By Annaleigh Gidosh
October is National Respect Life Month, and pro-lifers are out in full swing, cultivating and upholding the sanctity of human life.
Much is at stake in Pennsylvania as pro-abortion advocates fight for taxpayer-funded abortion through birth and a repeal of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, which requires a 24 hour waiting period and parental consent for minors seeking abortions.
After the overturning of Roe V. Wade, decisions for abortion laws went back to the states, allowing for a range of legislation including the protection of life at conception in Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Oklahoma, and continuing to allow unrestricted abortion through birth in Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont.
Many legislators, including some in Pennsylvania, call for a recast of the vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, capable of repealing every state law on abortion and creating federal protection of abortion through birth by any abortion procedure, for any reason, and without a prior doctor’s visit. The law could lead to doctors prescribing or mailing chemical abortion drugs (meant for abortions under ten weeks) without verifying the baby’s development or the mother’s health.
Last year, a woman in Nevada died from sepsis after taking the 10-week chemical abortion pill. The FDA points out the possible risks and serious health complications due to abortion pills being used unmonitored at home.
Pro-life advocates, both statewide and in our Diocese, peacefully and lovingly take action this month through various events, including 40 Days for Life, a fundraiser for a Catholic-modeled Ultrasound van, and a statewide march.
40 Days for Life is a national peaceful prayer and fasting campaign held in both Spring and Fall outside abortion facilities. Abortion workers have noted that the abortion business goes down as much as seventy percent when individuals peacefully pray outside.
Dozens of women have chosen life outside of the two local abortion facilities that together provide abortion through 24 weeks of pregnancy by surgical and chemical means.
Pro-lifers have worked ardently to build a network of resources available to women, including mobile ultrasound vans to be present on the street during abortion days.
According to Save the Storks, 8 in 10 women who see their baby in an ultrasound choose life, and former abortion workers through And Then There Were None explain that abortion facilities generally do not show ultrasound screens to women.
The facilities typically use ultrasounds to ascertain the size and age of a baby to determine the price and kind of abortion procedure to use. Sadly, some wrap the abortion prices up with the cost of the ultrasound by charging a woman more for the ultrasound if she does not also choose abortion.
Therefore, a professionally operated mobile ultrasound van offering free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds can be the difference between a woman seeing her child or not.
Our Lady’s Helpers, a 501c3, was recently formed to provide free ultrasounds outside of local abortion facilities. The Defenders of Life at St. Joseph the Worker Parish will host an Oktoberfest fundraiser at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 21st, to raise funds to launch the mobile unit. (For tickets, contact OurLadysHelpers@proton.me.)
The Pennsylvania March for Life is set for Monday, October 16th, outside our state capital in Harrisburg. So far, local buses will leave from Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Notre Dame High School, and Sacred Heart Church in Bethlehem. Interested high school students can contact their school chaplain, and adults or families can reach out to Sacred Heart’s bus captain at firstname.lastname@example.org. Schuylkill County residents can contact Stambroseprolife@gmail.com to reserve a spot on St. Ambrose Parish’s bus.
Bishop Schlert will offer Mass at 9am at Saint Mary Parish, Hamburg for all pilgrims on their way to the March for Life in Harrisburg.
Individuals at home or on their way to Harrisburg are encouraged to contact their legislators to invite them to uphold the sanctity of human life.
If you are interested in other ways to get involved with Respect Life Month, visit the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops RespectLife.org/celebrate.
For crisis pregnancy resources in the Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill Counties, visit https://www.allentowndiocese.org/catholic-life/resources-women.
Photo by author: Participants at the 2022 Pennsylvania March for Life.