40 Days for Life Making a Difference in Northeast Philadelphia

The 40 Days for Life Fall 2019 Campaign ended on November 3rd and each global site has its own story to tell.  Stories about babies saved, support provided, volunteers who came for the first time, life chains and rallies incorporated into the vigil schedules.  And at the Northeast Philadelphia site at the Planned Parenthood on Comly Road we are no different.

We heard reports of pro-life information shared with not only the women who came to PP but also  some of the men who had accompanied these women and were willing to accept our literature.   We had first-timers sign up to stand outside the abortion center and most importantly we had three saves — during the last week of the campaign!IMG_5723

Two of the saves were couples who had come to PP but ultimately turned back around and left.  The third save involved a woman who advised someone standing outside that she was in an abusive relationship and was being coerced to have an abortion.  After receiving information on a local shelter for abused women she realized there was help available and decided against the abortion.

These same types of stories can be multiplied over the entire globe as we all joined together to fight the abortion machine.  At times it is difficult to see beyond our own local abortion site or the logistics of scheduling hours, life chains or prayer rallies.  But this is bigger than that.  It is volunteers speaking all languages willing to stand outside an abortion center in any country and offering alternative help to those going in. So big a task and yet so simple – offering help to someone in need, no matter where it is needed. We will keep all those who turned around in our prayers that they do not second guess their initial instinct to leave but we also need to pray for those women who did not turn around and for those babies who suffered the consequences.

The Spring 2020 40 Days for Life campaign is scheduled for February 26 thru April 5!

Lord, take me where you want me to go….

I recently visited New York City over the weekend and was looking for a nearby Roman Catholic church to attend Sunday mass.  Using the handy masstimes.org website I found St. Francis of Assisi church on West 31st Street to be the closest to my hotel.

IMG_5872It is a beautiful church and the priest and cantor created an equally beautiful celebration of the mass.   As I was returning to my pew from receiving communion I noticed a memorial of some type in the side aisle.  I stopped to read the plaque which noted it was a single rose rising from three pieces of mangled steel from the World Trade Center and commemorates Friar Mychal Judge who was in residence at St. Francis of Assisi and Carol LaPlante, a secular Franciscan and parishioner, both of whom perished that fateful day.

As was widely publicized at the time, Father Judge served as the chaplain to the New York City Fire Department and was killed while performing his priestly duties at the scene of the attacks on 9/11.   His was the first recorded death of the World Trade Center tragedy. To further add to the historic significance of my visit to West 31st Street, when I left the church I noticed Ladder 24/Engine 1 firehouse directly across the street and in a small window was a glass memorial depicting firefighters removing Father Judge’s body from the World Trade Center rubble with the words of a prayer that he prayed every day:

Lord, take me where You want me to go;

Let me meet who You want me to meet;

Tell me what You want me to say;

And keep me out of Your way.

So simple a prayer but so powerful.  While these words could apply to almost any interactions we have during the course of a day, I thought them most appropriate for those of us who either stand outside abortion centers offering hopeful alternatives to the women going inside or for those times when we are asked to support our pro-life views.  The last two lines especially sum up how I feel in these situations.  I want to say the right thing, the helpful thing and I do not want to create stumbling blocks to getting the pro-life message out.  As the vessel that God uses to proclaim His message of the sanctity of life, I find this prayer comforting. I need not avoid these situations in fear that I am not up to the task.   He will put me where I need to be.  He will ensure the message that leaves my lips is a thoughtful and considerate one.  He will not allow my thoughts, words or deeds to create more confusion or upheaval.

How blessed was I to have happened on this street and to have experienced the touching memorials that resulted from such a devastating national tragedy.  But then again all I need to do is recite the first line of this prayer to know that on that morning in that city the Lord took me where He wanted me to go.IMG_5865

 

Vandalism Results in Pro-Life Rally

A bucolic setting in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Scarecrows and cornfields.  Haystacks and mums. Autumnal trees dotting the highways and byways. And yet violence reared its ugly head here on the grounds of Lady of Guadalupe parish in Doylestown. Forty white crosses which memorialized those lives taken through abortion were defaced or broken on the church grounds on the evening of October 12th.   Local police are investigating the incident but in the meantime the parish and the surrounding pro-life community rallied together this past Saturday, October 19th, for a prayer vigil led by the pastor, Reverend Monsignor Joseph P. Gentili.

