The Abortion Vaccine

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

At an intersection of both history and numbers, that is where we are.  

Historically, we mark one year since coronavirus surfaced in the United States, while also observing the 48th anniversary of legalized abortion.

Numerically, we mourn the 400,000 lives claimed by the pandemic of 2020, while also grieving more than 800,000 lives that perished last year in a much more enduring plague.

While applauding extraordinary efforts to save lives touched by a hostile virus, we lament everyday efforts to take smaller, completely helpless lives.

While eagerly welcoming a COVID vaccine produced in record time, we yearn for a long-awaited vaccine that will end prenatal dismemberment.

What we need is a cure for the sickness that has caused the premature demise of 62.5 million unique individuals.

For decades, the pro-life movement has been working toward a vaccination of sorts. One that fights not a petri dish viral culture but instead a culture of death that has gone viral.

Our antidote to abortion is comprised of scientific facts, fundamental civil rights, respect for natural law, abundant compassion, and practical resources. We inoculate the public with our witness and testimony, dialogue and debate, passion and prayers.

And the more we inject the culture with truth, the more we build an immunity to the lies that feed the abortion virus. The more we combat the insidious belief that any one life is disposable, the healthier we become as a human family.

Our efforts strengthen women and men who feel weakened by distortions and deceptions, empowering them to choose life.

Our pro-life “vaccine” creates a society welcoming to life no matter the circumstances because even the most difficult circumstances do not erase our humanity.

One we achieve herd immunity we will realize that there is no crisis that calls for killing and no crisis that can’t be overcome with love and understanding, help and hope.

We will have made abortion unthinkable.

That is the medicine we need to administer in ending the deadliest pandemic our country has ever known.  That is the vaccine for abortion.

Life is Truly a Miracle

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Miracles never get old. And we are on the verge of one.  A nine-month mystery will soon be revealed when we meet the grandchild we first learned about last spring.

We know not the gender nor the size nor the eye color, all determined from the very moment of conception. We know not the abilities, personality, or future of this life hidden from our view but just as alive as you and I.

We do know our amazing daughter has been busy doing what only women can do, something I described in another blog:

It is no small thing that we women are the life-bearers of the entire species. We alone can grow human beings in our bodies, craft a cerebral cortex, knit a network of veins, erect a skeletal system.  We alone can nourish this life with a perfect food forged by our miraculous bodies.  We literally make the men and women of tomorrow with our very own cells. Now that’s power. A power given no man.

But even as I marvel at this feminine super power, and celebrate its manifestation in our own daughter, I am cognizant of a sobering fact, one that is uncomfortable for me to even think about. Distressing for me to actually type. But it should be known.

In our country, even at this late stage of pregnancy, a woman can still legally abort her child. And her husband or boyfriend or family members would be powerless to do anything about it.

Under the facade of “reproductive health care,” fully-formed, pain-capable babies, just weeks, days, or even hours from birth can be put to death. 

Some believe this only happens if the health of the mother is threatened.  But health can be widely interpreted.

Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade, declared that the health of the mother may be “exercised in the light of all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient,” making abortion legal during all nine months of pregnancy and for reasons well beyond the life of the mother.  

Some may think that late-term abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life.

But it is possible to save both lives. If the mother’s life is in jeopardy, a baby can be delivered pre-term and provided with life-saving care. There is no need to kill the child in utero to preserve the mother’s life. Dr. Kendra Kolb, a neonatologist, explains this thoroughly in a Live Action video.

Some may believe such late term abortions are extremely rare and thus negligible.

But that too is not true. Accounting for about 1% of all abortions, late term abortions claim several thousands lives each year, viable babies that deserve protection from invasive and violent tools of destruction.

As I wait in joyful anticipation of a precious newborn grandchild, I also wait with a hopeful heart that all eyes will be opened to the sanctity of preborn human life, so that it is protected in every circumstance. Every single life is a miracle to be celebrated, and miracles never get old.

Pennsylvania Abortion Rates Rise; Pregnancy Resource Centers Provide Alternatives

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The number of abortions in Pennsylvania increased in 2019 by slightly more than 2% according to the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life.

Statistics released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health show 654 more abortions occurred in 2019 compared to 2018. In all, 31,018 abortions took place in 2019, with 25-29 year old women being the largest age group having abortions (29.9%), followed by 20-24 year old women (27%). Abortions for females under 18 dropped slightly to 2.4%.

Abortion among white women dropped slightly, while abortion among Black and Latino women increased. Chemical abortions increased by 4.6%. Over 47% of the women had experienced at least one prior abortion. Eighty-seven percent of the women were unmarried.       

Five counties accounted for 83% of total abortions: Allegheny, Delaware, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia, which itself accounted for 47% of the abortions.  An average of 85 babies died by abortion every day in 2019.

“It is disturbing to see an increase in abortion, especially late term abortion, when we know babies are pain-capable,” said Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.  “And it is alarming that there was a 59% increase in complications from abortions, putting vulnerable women at great risk while sentencing their children to death. Had Governor Wolf signed pro-life legislation such as the Dismemberment Bill in 2017, these numbers would be lower.”

