Bridges that Build a Culture of Life

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Some songs just resonate with us.  That was the case for my teenage self with Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water.  Faithful friendship, self-sacrifice, a reason to hope.  The slow, low start that builds to a bright, buoyant finale, signaling the journey from dark despair to shining dreams in the distance.

                                           When times get rough

                                           And friends just can’t be found

                                           Like a bridge over troubled water

                                           I will lay me down.  

          Throughout high school, I tried to be a bridge for friends in need. But during Thanksgiving break in 1986, everything changed. A college freshman with a positive pregnancy test, I was now drowning in my own troubled waters of fear and uncertainty. Who would be my bridge?  Who would carry me through?

           Raised in a religious home, I had an interior trust that God would always be with me.  But did He not need human hands to accomplish His work?

           I’ve had 34 years to reflect on the bridges that carried me to the other side, to a safe shore, to a place not without pain or sacrifice, yet rich in rewards and goodness.

          My bridges were many: first and foremost, my then-boyfriend/now husband. Then our parents, siblings, extended families, and friends. None could rescue us from the turbulence we would face during some very difficult years, but all of them in their own way supported our desire to choose life for our child. Their role cannot be overstated.

          But there were others too, many who may not even know how critical they were to our journey toward a new life.

           Like my college roommate, who was a shoulder to cry on, offering wise words and loving support through it all.  She confessed she didn’t know what she’d do in my situation but understood that abortion was not an option for me. My first bridge, she “mothered” me while I was away at school.

          And there was the admissions counselor at my new university, who made my transfer as smooth as possible. I was so grateful that he excused a pregnant me from a gym requirement and that he found a way to have a large academic scholarship transferred to my new school. He was a bridge to a fresh start on my educational path.

           Another bridge was the kind couple who provided an apartment over their law office for a very reasonable rent.  Generous and hard-working, they gave us much more than housing, with their own example of marriage, family, and virtue having a great impact on us. They were also a bridge to my husband’s path to law school.

          Many more selfless people carried us through troubled waters, “laying themselves down” in beautiful gestures that mirrored Divine Love itself. For all of these “bridges,” I am thankful every day.

            I pray that I remain open to being a bridge in some way to others in need, especially to women and their pre-born babies.  No woman should ever feel trapped, forced to enter a sea of despair that leads to the death of her own child.

          May we in the pro-life movement continue to be bridges of love and support that carry women and their children safely to the shores of life, where a sense of peace and promise of hope await.

          These are the bridges with which we will build a renewed and shining culture of life.

                                Sail on, silver girl

                                Your time has come to shine

                                All your dreams are on their way

Inside the Abortion Mindset: Illogical and Slippery

Stephanie Gray Connors, pro-life apologist

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

It was a huge admission: a pro-abortion professor conceding that we are living human beings from the moment of fertilization.

How then could he justify abortion, the deliberate killing of that human life?

In a recent debate co-sponsored by Harvard Right to Life and Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Peter Singer laid out his case in defense of abortion, while pro-life apologist Stephanie Gray Connors offered strong argumentation against it.

It was a robust but civil exchange of opposing viewpoints. By the end, the absurdity of the argument for abortion was evident.

The resolution being debated was Abortion is Immoral. In her opening statement, Gray Connors offered two assumptions that she believes everyone can agree to:

  1. All humans are equal, and thus it is wrong to deliberately end the life of some humans.
  2. Parents have a responsibility to care for their children, not kill them.

Singer, however, disagreed that all humans are equal, claiming that in order to have moral standing, we must possess certain “capacities.” Since embryos and fetuses are not self-aware, do not have desires, and cannot plan for the future, he contends they have no moral standing.

He acknowledged that newborns do not possess these qualities, nor do some people with disabilities, and so he believes they also lack moral standing.  Apparently, he is an advocate for infanticide and euthanasia as well.

When pressed, Singer acknowledged that a 2 year old might have moral standing, but he wasn’t sure about a 6 month old and would not draw any definitive line as to when we are “awarded” moral standing. Insisting that age is not the qualifying criteria as much as capacity, he said, for example, it would be morally acceptable to kill a 50 year-old who lacks self-awareness due to a brain injury.

In Singer’s world, it’s a very slippery slope. At any given time, you or I or he could lack moral standing based on an injury or illness. And we could be extinguished.