The prayer vigil not only provided an opportunity to publicly stand together to support our right to IMG_5767free speech on the abortion issue but also offered prayers for the person(s) who initiated this destruction.   Replacement crosses were provided by the Pro Life Union and the memorial display is now again intact on the parish grounds.  Additional details of this incident can be found at Patch.com

If the perpetrators thought this was going to stop the ardor of the pro-life community, they are sadly mistaken.  We too have a right to speak our minds on the sanctity of life – it is not a one sided argument although at times that is what it feels like.  So as long as parishes like Our Lady of Guadalupe are willing to publicly assert their support for a child’s right to life, we also will be there to be a voice for those who are voiceless.  We cannot bring back the children who have lost the battle of abortion but we can replace those crosses that stand in their memory as many times as need be.

Up and Down the Boulevard: Don’t Stop Believin’!

IMG_5720Twelve lanes of traffic – six northbound and six southbound – moving 90,000 vehicles per day between Northeast Philadelphia and surrounding Bucks County.  Roosevelt Boulevard is like Las Vegas, open and ready for business 24/7 with never any downtime.  And on a beautiful Sunday afternoon the pro-life message was proudly advertised to some of those 90,000 drivers making their way to shopping malls and soccer games, Eagles game day parties and Sunday dinners.

Each year in October a Life Chain is held on this busy highway to promote the value of a child’s life.  Supporters hold signs both on the sidewalk and on the median strip – signs that present a visual of a child at the one-month stage of development, or signs stating abortion is not health care or signs asking to pray to end abortion.  It’s interesting to try to discern the faces in the cars as speeding drivers see a barrage of pro-life placards coming upon them.  Some seem confused as if they didn’t realize abortion is even still an issue, others try to avoid eye contact and yet others nod almost imperceptibly.

The good news is that we witnessed a lot of thumbs up and smiles but as one of my fellow sign holders lamented, if all these people agree, why is abortion still here?  Why aren’t more people involved in the cause?

But standing publicly on a busy highway with this large of a captured audience may get some drivers (and let’s not forget the passengers) to consider the next step.  Perhaps last year they gave us an imperceptible nod, this year a thumbs up and next year they may be holding their own pro-life sign along the highway!

Life chains provide an intimate moment between you as a sign holder and a hurried driver stopped at a red light.  Sometimes a moment is all you need to bring the message home, one car at a time.

 

The Night Before

At 9PM on Friday evening I was attending a beautifulIMG_5712 pro-life candlelight vigil ceremony at the Planned Parenthood on Comly Road in Northeast Philadelphia.  At this same time on Friday evening, each woman scheduled for a Saturday morning abortion was preparing for her crucial moment of decision to take the life of her child – either voluntarily or involuntarily.  The abortionist, Charles Benjamin, would be following whatever his Friday evening routine is before showing up twelve hours later to erase the life of one baby after the other – all in the name of healthcare.

Twelve short hours.

On Friday evening these children were secure in their mothers’ wombs not knowing what violence was imminent.  The sadness is overwhelming.  There was so much love and prayer outside this building on Friday night and yet by Saturday morning the walls inside would be cold and unfeeling as Planned Parenthood staff processed one woman after the other and handed her over to the abortionist and the tools of his trade.

How many of these women will seek physical and emotional support after their abortion — or were even told help is available?  How many parents of these young women have no idea how close they came to being loving grandparents? How many of these women will again experience a “night before”?  And at what point will Charles Benjamin decide enough is enough? IMG_5723

Benjamin admitted during the 2013 Kermit Gosnell trial that he, Benjamin, had done 40,000 abortions in his career.  Apparently enough will never be enough for Benjamin.  He and his medical partner, Bruce Berger recently closed their private abortion practice.  Does this mean he is stepping back or just re-doubling his efforts at Planned Parenthood or other abortion clinics in the area?