But he and the abortion industry have no interest in decreasing abortion.

In contrast, Pregnancy Resource Centers across Pennsylvania have seen an increase in services, providing ultrasounds, material goods, life-skill classes and daycare referrals. “Women can find authentic care and support in the Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, Inc. (www.realalternatives.org ),” Finnerty added.

According to Kevin Bagatta, President and CEO of Real Alternative, Inc. “In 1995, Pennsylvania was the first state to provide taxpayer dollars dedicated to provide free services to women in unexpected pregnancies to encourage childbirth rather than abortion. To date, the program has served over 325,000 women of the Commonwealth.

“We are grateful to the citizens of the Commonwealth for the financial resources they provide to the program so 440 counselors throughout the state can serve thousands of women in unexpected pregnancies. Their dedication led to our program serving 11% more clients in 2019 than 2018,” said Bagatta.

“We must continue to reach out to women to let them know that help is available for themselves and their babies, whether they choose to parent or place for adoption.  They do not have to choose between their child and their future. They can have both,”said Finnerty.     

***************************************************************************************The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation is a grassroots right-to-life organization with members statewide.  As the state affiliate of National Right to Life, PPLF is committed to promoting the dignity and value of human life from conception to natural death and to restoring legal protection for preborn children.

Life is Still Winning

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Conversion. Risk. Progress. Betrayal. Resilience. Words familiar to some inside the pro-life movement, and words that Marjorie Dannenfelser knows well.

Words that can be found in Life is Winning: Inside the Fight for Unborn Children and their Mothers, a fascinating, informative, and encouraging book. As president of the Susan B. Anthony List, she provides a masterful summary of pro-life politics during the last few decades.

Once the pro-choice chair of her College Republicans club, Dannenfelser had viewed abortion as a “necessary evil.” But she then encountered “for the first time a principled and coherent argument against abortion on legal and moral grounds,” leading her to become passionately pro-life.

While interning at the Heritage Foundation, a mentor offered sage advice. To succeed in politics, figure out “what is missing, what needs to be done that no one else is doing, then put yourself in a position to fill that need.”

A few years later, working for a pro-life Democrat on Capitol Hill and immersed in battles over abortion legislation, Dannenfelser discovered that need: Identify and elect more pro-life women to political office. Thus, in 1993, the Susan B. Anthony List was born and Marjorie its first president.

Pitted against the older and very influential Emily’s List which raises millions each election cycle to promote pro-abortion candidates, the SBA List faced a multitude of challenges from the very beginning.  

First, raising money. Then, overcoming the view that abortion was a losing issue and should be discussed as little as possible. And then finding candidates to endorse.

But likening this endeavor to the field of dreams, Dannenfelser believed if you build it, they will come.

SBA List launched just as the Clinton presidency began. While in 1986, Clinton went on record as opposing abortion and government funding of abortion, by 1993, he was completely in line with the Democratic Party’s pro-abortion platform. In addition to signing executive orders that overturned more than a decade’s worth of pro-life gains, he would veto a ban on partial-birth abortion twice.

Dannenfelser reminds us that a certain Democratic Senator from Delaware voted to override both vetoes.  Unfortunately, Joe Biden has since fully embraced the party’s radical pro-abortion stance.

Although birthed during an unfavorable administration, the SBA List made incredible progress in a short time. Just one year into their mission, eight of the 15 SBA List-endorsed women won in the 1994 election, outperforming Emily’s List.

Eventually, SBA List discerned that its true mission was not to elect women to office but to end abortion. They decided to endorse pro-life male candidates.

In 2011, SBA List launched the Charlotte Lozier Institute to focus on science and statistics related to life issues. Then in 2013, they created the National Pro-Life Women’s Caucus to build pro-life politics from the bottom up—on the local and state levels.

Offering a clear timeline of elections, events, and legislation, Dannenfelser also provides lesser known information, a behind-the-scenes look at the political landscape surrounding the abortion issue during the last 27 years.

While recounting risks taken and successes gained, Dannenfelser is honest about setbacks, some crushing. She notes that some pro-life candidates wanted to call a “truce” on the abortion issue, feeling it was an unpopular issue that compromised their campaigns. Citing several election results as proof, Dannenfelser says there is no evidence that downplaying the life issue is advantageous to candidates.  

And then there is Donald Trump. Initially very skeptical about him prior to the 2016 election, Dannenfelser relates why she slowly embraced his candidacy, only to grow into an enthusiastic supporter.  She came to believe that Trump was finally a Republican nominee who would not “hide his pro-life light under a bushel” as so many had before.

And right she was. She details both well-known pro-life accomplishments of the Trump administration as well as personal anecdotes that demonstrate his sincerity where vulnerable life is concerned.

Published several months before the November 2020 election, this book builds a strong case for a second Trump administration.  Although that seems unlikely at this point, it is important to note the tremendous pro-life outcomes of the election, fruit of the SBA List and many other pro-life organizations across the country.

