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The transforming power of the “aha” movement

by | May 7, 2019

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Editor’s note. Yesterday Maria wrote about how the Pennsylvania House Health Committee delivered an early Mother’s Day gift to mothers with children with Down syndrome by voting to advance House Bill 321, the Down Syndrome Protection Act, to the floor. We will update the progress of HB 321 as it works its way forward.

We also posted a story from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life as it battles to retain full funding for the very important “Positive Alternatives” program, which MCCL helped enact in 2005. Positive Alternatives provides grants to life-affirming programs that offer practical support to pregnant and newly parenting women—so no one feels like abortion is the only option.

The following explains just how important programs like Positive Alternatives—in this case Pennsylvania’s “Real Alternatives/ Parenting and Pregnancy Support”—are to mothers facing a crisis pregnancy decision.

Sometimes, it is those little “aha” moments in life that strengthen my convictions about the nobility of the pro-life cause.

It so happened when I had a meeting with a state representative to brief her on Pennsylvania’s landmark Parenting and Pregnancy Support program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc.

The program is a phenomenal success story. Begun under the late pro-life Democratic Governor Bob Casey, Sr., the venture provides loving support and comprehensive counseling to pregnant women.

Nearly 300,000 women have been served; almost 1.5 million client visits have been recorded. The program—which has become a model for the rest of the nation—funds pregnancy care centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

When I visited Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York), she had her baby girl, Grace, in tow. So as the representatives of Real Alternatives and I were talking, Rep. Klunk was cradling Baby Grace in her lap. As I looked into the infant’s amazingly wide eyes, I had the “aha” moment.

How could it possibly be that babies a little smaller and a tad younger than this are torn from their mothers’ wombs through abortion?

The innocence, the curiosity, the joy radiating from those eyes were impossible to ignore. That little human being captivated us and motivated us. We want to make Pennsylvania a safer, more welcoming place for children like her.

The moment was both ordinary and extraordinary—a mother and child loving each other with every fiber of their beings. I could have sat there and watched them for hours on end.

It is in the grace of a seemingly ordinary moment when an individual may finally recognize the humanity of the preborn child, the inestimable value of a person with disabilities, and the inherent dignity of a person at the twilight of life. And it is that recognition—this “aha” moment– that can lead someone to join the pro-life movement, offering a life-time commitment to protecting the most vulnerable among us.

God bless all the mothers, like Rep. Klunk, who deftly balance the demands of family and work with courage and strength. God bless mothers who take a step back from the workplace to care for their families.

And God bless all those pregnancy care center staff members and volunteers who provide the nonjudgmental acceptance and support that empower women to make life-affirming decisions for themselves and their children.

Categories: Pro-Lifers
Tags: pro-life