There will continue to be many more “nights before” when a child is safe in the womb….until the next morning when the unthinkable happens as long as Benjamin, Berger and their abortionist peers make their services available….in the name of healthcare….healthcare that cares so little for the child in the womb.

 

Philadelphia Abortion Practice Closed

I recently was alerted to an article on PAFamily.org that announced the Berger and Benjamin LLP abortion practice closed voluntarily effective June 2019.  No reason was provided. You can read the entire article below.

IMG_5705 (2) The Philadelphia based practice was cited in May 2017 by the PA Department of Health for inadequate spore testing on the autoclave sterilizer and unsecured storage of Lidocaine HCL 1%.   However, since that time no other non-compliance reports were issued by the Department of Health.

Dr. Charles Benjamin is also the abortionist at the Planned Parenthood at Comly Road in Northeast Philadelphia and was the abortionist at the Cherry Hill, New Jersey Women’s Center as noted in the story below referencing a 2000 lawsuit which was settled out of court.   When accessing the Berger and Benjamin website, it now automatically re-directs readers to The Women’s Centers – not Planned Parenthood – for abortion information.

Sadly, on the Berger and Benjamin site the following words still can be read:

“Confidential and Comfortable Pregnancy Termination Services in a Private Physician Setting”

##############

Philadelphia abortionist responsible for 40,000 abortions closes clinic

During the trial of Kermit Gosnell, only one time during the entire horrific trial did the jury audibly gasp. That was when Dr. Charles Benjamin testified in a matter-of-fact way that he had performed over 40,000 abortions in his over 30 year career.

His private practice, Berger and Benjamin, LLP, has been performing abortions since 1978. However, after an inspection by the Pennsylvania Department of Health on June 24, 2019, the facility “voluntarily ceased services and relinquished their registration certificate.” Their website now states, “The office of Doctors Berger and Benjamin has closed.”

With this closing, nine abortion clinics in Pennsylvania have closed since 2012.

Why Mandating Inspections Matters

State inspections were only mandated into law by the passage of new abortion clinic regulations in 2011, a major initiative by Pennsylvania Family Institute after the horrors of Kermit Gosnell’s clinic were revealed. After nearly a year’s battle in the legislature,, the common-sense regulations finally passed into law, classifying abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical centers (treating any place that performs abortions like any other surgical facility).

Five abortion clinics closed as a direct result of this new legislation when it went into effect in 2012. Another clinic in Harrisburg, Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center, was forced to shut down in 2017 after failing numerous health inspections.

Planned Parenthood connection

Benjamin has previously stated that he performs abortions at the Einstein Medical Center and for Planned Parenthood at their Comly Road facility in Philadelphia.

The Comly Road Planned Parenthood location performs the most late-term abortions for Planned Parenthood than any other Pennsylvania location. In 2017, reports show they performed 260 abortions at 15 weeks or later into pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion business in Pennsylvania, performing half of all abortions in the state. In total, their Comly Road location performs the third highest number of abortions for Planned Parenthood in the state, accounting for over 2,000 abortions every year at this one location.

Planned Parenthood has made Dr. Benjamin a millionaire. Since 2008, Planned Parenthood has compensated him as an abortionist for over $3 million.

How many abortions did Benjamin’s clinic perform?

Reports filed with the PA Department of Health are perplexing. Each facility that receives any type of state funding must file a quarterly report with the state on the number of abortions performed. Since 2013, Berger and Benjamin filed two quarterly reports – one in 2013 stating 269 abortions performed in the 1st quarter. Then in 2016, a report filed for the 3rd quarter shows 154 abortions performed. No other data was provided for any other quarter.

The website for Berger and Benjamin states they performed surgical abortions between 4 and 20.5 weeks and the abortion pill/RU486 up to 9 weeks. They also advertised how they had no protesters because they were in a private office in a medical office building.