Gray Connors countered him by saying capacity to think is a function of age. A one-celled zygote does not yet have a developed brain that allows her to demonstrate her inherent capacities but by her very nature those capacities are still part of her human condition.  It is time alone that will enable greater demonstration of her capacity. She is young, but she is not less.

In fact, Gray Connors stated that the notion of older humans killing younger humans because capacity is still developing is the ultimate form of ageism and bullying. 

It is survival of the fittest mentality in which the powerful terminate the weak. 

According to Gray Connors, Singer is exclusive, not inclusive; being human is not enough, we must be “human plus.” Further, she points out that capacity as a criteria for moral standing is arbitrary, as it can differ amongst individuals and even within a person’s lifetime.

Another revealing exchange concerned suffering. Singer admitted the issue is complicated when the fetus becomes pain-capable, which he sets at 27 weeks gestation (more recent research says much earlier). Rather than put a limit on abortion, Singer puts forth the idea of mitigating suffering by anesthetizing the fetus (and I suppose the newborn, disabled, elderly, etc.)

Singer believes if the fetus does not suffer pain, then it’s ok to kill her.

But as Gray Connors pointed out, something can be wrong even if it doesn’t involve suffering. She gave the example of a person who is undergoing surgery, sedated and unaware of a murderer in the operating room. By Singer’s criteria, this person lacks moral standing as well. Is it morally acceptable to kill him?

While Singer is a renowned animal rights activist who seeks to alleviate the killing and suffering of animals (who don’t have the capacity that he demands in humans), he is just fine with killing innocent children. In fact, he scolded Gray Connors who is pregnant with her first child for not being a vegan.

In her closing statement, Gray Connors stated we should strive to eliminate suffering but not the sufferers. She recounted her experience working in a failure-to-thrive clinic in Romania, where she cared for a baby girl suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome and weighing a mere 6 pounds at 6 months of age.

By being gently rocked and sung to, “she came alive with love.”  Gray Connors was teary talking about how this one fragile little life, thought to be disposable by Singer, is now thriving.

How can anyone argue against that?

(The entire debate can be viewed at

Women are leaping forward, not turning back!

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Fear is a powerful weapon. And it is being employed full force right now.

Some feminists are forecasting that the appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court will “turn back the clock” on women, erasing any progress made toward equal opportunities in education, the job market, and the public square.

What could possibly lead them to launch such a claim?

Ironically, a brilliant, successful woman. One whom they should be celebrating with abandon, for she represents so much of what the feminist movement has strived to accomplish. 

Although she has had the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association, stellar recommendations from colleagues and former students, an unmatched intellect, and the ability to be both simultaneously assertive and saintly, she has failed to win the approval of hard-core feminists, who fear that she will be the tipping point to the end of Roe vs. Wade. 

It’s really all about abortion.

While Amy Coney Barrett has expressed pro-life views in her personal life, no one knows for sure how she or the rest of the Court would rule as jurists in upcoming cases. She has pledged to interpret the Constitution as written and not legislate from the bench.

But fear is the focal point of those clinging to the distorted notion that women need to end a life in order to succeed. Everyone from Senators to singers are sounding the alarm of panic.

What these faux feminists fail to acknowledge is that their abortion mindset is limiting to women, not empowering. It says that you aren’t “enough” to have a child and pursue your dreams. That the very essence of your femininity is a detriment.  That we must mute our body’s beautiful capability to bring forth new life in order to achieve.

Amy Coney Barrett’s life says otherwise.  The mother of seven children and a former college professor, she is the epitome of empowered.  She is the new face of feminism.

Her life itself is a message to present and future generations of women. True feminism is not an either/or proposition that limits your roles, but an and/both invitation to fulfill your potential.

We as a society owe it to all women to pursue true feminism, not one that pits us against our own children or limits our career choices. But one that honors our natural and unique role as life-bearers alongside anything else we aspire to be. A giant leap forward!

Who Do We Rescue First?

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

An occupied house is engulfed in flames. Who do you rescue first?

A ship is sinking. Who gets priority in the lifeboats?

Confronted with life-threatening scenarios, we are forced to make sudden choices, sometimes on instinct alone.  Those instincts prompt us to run toward and rescue the most vulnerable, the very young or the very old. Those unable to find their own way to safety. Those who would perish without our help.

