A Ring Symbolizing Life

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

I wear on my finger a symbol of the Culture of Life.

It is a ring with two dates: 1972, the year before the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade was decided, and 2022, the year Roe was finally overturned.

The ring comes courtesy of COL (Culture of Life) 1972, a family owned and operated company in Pennsylvania. The company offers clothing and other merchandise which celebrates the incomparable gift of life. It was founded as an alternative to retailers that support Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation.

Each time I look at the ring, I am reminded of the nearly 50-year struggle to rescind a dangerous and lethal Supreme Court ruling. I mourn the more than 63 million preborn children who died as a result of that traumatic decision.

But I also have tremendous hope–that wrongs can be righted…that bad decisions can be reversed…and that compassion and sanity can be restored.

In essence, I wear an unusual type of promise ring–a symbol of the promise of the beauty of life. I wear the ring in expectation of a future in which each preborn baby and her mother are treasured and protected, and life is respected as a fundamental good.

Time to Correct the Error of Roe

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Even decades after slavery was abolished, there was a time in our country when it was legally acceptable to separate people by race. In fact, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation in the 1896 case Plessy vs. Ferguson, protecting the doctrine of Separate but Equal. It would be upheld by the Court seven times.

It took 58 years for the Court to see the error of its ways. It’s impossible to quantify the tremendous damage that Plessy did in stalling equal rights for all Americans. Finally, the Court’s landmark decision in the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case determined racial segregation of school children to be unconstitutional, and it became a cornerstone of the civil rights movement that led to de-segregation of other institutions.

Today, it’s hard for us to imagine how the Court in 1896 could have possibly thought that such a practice was constitutionally protected.  The doctrine of Separate but Equal with regard to race was long overdue for the ash heap of history.

In similar fashion, another Supreme Court precedent, should join it.  Where Plessey marginalized people based on race, Roe marginalizes people based on age and location. In a day of 4-D ultrasounds, fetal surgery, and ever-changing viability, it’s hard to imagine how the Court in 1973 could have possibly thought abortion to be a constitutionally protected right.

In every pregnancy, two separate and equal humans exist. From the moment of conception, a genetically unique human is formed, one who is inside the mother, yet NOT the mother.  Perhaps a different gender, eye color, or hand dominance. A person who has never before existed and never will again. A person whose future is impossible to predict and whose impact on the world can only be imagined.

Clearly human, created of human parents. Clearly living, as demonstrated by rapid growth. It is intellectually dishonest to say this is not a living human being.

In challenging this, the abortion supporter will frequently invoke personhood, saying that we are not really people with inherent dignity and rights until we possess sentience, abilities to feel, dream, plan, etc. Yet, one must ask, does a newborn infant possess these qualities? Or those with limited cognitive capacity? Or those tortured by addiction?  Are they, or others in likewise vulnerable situations, not persons?

Personhood cannot be qualified by arbitrary social constructs.  Defining personhood should be based on objective truth, and scientifically speaking, the indisputable truth is that human life begins at conception, just as it was indisputably true that our human dignity is not a function of race.

Justice Blackmun, in his Roe majority opinion, acknowledged that if the personhood of the fetus is someday established, Roe is doomed to collapse, as the 14th Amendment clearly protects the fetus’ right to life.

That day has come. Forty-nine years later, at the tragic cost of 63 million American innocent lives, wounded mothers, forsaken fathers, and a fractured society, it’s time to correct the error of Roe.

While Separate but Equal based on race has no place in our society, equal rights based on biology certainly should be guaranteed. Situational circumstances do not change an objective truth of who we are and how we came to be. We all have inherent worth from the moment of our conception. Every person, once in existence, should have the right to live.

Roe’s Feeble Foundation Threatened by the Tide of Truth

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

With the President, mainstream media, and Hollywood elites all in their corner, it would seem that the abortion lobby is living their misguided dream.

But recent news that the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban has sent them into a tailspin. They’re panicked that not only will the ban be upheld by a more conservative Court, but that Roe itself may be reversed. If there is strong legal precedent and overwhelming public support for abortion, as activists often claim, what are they afraid of?

The truth. Many in the abortion industry know what many pro-lifers know: Roe v. Wade was a decision built on proverbial sand, a feeble foundation that has been steadily eroded by science, experience, and reason over the last 50 years.  

Legal scholars on both sides of the issue acknowledge the shaky ground on which Justice Harry Blackmun’s majority opinion was based. His own pro-abortion clerk, Edward Lazarus, admitted years later, “As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible…And in the years since Roe’s announcement, no one has produced a convincing defense of Roe on its own terms.”

While abortion supporters often refer to the Constitutional right to abortion, the truth is there is no such thing, and there never was. Simply stated, there is no explicit right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution. So on what basis did the Court legalize abortion in 1973?

Roe said that a woman’s “right” to abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment. Yet, the amendment itself makes no mention of right to privacy.

“Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The Roe Court referred to a right to privacy that was invented in a 1965 case about contraception, Griswold vs. Connecticut. In that majority opinion, Justice William O. Douglas wrote of penumbras (shadows) formed by emanations (rays) of the Bill of Rights, and surmised that from these shadows and rays arose a “zone of privacy,” later referred by the court as the “right of privacy.”

In essence, Justice Douglas proposed that the Bill of Rights emanates other rights, and in the shadows of those other rights are additional rights, none of which are specifically declared in the Constitution.  It was on this precarious, ever-shifting bed of sand (and shadows) that the right to abortion as part of a right to privacy was founded. A fabricated, weak argument.

