By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
2016 turned out to be a milestone year in the history of abortion in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The year brought the lowest number of abortions ever recorded in the Keystone State. Given the fact that abortion has been legal nationwide for nearly 45 years, this is quite an achievement.
A number of factors have contributed to this decline. One key variable was the passage of the Abortion Control Act which, because of court challenges, did not go into effect until the mid-’90s. But once the law was enforced, abortion totals declined by half. Such provisions as informed consent, parental consent, and a 24-hour waiting period for abortions contributed to the decline.
Technology has also proven to be a friend to the pro-life movement. With the advent of 4D Ultrasound, we can see a baby smiling, laughing, even playing with her toes in her mother’s womb. The face of “choice” is now crystal clear on the ultrasound screen. It is the face of a human being, a son or daughter, who cries out for justice.
Pregnancy resource centers have also been tremendously successful in bringing Pennsylvania’s abortion rate down. Not only do we have highly effective independent centers, we also have state-assisted centers, thanks to our Alternatives to Abortion program. These centers offer comprehensive counseling and support to pregnant women and their families, and continue that help a year after their babies are born.
And we should not discount the testimony of post-abortive women who now regret their abortions. Their powerful voices have caused women to think twice about aborting the babies growing inside them.
Granted, our work is far from over. More than 30,000 precious Pennsylvania babies continue to lose their lives to abortion each year.
But the death toll is declining, and that is a welcomed development for babies, mothers, and families.