Faced with a multitude of issues, should we not prioritize rescuing those whose lives are in the greatest danger, those most marginalized?

When an estimated 100 voiceless human beings are exterminated every hour in this country, do they deserve our voice?

When almost two-thirds of the women who abort say they feel coerced into ending their own child’s life, should we make them a priority?

When states pass laws allowing babies who survived an abortion to be left to die, should we draw a line?  

Or when livers and kidneys of aborted babies are auctioned off for thousands of dollars, do we dare speak up?

Of course, there are other issues. 

But at what cost?

Are we willing to sacrifice millions more lives in order to pursue a “better society”? Are we willing to ignore this slaughter because some “good” is promised if we just look the other way? Are we then like others in history who have tolerated evil because of some perceived benefit?

This is not just another issue. We are speaking of a genocide, with almost one-fifth of the American population deliberately and violently deprived of life. And we defend this how?

That they are not living? That they are not human? The violent dismemberment or burning of helpless humans, many pain-capable, is simply not defensible.

Abortion kills the pre-born, but it also sears the soul of society. In devaluing human life, abortion teaches us that inherent human dignity does not exist, leading to only more evils. Life, all life, is cheapened. What have we become?

Lest someone argue that we will always have abortion, keep in mind the abolitionist movement of the 19th century. When slavery ended, it is estimated that only about 2% of the American population were active in the abolitionist movement. They persisted in rejecting the dehumanization of an entire class of people. Ultimately, they brought an end to an institution that was intrinsically evil.

We must persist in doing the same.

It is not just a house on fire, but our very country. Who do we rescue first?

My Unexpected Pregnancy is Now….

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Fear is often the dominant emotion when a young woman realizes she is unexpectedly pregnant. Fear of how her life will change.  Fear of what people will say. Fear that she isn’t strong enough, rich enough, or mature enough.  Fear she won’t have the support she will need. 

The fear can be blinding, making her unable to see beyond the present moment, beyond the potential obstacles, and into a possible future. 

I know that fear. I felt it when I was 18.

This fear can drive a young woman to seek an option that seems to offer immediate relief: abortion. No one will have to know and I can get on with my life.

But abortion doesn’t erase the pregnancy, as though it never happened. Abortion takes a child’s life. Many post-abortive women (and men) years later experience guilt and shame that manifests as depression, anxiety, addiction, and relationship issues.

What if we could help young mothers and fathers see beyond those moments of fear and into a future they could live with? 

What if we help them envision the potential that lies ahead, not just for their child and for themselves, but for the generations to come?

That is the inspiration behind our new social media campaign “My Unexpected Pregnancy is Now….” We are asking women, men, and couples to share a picture with the child for whom they chose life and to tell us something about that child.

What a powerful witness for LIFE!  Seeing that so many others did not let fear drive their decision! Seeing that a precious and unrepeatable person is here today to live and to love and perhaps have children of their own. Giving encouragement to those who have doubts.

Could your story be a sign of hope to someone in crisis?  

If so, please post a picture with signs telling about your journey on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and use #myunexpectedpregnancy and #paprolifefederation.

If ever there was a time to be a witness for LIFE, it is now. 

Let’s show all the world that there’s always a reason to choose LIFE!

Biden and Me: Same City, A World Apart

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

By chance, Joe Biden and I happened to return to Scranton on the same day.

We were both born in the Electric City, into Catholic families who identified with the ideals of the Democratic Party.

Biden lived there for 10 years, while I stayed for 24.

It’s true. You can leave Scranton, but Scranton never leaves you.

Yet our common ground seems to end there. The former Vice-President and I differ on several points, but most importantly on the issue that claims the single greatest loss of life each and every day: abortion.

I went to Scranton to present to high school students. If Biden had attended my morning talk, he would have heard some uncomfortable truths.

Such as every medical school textbook acknowledges that human life begins at the moment of conception. Now there’s some science we should follow.

And that since 1973, much of Biden’s constituency, in fact, 18%, of the US population has been aborted. Almost every fifth voter (and their children and grandchildren) are missing.

Joe could have held the fully-formed 12 week-old and 20 week-old fetal models, representing babies that are legal to abort in Pennsylvania for any reason whatsoever, even though the latest scientific research indicates these pre-born children might be pain-capable.  