Benjamin’s Influence

Not only has Dr. Benjamin carried out over 40,000 abortions, but his clinic has had an influence on pro-abortion politics. His clinic was one of ten Pennsylvania abortion clinics that joined an amicus brief filed by the Women’s Law Project against a Texas law that would have put the same health and safety standards on abortion clinics in Texas that Pennsylvania did in 2011. They claimed Pennsylvania’s law was “disastrous” and that it had “potential of grievous harm to women.” Of note, one of the then abortion clinics on their brief was Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center, a facility forced to shut down after numerous failed inspections that included not having a registered OB/GYN or nurse to help patients, not giving background checks to staff and using unsterilized and expired medications. The inspections were only mandated by law thanks to the new abortion clinic regulations. One Google review of Hillcrest stated that she wouldn’t let her cat go there for any services, much less herself.

In 2000, Benjamin was sued by a Pennsylvania teen for violating Pennsylvania laws after he performed an abortion on the then-16 year old in New Jersey but she then suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result. The case was settled out of court three years later.

40,000 abortions. And what’s chilling is Charles Benjamin is certainly not the only Philadelphia abortionist who can say that. Another one: Kermit Gosnell, on record performing 40,136 abortions from 1988 – 2009.

(PAFamily.org)

Abortion: Making it unthinkable

I currently am reading Fall and Rise, the Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff.  Within the first few pages I came upon these words  “ Yet with time, the unthinkable often becomes acceptable.”  Mr. Zuckoff’s point in relation to the 9/11 attacks, was that immediately after the disaster New Yorkers could not conceive of any type of public celebratory event.   But when the New York Giants won the Superbowl in 2008 – seven years later – a ticker-tape parade took place, thereby signaling that things were getting back to “normal”.   The horrendous events of that day now were becoming history.

As soon as I read those words, abortion came to mind.  Abortion was unthinkable and the word itself was not even spoken aloud generations ago.  However as time marched on, the word abortion entered our daily lexicon and ultimately became celebrated as a reproductive right.  Taking a child’s life is now acceptable or normal – at least to much of mainstream society.  Roe v Wade is read about in history books – all cleaned up as a legal argument without a mention of the millions of heartbeats that have been stopped decade after decade in the name of personal choice and rights.

40daysphoto

But perhaps during this Fall 2019 40 Days for Life campaign, we can turn the phrase around to envision that for which we strive.   Perhaps with continued prayer over time the right to an abortion will become unthinkable.  Perhaps a universal light bulb will go off with the realization that abortion is child abuse in its most gruesome form.  Perhaps those who continue their misguided fight for abortion rights will realize how morally bankrupt a society is that allows and celebrates any type of harm to innocent children. The struggle against abortion can seem endless at times but we need to remember that the unthinkable – a world without abortion – can become acceptable with our participation, prayer and God’s help.

To get involved in making a world without abortion acceptable, visit the 40 Days for Life website and sign up for a local vigil campaign near you.

Rally in Center City Philadelphia

Rally4“United we stand, divided we fall.”

Well, we certainly were united at Friday’s Center City Philadelphia rally protesting Rep. Brian Sims’ harassment of sidewalk servants who peacefully stand witness and offer alternative assistance to women entering the Locust St. Planned Parenthood abortion center.  As has been widely publicized by now, Mr. Sims’ behavior was not only belligerent but possibly criminal as he attempted to offer money to have the identity of minor sidewalk servants be known.

Today’s rally was to publicly announce that the pro-life movement  will not be the victim of intimidation by the likes of Mr. Sims.  Speakers included Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action, Dr. Monique Ruberu, a Philadelphia area pro-life OBGYN, Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood worker who now is a leader in the pro-life movement and whose story is the subject of the recently released movie Unplanned,  and Ashley Garecht, the mother of two of the minor sidewalk servants who Brian Sims verbally accosted.  In response to the Sims incident, she and her husband have raised more than $116,000 for the Pro-Life Union of Philadelphia via a GoFundMe page.