A historic number of pro-life women have been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to the existing 11 pro-life Congresswomen, seventeen more won their races, including eight who defeated a pro-abortion incumbent. And another pro-life woman was added to the US Senate, with the hope of yet one more after the Georgia election.

Dannenfelser believes these results prove a sleeping giant has been awakened in the pro-life movement. There is much work to do but the pro-life movement is bigger, stronger, and more united than ever before, and momentum continues to build on the side of life.  

Dannenfelser’s vision and determination are an inspiration and her story well worth reading. She and the SBA List are a big reason why Emily’s List is losing and life is still winning.

Opening Every Gift

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

In this season of gift-giving, pretty packages with glittery ribbons abound, stirring curiosity and creating anticipation.  

The completely unexpected gift is often the best. Someone takes us by surprise, filling us with a sense of delight and wonder as we carefully unwrap the layers to discover whatever treasure lies within.

Imagine, however, we never open the gift. Perhaps the packaging is not what we expected. Or the ribbon is knotted and the gift difficult to open. Rather than embracing this gift with joyful anticipation, we are discouraged and discard it. Left unopened, we never realize what awaited us.

When a young woman faces an unexpected pregnancy, she may feel overwhelmed by the gift of life she has been given.  Perhaps it doesn’t seem the right gift at the right time or under the right circumstances. There are knots and imperfections and fear of the unknown.

The abortion industry plays into these negative feelings and says it’s all right to discard the gift. That it’s no big deal.  That the gift of life is not a gift at all, but a burden to be rid of, a “problem” that can literally be thrown away.

And in a vulnerable moment, she may succumb to this distorted notion, allowing a unique and precious gift to remain forever unopened, its promise and potential never known.

There may be a short-lived sense of relief.  But that will eventually give way to a longer lasting sentiment: wonder at what might have been.  And who might have been.

Too many women know the ache of the unopened gift.

And too many lives, 62 million, have been discarded.

That is why we must always endeavor to help women in crisis open every gift of life. 

With strong support, these mothers can see through the imperfect packaging of an untimely pregnancy. By making resources available to them, they can undo difficult knots, peel back layers, and see the gift of precious human life revealed. A unique gift given to only them at that specific point in time.

A gift of life that can bring them or perhaps an adoptive family untold joy.

A gift of life that will impact the world as we experience its promise and potential.

As we exchange gifts this season, let us vow to cherish and support the gift of every human life, however it is “wrapped,” especially those gifts of life that are unexpected.

PA Pro-Life Federation’s Maria Gallagher Honored as Person of the Year 2020

By Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director

On behalf of the board of directors, chapters, staff, volunteers and the tens of thousands of grassroots members of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, I congratulate our Legislative/Political Action Committee Director Maria Gallagher for being selected as the Person of the Year 2020 by the Society of St. Sebastian.

Maria has been a lynchpin of the pro-life movement for a number of years.  Prior to joining our staff, Maria honed her pro-life advocacy skills at our sister organization, Ohio Right to Life.  During her 18 years at the Federation she has gained a well-deserved reputation across our state as the ‘go-to’ person on any topic related to the defense of the right to life. 

Maria is the tip of the spear when it comes to fighting for good pro-life legislation and stopping any legislation which erodes the right to life.  She bravely speaks truth to power when human lives are to be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency! 

Maria is a prolific pro-life writer who is featured across the country by National Right to Life News Today and LifeNews.com.

Dave Andrusko, editor of National Right to Life News Today, had high praise for Ms. Gallagher, “Maria Gallagher is as gracious as she is talented and as willing to help at the drop of a hat as any writer I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Her life-affirming, upbeat stories for National Right to Life News Today (which I often ask her to write at the eleventh hour) invariably receive the most ‘likes’ and ‘retweets.’ She is a gold mine of pro-life information and an instrumental contributor to the Pro-Life Movement.

Steven Ertelt, editor & founder of LifeNews.com, had this to say about Ms. Gallagher, “Maria is an amazing writer with a gift for pro-life storytelling. She has an uncanny ability to relate the pro-life message in feature stories and vignettes that touch the heart and soul. Her writing encourages people to consider the pro-life perspective or take action on their existing pro-life beliefs. Millions of people have read Maria’s work in LifeNews.com — perhaps even without knowing it. We’ll never how many people Maria has touched through her compelling writing but she is a pro-life treasure.”

Joe Kral, president of the Society of St. Sebastian, pointed out that Maria’s periodic articles for the Society’s pro-life weekly, Sebastian’s Point, are always on point and terrific.  He stated, “Without a doubt, Ms. Gallagher has been a tremendous asset. She constantly shows her love of human life and her ability to reach out to both politician and everyday citizen on these important issues. Maria’s hard work models the very essence of what St. Sebastian inspires us to do today.”

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation commends the Society of St. Sebastian for recognizing Maria’s outstanding sustained contributions to the pro-life movement.  The Society has amassed a tremendous body of pro-life scholarship for which we express our most sincere gratitude.

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

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.

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.)