He could have learned a lot from the three dozen young people in the room who are grateful to be alive. They are the survivors of the abortion genocide.

But Biden didn’t attend my talk, and I was not invited to his Town Hall campaign event. If I were, I would have asked him a few things.

Such as how he feels about receiving the endorsement of Planned Parenthood when they have been caught illegally selling baby body parts to tissue procurement companies.

And why he chose as a running mate a politician who is so rabidly pro-abortion, she actually targeted pregnancy resource centers in California, requiring them to promote abortion.

I would ask if he thinks it’s a problem that African-American women are five times more likely to abort their children than white women, or if he finds it offensive that 79% of abortion centers are in minority neighborhoods.

Since he frequently invokes his Catholic faith as he campaigns, I would have asked if he is familiar with section 2270 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which says Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception or section 2272 that states Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense.

There’s a lot more I would like to ask this candidate running for the highest office in our country.

Most importantly, I would ask Biden how he expects to make good on his promise to reclaim the “soul of the nation” when he has sold his own to the abortion lobby.

Pro-Life Leader: Senator Marsha Blackburn

By Maria V. Gallagher,
Legislative Director

            In her new book, The Mind of a Conservative Woman, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) cites the sanctity of innocent human life among the principles she holds most dear.

            Her appreciation for the lives of the most vulnerable grew out of an experience she had when she was young, playing piano for a worship service. She reports that many of the people who attended the service had Down syndrome.

            “As I got to know them, I was always struck by how happy they were, how productive they seemed to be and in their own special way. Their sweet spirit and joyous singing would thrill me.”

            Blackburn was deeply saddened by the fact that the majority of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in their mothers’ wombs are aborted. “Who are we to say that such lives are not beautiful and productive and meaningful in their own way? Where did we get the right to decide who deserves death and before even one day of these lives is lived?” Blackburn asks.

            Her experience spawned her strong opposition to the pro-abortion agenda of the world’s largest abortion operation, Planned Parenthood.

            “It is the arrogance of this organization that gets me most,” Blackburn writes. “They dare to tell mothers that they have the right to decide if the child they bear should live or die…When a child is aborted, a life is ended. Always. Forever.”

            Blackburn is among the strong women in Congress who boldly and unapologetically stand up for the rights of the most innocent and helpless among us. With her book, she is once again raising her voice against what she describes as the barbarism of abortion.

            It is women like Blackburn who are leading the U.S. onto the path of pro-life victory. Countless numbers of lives will be saved and hearts will be changed as a result of their efforts.

Many Voices, One Undeniable Truth

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

A former abortion worker, a religious sister, and a Chinese exile all walk into a political convention.

And history was made.

Never before has a political convention so boldly proclaimed a pro-life message. 

Never before have such a diverse group of speakers united to proclaim what should be a self-evident truth in the United States of America:

Life is not a privilege granted by government but a right endowed to us by our Creator.

Tragically that right that has been denied to over 61 million pre-born American lives since 1973.

While too many in our country overlook the fundamental and inalienable right to life, those who spoke at the RNC do not, and they would not be silenced.

In the face of cancel culture, a hostile media, and a well-funded abortion lobby, they courageously declared on a national stage that abortion is a horrible wrong that can and must be made right.

They shared their life experiences, varied and complicated, to show that fighting for the most marginalized is the right thing to do, the American thing to do.

That is a message that has been muted in the past but is now finding its voice again.

I cannot help but think back to 1992, when my personal hero and fellow Scrantonian, the late Governor Robert Casey Sr. was denied the chance to speak at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because of his strong pro-life views, a position he refused to surrender to a political platform.

It was a turning point for many pro-lifers, including myself.

What would Governor Casey say about this Republican National Convention that didn’t just subtly whisper a pro-life sentiment but instead shouted a pro-life mandate loudly, clearly, and proudly for the world to hear?

I think he would be glad that someone finally had the courage to profess truth in a culture of lies. 

I think he would admire the Republican Party for its defense of life as our first civil right.

And I think he would agree that President Donald J. Trump is the most pro-life President we’ve ever had.  

(Check out President Trump’s pro-life record.)

Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation PAC Endorses President Donald J. Trump

For Immediate Release

Contact: Maria V. Gallagher, PAC Director


            (Harrisburg) The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Political Action Committee, representing tens of thousands of people throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is pleased to endorse President Donald J. Trump for re-election.

            “President Trump has been a tireless champion for preborn babies and their mothers,” said Maria V. Gallagher, PAC Director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life. “He has definitely earned the title ‘most pro-life President in U.S. history,'” Gallagher added.

            President Trump restored the important “Mexico City Policy,” which ensures that hard-earned taxpayer dollars are not spent on organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas. His Health and Human Services Department issued regulations that safeguard Title X funding from facilities that perform or refer for abortions. His Administration also stopped funding for the United Nations Population Fund because of its involvement in China’s forced abortion program.

            The President has also appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justices and other federal judges who have vowed to interpret the Constitution as written, rather than writing pro-abortion law from the bench. He has appointed numerous pro-life advocates to executive positions, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.

            “President Trump also supports legislation which would ban brutal late-term abortions where babies are torn limb by limb from their mothers’ wombs,” Gallagher said. “President Trump has faithfully and consistently protected the most vulnerable among us, and for that he has our enthusiastic support!”

            Pennsylvania is considered one of the key battleground states in the November 3rd election. In 2016, the Keystone State stunned the world by contributing to Donald Trump’s upset victory against pro-abortion extremist Hillary Clinton.

            This year’s Democratic Biden-Harris duo is considered to be the most radically pro-abortion Presidential ticket in U.S. history. Biden-Harris supports taxpayer funding of abortion and vows to expand the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, which has led to the deaths of more than 61 million preborn Americans.   

Un-masking the Wolf Administration

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Vulnerable people, whatever their age, deserve protection.

But even prior to the pandemic, the Wolf Administration failed to protect our elderly by ignoring long-standing concerns in Pennsylvania nursing homes, according to a Spotlight PA expose.

“We are facing an elder care crisis. And we continue to ignore it at our own peril,” acknowledged the state Auditor General, a Democrat himself, in 2019.  

And then 2020 brought a novel virus. 

The overwhelming majority, almost 70% of COVID-19 deaths in Pennsylvania, have occurred in nursing homes, the fifth highest in the nation for deaths involving long term care residents, according to a July 30 New York Times article.

Could lives have been saved had the Wolf Administration acted upon findings from 2016?

Four years ago, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale reported several problems to the administration including:

-Low minimum staffing requirements, long criticized as “totally unsafe”

-poorly trained nursing home inspectors who were often too “cozy” with facilities

-and a low 2.7 hours of daily care per resident, substandard to the federal recommendation of 4.1 hours of daily care

While these unresolved concerns were highlighted again last year by the auditor general, to this day, the Department of Health has failed to issue the reforms they’ve long promised.

Incredibly, it was into this already stressed system of elder care that the state ordered “stable” COVID-19 hospital patients, putting other residents and the staff themselves at great risk.

And it was in the following month we saw the COVID-19 death toll peak in Pennsylvania, with the highest count at 186 deaths on April 26.

In between, the Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, removed the Secretary’s own mother from a long-term care facility.

Initially, an emergency response plan was developed for nursing homes. It was never fully implemented. Rather, a far more limited effort was activated in mid-April, but significant outbreaks had already taken hold.

In addition, the administration waived existing requirements, allowing nursing homes to operate even if they fell below state staffing levels.

At the same time, the safety net of in-person inspections has been suspended, replaced mostly with “virtual inspections.”

Family visits have also been halted, leaving little to no accountability for the facility, no advocacy for the residents, and an isolated population of elderly trapped.

Those in the twilight of their lives, highly dependent on others, certainly deserve better than this. And nursing home staff, dedicated to caring for them, deserve more support.

It’s difficult to understand why the Wolf Administration placed recovering patients into an already strapped system without an adequate plan to protect the parties involved.

It’s difficult to understand why for four years deficiencies were not addressed.

And it’s difficult to understand that while so much time, energy, and resources have been put into stopping the spread of COVID-19 among the general public, comparatively less effort has been spent protecting the elderly population experiencing the highest rates of death.

It seems the Wolf Administration has not just been wearing a mask, but blinders as well.

The lives of the elderly have an inherent value and dignity and the state has a duty to protect them from known harm.

To not do so amounts to passive euthanasia.