by Sonja Morin, Communications Intern
The Oscars ceremony aired this past Sunday night, fittingly closing the film awards season. Movies are meant to reflect cultural values. What is supported in film is meant to be lauded in real life, be it qualities, beliefs, or ideals. Award shows amplify this by denoting particular movies of interest. We, the public audience, then draw our attention to them and what they represent. These award shows also tie in presenters, acts, and performances in between to give focus to certain themes.
What kind of values did the Oscars represent in relation to the pro-life movement?
At first glance, there really was not much to take away from this year’s ceremonies in terms of a political message. There weren’t many political speeches during the Oscars, surprisingly enough. Those that did speak of any particular theme did so vaguely, referencing unity and the need for equality in our society. After a long week filled with division in our political system, in a way, it only makes sense that the Academy would have taken such a nonpartisan approach. However, it is clear that they made a life-affirming statement, and quite possibly without intending it.
To present the Oscar for the category of Live-Action Short Film, actor Shia LaBeouf was accompanied by Zack Gottsagen. The latter is an up-coming actor who starred with LaBeouf in last year’s film The Peanut Butter Falcon. Last night gave Gottsagen an incredible opportunity, as he became the first person with Down syndrome to present an Oscar. With LaBeouf, Zack Gottsagen gave the award, and even delivered the famous line, “And the Oscar goes to…”.
MARK RALSTON / AFP/Getty Images
It was a touching moment. In a culture riddled with stigma against those with Down syndrome, the Academy’s choice to represent the community through Gottsagen was an impressive one.
One of the many themes the Oscars seems to represent is the idea that anyone, no matter their circumstances, can achieve greatness. People tend to devalue those with Down syndrome, either out of complete ignorance or patronization. The prevailing belief is that, due to some of the struggles that comes from the syndrome, that people who have it will never be able to succeed in most aspects of life. Gottsagen is living proof that this assumption is wrong. His life is worth living in itself, and he was able to make something beautiful out of it.
What does that mean for us as pro-lifers? For one, it shows that the attitudes surrounding Down syndrome are certainly changing, and that parts of our culture are attempting to ensure that it happens. It also reminds us that we must lobby to ensure that babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb are not aborted. In the United States, 67% of the pre-born diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, simply as a result of the diagnosis. This terminal example of discrimination is something that we as a culture must defeat.
There are immediate opportunities for us to help counter the destructive attitudes our culture still has regarding those with Down syndrome. Our state and nation face two bills that must be opposed at all costs: the ROE Act (S.1209/H. 3320) in Massachusetts and the federal bill H.J. Resolution 79, which would remove the deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The ROE Act and the ERA would not only ensure that aborting babies with Down syndrome remains legal, but possible at any point in pregnancy and funded by taxpayers. These laws would only serve to deepen the prejudices against those with Down syndrome, restricting their ability to rise and drive the course of their life like Zack Gottsagen has.
This is where your action matters. Call your state and federal representatives and senators to oppose these dangerous bills. Your voice, counted with many others, are the small shifts that our culture needs to turn the tide. We can create a culture that is more accepting of life in all its circumstances by putting just a few minutes aside for this pertinent cause. While our actions may not be as widely televised as the Oscars, they are still just as important in creating a culture that is more accepting of all people in all stages of life.
You can instantly contact the members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary by accessing this link and emailing and calling Chair Claire Cronin.
Look up your legislator here and request that they personally meet with Chair Claire Cronin asking her, and the committee, to oppose the "ROE" Act.
National Right to Life reports, that the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the morning of Thursday, Feb. 13 on resolution to "ratify" the pro-abortion "Equal Rights Amendment"
The resolution (House Joint Resolution 79, or H.J. Res. 79) is intended to nullify the 7-year ratification deadline that Congress attached to the ERA, which expired in 1979 -- thereby allowing recognition of recent "ratifications" by Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia, and inviting a declaration that the ERA is part of the U.S. Constitution.
Pro-life legal experts fear, and pro-abortion leaders proclaim, that the ERA would entrench "abortion rights" in the constitutional text forever, and would result in the invalidation of hundreds of state laws protecting unborn children or regulating abortion -- based on the legal argument that these laws affect men and women differently, and therefore violate the ERA.
