By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
As Roe v. Wade turns 43, signs abound that the pro-life movement has made tremendous gains since seven out of the nine men on the U.S. Supreme Court decided to make abortion legal nationwide.
The Centers for Disease Control recently reported that abortion is now at an all-time low in the U.S. Specifically, the CDC report states that abortions declined by more than one-third from 1990 to 2010.
Any abortion stops a beating heart and a single abortion is a tragedy. Still, the decrease in abortions nationwide is an encouraging sign that our nation has turned a corner in reevaluating the rights of the unborn child and recognizing the unspeakable devastation that women can suffer as a result of abortion.
As of July, the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion operation, reported that states enacted more than 50 pro-life laws in 2015. According to Guttmacher, nearly 300 abortion-related laws have been passed nationwide since 2010. These protective laws include increasing waiting periods for abortion, banning dismemberment abortions, in which a baby is torn limb by limb from a mother's womb, and toughening health and safety standards for abortion facilities.
The move to crack down on unsafe abortion operations followed the grisly revelations in Pennsylvania's own Kermit Gosnell case, in which abortionist Gosnell was suspected of killing hundreds of full-term babies in his filthy facility. The explosive grand jury report cited numerous failures at the city and state level to shut down Gosnell's House of Horrors.
The grand jury report stated, "The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels-and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it."
Prosecutors could not bring charges in many cases because they said Gosnell had destroyed records-but in the end he was convicted of killing three babies and causing the death of a female immigrant patient, Karnamaya Mongar. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania legislature enacted abortion center regulations which required regular inspections of abortion facilities-something that had not occurred for at least 15 years. At least five Pennsylvania abortion facilities shut their doors because they either could not or would not meet basic levels of care.
Both pro-life advocates and those who support legal abortion report pro-life pregnancy help centers outnumber abortion facilities by a two-to-one margin. Women can receive comprehensive support for their pregnancies, reducing the possibility that they will turn to abortion in the midst of the challenges they face.
The chorus of voices of women who regret their abortions has grown stronger. Through the Silent No More Awareness campaign, post-abortive women are courageously talking about the trauma and emotional pain they have endured as a result of their abortions. They are dedicated to sharing their very personal testimonies in an effort to spare other women the suffering they have undergone.
I look forward to the day when every unborn baby and every expectant mother will be nurtured and loved, as Roe v. Wade is erased from the law books and compassion and common sense are restored to our legal system.