Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at email@example.com. Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.
Signs of Hope: A Call to Action
Maria Gallagher | 15 January 2020
The year 2020 will be critical when it comes to the “life issues” in Pennsylvania and across America. So very much is at stake—most notably, the lives of preborn babies and the health and safety of their mothers. To begin with, it may be the most crucial election year of our lives. At issue is whether the White House will continue pro-life policies or be replaced by an administration that is determined to expand abortion.
Additionally, 2020 will determine whether pro-life or pro-abortion forces control the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. A pro-life Congress could enact new laws that would ban brutal dismemberment abortions, ensure treatment and care for newborns who survive abortions, and bar grotesque late-term abortions.
In Pennsylvania, the coming election year will decide the fate of 200+ state legislative seats. Whether we can hold pro-life majorities in the Pennsylvania state Senate and the state House will depend on the outcome of the general election. The Keystone State legislature will also be considering several bills regarding the sanctity of innocent human life, including House Bill 2138, which would require abortion facilities to post their state health inspection reports on their websites. You can expect other state legislatures around the nation to take up important life-saving, heart-changing legislation in the coming year.
2019 saw the passage of the first ban in Pennsylvania on the abortion of preborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in their mothers' wombs. The legislation had broad support and passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by a large, bipartisan majority. The measure, known as House Bill 321, also passed the PA Senate with ease. Unfortunately, pro-abortion Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the bill within one day of its passage in the state Senate. Wolf has, in fact, threatened to veto any and all pro-life legislation, so the veto did not come as a surprise.
However, what is surprising is the lengths that pro-abortion politicians will go to defend abortion. The Governor of Pennsylvania has said he will veto any “attacks on abortion,” as if the very act of abortion is sacrosanct. It is also alarming that the Wolf Administration would take such extreme action to deny disability rights. At its core, the ban on Down syndrome abortions is a defense of persons with disabilities. In failing to protect such individuals, the Governor is failing to protect the most vulnerable among us.
Still, there are significant signs of hope on the horizon. The annual March for Life, which takes place each year in Washington, D.C. in January, is a testament to the strength of the pro-life movement. Hundreds of thousands of people—most of them high school and college-age—gather in the nation's capital to stand in solidarity with pregnant women, their babies, and their families. The popularity of the March demonstrates the vitality of the pro-life movement. This year's March for Life theme—Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman—seems especially apropos. The media will focus a lot of attention this year on "the women's vote"; it is vitally important to keep in mind that women make up a considerable segment of the pro-life population and do, in fact, cast their votes based on the stands of the candidates on the "life issues."
Life will also be on the agenda at the U.S. Supreme Court. The High Court has set March 4th as the date for hearing oral arguments in a Louisiana abortion case. At issue is a law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. This common-sense measure is necessary for safeguarding the health and safety of women in the Bayou State.
It is not out of the realm of possibility that the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Roe v. Wade could fall sooner than even pro-life advocates expect. President Trump has appointed strict constructionists to the High Court, who may not be inclined to make pro-abortion law from the bench, as President Barack Obama's appointees would. While it is difficult to predict the exact moment of Roe’s impending death, even some pro-abortion activists believe the decision is destined to fall. The ruling was ill-conceived and made at a time when 4D Ultrasounds showing the humanity of the preborn child were not commonplace. In the years since Roe, science has clearly shown us what the pro-life movement has said all along—that life begins at fertilization.
The possibility of additional victories--that’s what we can expect on the life front in 2020. With your help, countless lives can be saved—and untold numbers of lives can be changed for the better—through peaceful pro-life activism, education, and legislative efforts. History may record that 2020 was the year of the unborn child—a wonderful development for life in the United States of America.
Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation & 2019 Fellow, Society of St. Sebastian