The congressional Democratic leaders insist that H.J. Res. 79 does not require the President's signature, and that it can become law with simple majority votes in each house of Congress!
Take these actions immediately:
- Call both the Washington, D.C. and local office of your U.S. House member - urge him or her to oppose the ERA and to oppose House Joint Resolution 79. You can obtain both the Washington, D.C. and home-district office phone numbers of your House member on the NRLC Legislative Action Center website - simply enter your zip code where it says "Find Your Elected Officials." You can also reach the D.C. offices by calling the Capitol Switchboard, 202-225-3121, and giving your zip code.
- Email to your U.S. House member. You can use the National Right to Life Legislative Action Center website here. After you enter your zip code, you will see the identity of your U.S. House member, and a suggested email message against the ERA that has been prepared for you, which you can modify as you wish. Using this method to send an email takes just takes a few minutes. Please do not neglect to make the phone calls first! - because congressional offices generally take a flood of phone calls more seriously than a flood of emails.
For regular updates on important developments pertaining to the Equal Rights Amendment, in Congress and in the courts, follow the Twitter accounts @massprolife, @nrlc and @ERA_No_Shortcuts
For more details, see here.
Donate to Massachusetts Citizens for Life by calling our office: (617) 242-4199. If you do not reach our staff immediately, please leave us a voicemail and we will return your call shortly to process your support. Thank you.
Join the movement in your home state by signing up here.
Many Massachusetts marchers trekked to the capital on our 2-day stay itinerary, while others came blazing in Friday morning to march and head home that night.
This March for Life was historic in many ways. The momentum and power of the crowd held a peace and passion like no year before.The President of the United States even attended the event for the first time in its 47 year history.
We also had members drop everything to come last minute. If you can help some of these young people, please donate to our March for Life fund here.
But check out highlights below!
Our Massachusetts Pre-March Meet Up Thursday night!
These are a few of the attendees. After reviewing action plans for permanently halting the anti-woman, abortion-promoting bill, the "ROE" Act before the committee's decision deadline on February 5th, the team headed to the longtime pro-life pub, The Dubliner.
(Make your pro-life voice heard and join the March for Life momentum by looking up your legislator here and jumpstarting our No-to-Roe Callbanks!)
Friday morning, our MCFL marchers met up with fellow members from other regions, and some who came down solo after checking our social media posts.
Let's bring this sign -- and its writer's creativity -- back to the Bay State!
Good grief! is right.
These sisters made the message that life empowers so "pro-life strong" -- they and drums must have rattled the clouds!
MCFL President Myrna Maloney Flynn spoke to Abby Johnson and then met with the president of the National March for Life, Jeanne Mancini, after an inspiring talk at the Annual Rose Dinner.
"Here's a role model for our daughters," Myrna commented afterwards.
A peaceful, but passionate presence witnessing in front of the D.C. Planned Parenthood with Dr. Michael New. Hundreds gathered on Thursday morning -- another record breaker. You can see C.J. above Googling the nearest pregnancy resource center for a woman, and our Boston travel captain for the members who came down Wednesday, Steven, in our pro-life strong scarf!
Proud to be sporting these scarves. And this sign.
We also dropped by Sen. Elizabeth Warren's office. Her staff were very cordial, but wouldn't accept the gift of this scarf to replace her "Planned Parenthood" pink.
More than quarter million strong--pro-life strong--in Washington D.C.
We know you would have been here if you could have been.
Thank you for supporting the MCFL Pro-Life Strong trip to the 47th Annual March for Life.
Get ready to pick up with us when our team gets back!
You can support the upcoming action with a gift to our work here.
Check if your town or region has a chapter here.
And join us for the MCFL Convention in March!
LOCATION TO BE ANNOUNCED NEXT WEEK!
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh joined mayors from across Massachusetts, October 1st, at the Massachusetts State House, to declare support of legislation removing basic standards of medical care for women and newly born infants. SB 1209/HB 3320, the "ROE Act," abolishes parental consent, eliminates every meaningful constraint on any abortion up until birth (while simultaneously making such abortions even more unsafe by canceling the current requirement that abortions after the first trimester be performed in hospitals), and removes the current requirement that life-supporting medical equipment be on-hand during late-term abortions—in case a child survives the abortion attempt.
