Thousands of pro-life Pennsylvanians participated in the March For Life in our state Capitol last Monday. We did so to publicly proclaim the pro-life position and to effect pro-life public policies.
The pro-life position rests on the founding principle of our nation, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. That principle is that all human beings are created — not born — with a God-given right to life. Thus, the pro-life movement seeks to provide legal protection to all human beings from conception until natural death.
This principle contrasts sharply with the fundamental premise of the “pro-choice” position. That principle is the same one that attempted to justify slavery in our nation, which is that it is morally and legally acceptable for some human beings (expectant mothers) to treat other human beings (children in the womb) as their property. Many who support pro-choice positions seek to eliminate Pennsylvania’s current pro-life public policies, such as Medicaid funding restrictions, informed consent, and parental consent for minors.
Approximately 44% of Pennsylvania’s abortions are chemically induced through medications. Shortly after the pandemic began, state officials permitted the use of telemedicine visits to get prescriptions for these medications. The Pennsylvania pro-life movement opposes any effort to expand chemical abortions using remote visits; those visits would violate Pennsylvania’s informed consent law, which requires in-person consultations with a physician. In-person visits, with an ultrasound examination, ensure that abortion-causing medications like mifepristone are not ingested by those who face risks from the drug that could threaten the life and health of an expectant mother. This in-person assessment remains essential to protect those who may have ectopic pregnancies.
Pennsylvania’s pro-life public policies, along with a vast network of abortion alternatives services and pro-life and chastity education efforts, have served to reduce the number of abortions that occur in Pennsylvania from approximately 65,000 in 1980 to 30,000 in 2019.
Pennsylvania’s abortion alternatives services provide lifesaving and life-enhancing assistance to all mothers, especially those experiencing financial hardship, fetal disorders and rape, often used to justify abortion. For example, they provide extensive assistance, including adoption services, to parents of a child with disabilities in response to “poor prenatal diagnoses” that are used to justify late-term abortions in Pennsylvania each year; in 2019, roughly 2,300 abortions occurred after 14 weeks gestation. These services also help expectant mothers, who conceived as a result of sexual assault, realize that giving birth to their child vastly improves their life prospects, rather than having their child killed because of the terrible crime of his or her father.
We marched to expose the policies of our current governor, which are the most proabortion in the history of our commonwealth.
We marched to expand Pennsylvania’s pro-life public policies, such as enacting a Heartbeat Bill, which protects children after their heartbeat becomes detectable at approximately six weeks gestation. We urge the current pro-life majorities in the Pennsylvania’s House and Senate to pass a Heartbeat Bill, which we hope will be signed into law by a pro-life Pennsylvania governor elected in 2022.
Finally, on a rare note of agreement, we commend The Inquirer’s Sept. 21 editorial for acknowledging Sen. Bob Casey Jr.’s duplicity on the abortion issue. A recent example of his double dealing occurred on Aug. 12, when despite his purported backing of the Hyde Amendment — which restricts federal Medicaid funding of abortion — he voted against restoring it to President Biden’s proposed 2022 budget.
Sen. Casey’s hypocrisy reminds pro-life Pennsylvanians of how much we miss his dad, pro-life Democrat Gov. Bob Casey Sr., who signed many of Pennsylvania’s pro-life policies into law.
Michael J. McMonagle is the president of the Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania.