choice” to do whatever she wanted to her body without regard to her son?  However, as prosecutors in this case, pro-lifers, indeed anyone who has ever seen an ultrasound image knows, the choices Reddig made affected a second life—Collin’s life—thereby nullifying her right to do whatever she wanted.

As pro-lifers, all we can do is pray that the loss of her son is the wake-up call Reddig needs to turn her life around.  With a lot of prayer and support maybe someday she can use her loss as an example of the illogic of the “her body, her choice” argument.

Life Lessons in “Finding Dory”

DoryBy Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

I think you could draw many life lessons from the Disney movie, “Finding Dory.”

The long-awaited sequel to the cinematic classic “Finding Nemo” tells the story of one brave fish’s quest to find her parents.

Dory suffers from short-term memory loss. But at the beginning of the movie, we see her loving parents are very supportive of her and celebrate her every accomplishment.

This brought to my mind a couple of key points. One is how too many in the medical community often discourage parents whose unborn children have been diagnosed with disabilities or difficult health problems.

It has been reported, for instance, that the abortion rate for a Down Syndrome diagnosis is 90 percent. Unfortunately, too many doctors fail to offer encouragement to parents who have been given a challenging prenatal diagnosis, focusing on the hardships rather than the blessings.

Abortion activists demand exceptions in abortion restrictions for “fetal anomalies,” which is a euphemism for disabilities or medical problems. But, just because someone is handicapped in some way, that does not make them any less human. In fact, caring for that individual, showing compassion to her, can actually make us, in a sense, more human.

Also noteworthy is that a character who tries to help Dory–Hank the octopus–also has a disability, in that he has one tentacle missing. Yet, he proves very adept at moving himself–and the story–forward.

The other thought that crossed my mind was on the other side of the spectrum, the elderly. Someone who has been diagnosed with dementia is also deserving of our protection–especially from those who would have that individual succumb to euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Kudos to the creators of “Finding Dory” by celebrating true diversity–the diversity that comes from those who are differently-abled. May our children learn the movie’s life lessons and carry them on throughout their lives.