The event included Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern, Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer, Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday, and Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle.
If any one of these officials is your mayor, call them today to express your deep disappointment in their judgment.
Boston - Marty Walsh - Phone: 617-635-4500
Cambridge - Marc McGovern - Phone: (617) 349-4321
Easthampton - Nicole LaChapelle - Phone: (413) 529-1400 ext. 470
Framingham - Yvonne Spicer - Phone: 508-532-5400
Newburyport - Donna Holaday - Phone: (978) 465-4413
by C.J. Williams
Summer is over, and the Fall has brought back the bill that's as problematic for pro-lifers as for those who are pro-choice. This is not the time to give in to apathy or distraction. S.1209 (the "R.O.E." Act) has not been dismissed by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. The members of the committee are still taking testimony, still counting the numbers of calls they receive, and still undecided on what to do with this bill, whose provisions would radically reduce our medical standards of care for women, endanger our 12 and 13 year old girls, and slash legal protection for infants born during botched abortions.
Neither pro-life nor pro-choice, S,1209 deserves a resounding no from voters, and our legislators.
But those legislators need to hear your voice, because the abortion business lobby is pressuring them fiercely.
Here's your brief update, and 3 action items. Put them on your calendar with a permanent marker.
S.1209 has not been changed, nor has it been approved and sent on to a vote in our legislature.
S.1209's provisions which abolish adult supervision for underage girls entering abortion facilities, and the removal of the requirement that late-term 2nd or 3rd trimester abortions be performed in hospitals continue to cause even our most pro-abortion representatives to waver on this bill.
S.1209 will not be heard again in public, which makes your contacting the committee in-person, via mail, email, and phone essential to educating them on the bill's dangers, and driving home the message you sent when you showed up in the hundreds at the June hearing.
So TAKE 3 THIS WEEK: Completing this list will make a concrete difference in whether Massachusetts promotes abortion even over women's safety, and legalizes the passive killing of infants.
- If you've already submitted testimony, follow up by contacting Chair Claire Cronin and Vice-Chair Michael Day of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.
- If you have not submitted testimony, submit your statement today.
- Commit to calling each member of the committee one day this week and/or next during our Mobile Callbank (September 25 through October 9).
BONUS: Visit the the offices of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary this week or next.
For easy reference:
Chair Rep. Claire Cronin
Don't walk, run. There is nothing more critical to shelving this deadly bill than your non-stop vocal opposition.
Share the opportunity to reach our legislators with your friends, family, and neighbors, pro-life or pro-choice!
RESOURCES FOR EFFECTIVE ACTION BELOW:
Abortion rates have declined in the state of Massachusetts by 24% (2011-2018).
While abortion proponents, including Planned Parenthood's research arm, the Guttmacher Institute, propose various reasons for the steep decline, one obvious foundation for a drop in abortion is left out.
Women are receiving the support they need, and thus don't feel coerced into terminating a child.
This record-breaking drop in abortion could also be related to the growth and expansion of pregnancy resource centers, as well as a wider spread cultural shift that has more and more access to positive media, visual aids to the what humans look like, developing in-utero, and a millennial ethos that shies away from violence.
Massachusetts has opened 3-6 new pregnancy resource centers since this study began, including ClearWay Clinics in Worcester and Springfield.Read more
This is no drill. This Summer, our legislature could approve S.1209, and deny our women protective medical regulations, deny our children protections from sex predators, deny our infants life-saving medical treatment.
Anti-life demonstrators flooded the state house just last week in an attempt to pressure our lawmakers to approve this law.
Will you live in a world that discards the vulnerable, the preborn, our women and girls?
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s a challenge to actively be pro-life in Massachusetts. Particularly in Northampton, where I live, advocates for the preborn are few. Voices of abortion rights supporters drown out those of us who speak for the voiceless.
For many years, I responded with a relative non-response: silence born of intimidation. But gradually, my conscience awoke to the reality of the behavior that’s become “normal,” and smothered my fear.
Then I sprang into action born of love.
Love for women who get lies, when they most need support.
Love for fathers who never know, who are just as scared, or who buy the same lies.
Love for doctors whose sight fails them.
Love for politicians who trade lives for votes.
And aching love for innocent, lost members of our society, whose potential we will never know.
Meaningful action relieves the pain that abortion injects into our world.
Whereas sitting on the sidelines became increasingly uncomfortable for me, taking to the field energizes as no endorphin can do, especially when you play with a great team.
I know you love as I do.
So show your love in action. Join our team, advocate for the voiceless, and jump off the sidelines into a lifesaving game.
Or donate to bring another into this freeing, life-saving demonstration.
This year’s theme: Love in Action.
Recruit friends, bring family, post photos with the #LoveInAction hashtag, and show others how to play the game—and win.
It may not be popular to be pro-life here. It may be esier to stay home and keep quiet. But to defend the lives and rights of our vulnerable citizens, whether preborn or born, requires us to listen to our conscience and actively, boldly love.
See you on the Common,
Myrna Maloney Flynn
Vice President, Massachusetts Citizens for Life
Our team was interviewed by Boston Globe reporter, Deanna Pan. The article, focused on the women standing on the frontlines of the groundswell movement for authentic human rights in Massachusetts, spans the entire lifetime of MCFL.
Quoting longtime (now retired) board member, Fran Hogan, and reviewing the history of abortion in our state from the beginning, it closes on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood with our team.
Read it in its entirety here: For Women in Massachusetts...Dismantling Roe v. Wade.
Women are leading this movement, because we know that an assault on one vulnerable class of human beings is an assault on every class of human beings.
And that's not progress.
“I think Roe v. Wade is going to be obsolete whether it’s overturned or not,” she said. “It’s against science; it’s against progress; it’s against human rights; it’s against women.”
By Bridget Fay, Board of DirectorsTwo weeks ago, Georgia passed a landmark "Heartbeat Bill." The law provides that an unborn child is a person once a heartbeat can be detected; in the words of the law, "[i]t shall be the policy of the State of Georgia to recognize unborn children as natural persons," and " [u]nborn child' means a member of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb." Such a person, therefore, is protected by the laws of Georgia. The law requires that a physician who is performing an abortion must first check for a fetal heartbeat; if such a heartbeat exists, the abortion cannot be performed absent a medical emergency, threat to the health of the mother, or rape.
Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey assert that a state does not have an interest in protecting unborn children before viability. Georgia's law challenges Roe by providing an alternate point at which the state can protect preborn babies (i.e. the detection of a human heartbeat), which has the merits of being a clear indicator of human life, and being far more objective than the amorphous "viability" standard. Roe's companion case, Doe v. Bolton, establishes a "health exception" for abortion, and absurdly broad contours for such an exception. According to Doe, risks to both mental and physical health, even undiagnosable risks to mental health, are a justification for abortion. The result is that the "exception" overrides any limits a state may put on abortion. The Heartbeat Bill squarely attacks that intellectual dishonesty: it limits such an exception to the "substantial and irreversible physical impairment" of a pregnant woman's body. That exception is clear, objective, and designed to balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of their preborn children - exactly what Doe purports to do but obviously does not.
The Georgia law is revolutionary in both its recognition of unborn children as human beings and its confrontation of the culture of abortion. It is not just a law that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected; it is a law that expands child support to pregnant mothers. It revises the child homicide laws so that parents may recover for the death of a reborn child, not just a child who has already been born. It even changes the way Georgia handles taxes: expectant parents may list their preborn baby as a dependent minor. The law provides protections for doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who treat pregnant women for unrelated medical problems, if such treatment inadvertently causes a miscarriage.
When pro-lifers talk about creating a "culture of life," we mean an overhaul of the thousands of ways that our culture and laws assume that preborn children aren't people, expectant mothers aren't quite yet mothers, and women will solve their problems via abortion. Georgia's comprehensive attack on the evils of abortion is something that other states can emulate, and its comprehensive reformation of its laws highlight how pervasive abortion has become.