Mr. Sims’ unprofessional and disturbing actions raise another question.  Why have his Democratic colleagues within the Pennsylvania legislature not commented on his confrontation against his fellow citizens?  Are they not as guilty as he since their silence signals acceptance of his behavior? Here is a list of legislators and their contact information.  Let them know that you not only denounce Brian Sims but also their silence on the matter.

The rally message today was that our unborn children are neither expendable nor replaceable and that together we will continue to pray for and work toward the day that abortion is unthinkable….regardless of Brian Sims’ thuggish browbeating tactics.

 

Using Our Voice in the 2020 Presidential Campaign

The presidential hopeful hats are flying into the ring faster than Bernie Sanders’ tax return info!  It is still early yet but the Democratic primary candidates have started their schoolyard shoving match so it will be interesting to see who ends up as the victor.  In the meantime, it is our moral and civic duty to question these candidates on the issues, particularly the electrically charged abortion issue.  It is not only where do they stand on abortionbooker but why do they stand there.

I have decided to focus on the top four of the possible front runners for now and contact them for clarification as to why they are pro-abortion.  I realize one little email or call from me will not make them change their minds but still, I like to ripple the waters a bit.  If they are going to harangue me for the next year with their altruistic speeches, sound bites and advertisements, I need to counter their diatribes by filling up their voicemail and email in boxes.

Where possible, I am taking their own words from their speeches or mission statements and asking why these words do not apply to our unborn children.  Case in point is Senator Cory Booker’s slogan “Justice for All”.  His “all” apparently does not include our unborn babies.

So, if you would like to join me in voicing your concerns with these candidates I am providing contact info below.  We are blessed with the right to speak freely in this country and we should not take it for granted.  This is the time to use our voice even if we think it will be only a whisper amidst the deafening defense of the right to abort on demand.

Senator Cory Booker:  https://corybooker.com/

mobilize@corybooker.com

Washington Senate Office: 202-224-3224

 

Senator Elizabeth Warren:  https://elizabethwarren.com/contact-us/

Washington Senate Office:  (202) 224-4543

 

Senator Kamala Harris:  info@kamalaharris.org

Washington Senate Office: (202) 224 –3553

 

Senator Bernie Sanders: https://berniesanders.com/

https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment

Washington Senate Office: 202-224-5141

 

Pro-Life Billboard Rises on I-95

We have a new billboard gracing the Philadelphia skyline and it is beautiful!  Travelling northbound on I-95 near a heavily trafficked section of the city and the home of one eternal traffic jam is a message high in the clouds proclaiming Equal Rights for the Unborn…imagine that!

Billboard

I knew the billboard was coming, but I was totally taken off guard by my excitement when I first saw it burgeoning over the rooftops on the side of the highway.  There it was.  The fruition of weeks of planning by some dedicated souls in the local pro-life movement.  And the message is loud and clear – an unborn baby is precious and should have the right to experience life.  Unfortunately, there were 15,443 children who did not experience equal rights in the Philadelphia area in 2017 and instead had their lives extinguished by abortion.  Hopefully, this picture and these words will make drivers and passengers think about what abortion is and what it does.  Especially in these politically charged times where there should not even need to be discussions about being pro or con when it comes to silencing a beating heart.  If nothing else, this sign is a symbol of our not relinquishing the challenge to the pro choice cadre.

Of course billboard advertising is a business,  so to keep this message flying over the Philly skies will take some financial support.  There are fundraising plans in place such as an upcoming Quizzo night in Northeast Philadelphia where proceeds will go towards supporting the sign and also to benefit the work of Legacy of Life. And private donations always will be accepted to keep this pro life beacon positioned where thousands of cars pass it every day.  You can visit https://www.hv50philly.com/events/ for additional details about event sponsorship/ donations or contact the PA Pro-Life Coalition at 215-885-6780 or email: paprolifecoalition@gmail.com.

Let’s keep this pro-life message shining down on I-95 so that we give voices to the children we have lost and those we are about to lose to abortion.