What is undeniably explicit in the 14th amendment are guaranteed fundamental rights: no State shall make a law depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny equal protection of law. The 14th amendment, first and foremost, upholds the right to life.  And yet this amendment is used to imply a right to privacy that is prioritized over an explicit right to life.

But what about the word person, another frequent protest of abortion supporters? Are fetuses persons?  Even Justice Blackmun himself conceded in his opinion that the right to abortion would not exist if the humanity of the fetus could be proved.  “If this suggestion of personhood is established, [Roe’s] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment,” he wrote.

What would a 2021 Blackmun say about this? Hidden in the womb, invisible to the human eye, the fetus was somewhat easier to de-humanize in 1973. But with the revelations of ultrasound, the evolving sciences of embryology and genetics, and the advancements of in-utero fetal surgery, it’s disingenuous to do so today.  Fetuses are as human as infants, toddlers, and senior citizens. Clearly, both science and technology have shown us the irrefutable proof that Blackmun sought. Those unwilling to admit to this obvious truth deliberately turn a blind eye to the evidence and begin playing language games in an effort to justify abortion.

The decision to legalize abortion was rooted in not just poor legal interpretation, but also deception. Roe was based onhttps://www.lifenews.com/2022/07/29/planned-parenthood-vp-caught-selling-aborted-baby-parts-named-ceo-of-new-abortion-biz/ the lie that Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) was raped.  Roe was supported by then-abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s grossly inflated, yet unquestioned numbers that thousands of women died in back alley abortions each year.  Roe’s majority opinion cited Larry Lader’s non-scientific book Abortion seven times, essentially using a piece of propaganda to justify a legal decision.

Roe is not immune to being overturned. As Justice Amy Coney Barret explained in her nomination hearings, Roe is not a super-precedent like the de-segregation case Brown vs. the Board of Education because it still faces many legal challenges in courts around the country. This vulnerability is what has the abortion lobby so worried. A tide of truth is creeping ever closer to washing Roe away.  

Overturning Roe will not suddenly make abortion illegal across this county. The abortion decision would go back to each state, and we all must be ready for such a pivotal moment in history, to rebuild a culture of life that is on solid legal ground.

A Film Too Important to Not See

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Where were you in 1973?

Perhaps you remember it well. Perhaps you weren’t even born.

I was five years old, blissfully unaware of the volatile changes occurring in our culture.

It would be many years before I would know what Roe v. Wade was. By that time, an abortion narrative had been carefully crafted and a misleading lexicon taken hold, phrases like “pro-choice”, “reproductive rights”, and even “access to health care.”

Which is why the movie Roe v Wade is so fascinating and so very relevant. It offers a fast-paced, fact-checked depiction of events leading to the most controversial court case of our time, a historical moment that preceded many Americans alive today.

For those familiar with the history of abortion in this country, this movie smoothly ties together main players and events, helping the viewer to see the big picture. For others, the film will expose how the true story of Roe has been omitted from decades of abortion propaganda.

Told through the lens of Dr. Bernard Nathanson (played by co-producer Nick Loeb), the movie captures his evolving relationship with abortion: from paying for a girlfriend’s abortion to co-founding the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) to becoming New York’s busiest abortionist. With over 70,000 deaths attributed to his practice, he became known as “The  King of Abortion” and “The Scraper.” But as the film depicts, Nathanson experiences a heart-wrenching epiphany that leads him to abandon his lucrative work and become an outspoken pro-life activist.

As Nathanson narrates his journey, we meet his sidekick Lader, who has authored a book called Abortion. He recruits friend and feminist Betty Friedan to the abortion cause. Reluctant to make abortion the focus of the women’s rights movement, Friedan does ultimately bring the National Organization for Women (NOW) into the fight, but observes, “You boys are only in favor of abortion because it’s cheaper than child support.”

For Larry Lader allies are not enough. He believes every cause has to identify an enemy, and for the abortion movement, he shrewdly chooses the biggest defender of the unborn, the Catholic Church. A master media manipulator, Lader is able to vilify the Church while promoting his newly-coined term “pro-choice” and his “abortion-on-demand” agenda in major publications.

Today’s viewers may be shocked to see the dominant role that men, not women, actually played in legalizing abortion.  In addition, to Nathanson and Lader, the Supreme Court at that time was all male, none of whom could have ever felt the flutter of life in their belly or witnessed an ultrasound image of that life.  The movie reveals that two justices, Potter Stewart and Harry Blackmun, actually had family members who volunteered at Planned Parenthood while Roe was in the courts, yet they didn’t recuse themselves.

A little-known fact explained in the movie is that arguments for Roe were heard twice, once in 1971 and then again in 1973. Justice Warren Burger (played by John Voight) insisted on the second hearing since two seats on the Court had been vacant the first time around. With a case as controversial as Roe, he felt a decision should be made by a full court. Tragically, in the time between oral arguments, Burger and Blackmun would switch their votes to be in favor of Roe, likely a result of media and family pressure.

An outstanding woman in the film is the poised and brilliant Dr. Mildred Jefferson, the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Recognizing that abortion violates the Hippocratic Oath she took, she decides she cannot sit on the sidelines.  “Life begins at conception. As a physician, I know this.” She goes on to become President of the newly formed National Right to Life Committee, now the oldest and largest pro-life organization in our country.

Although dense with people, events, and information, the movie flows easily, thanks to Nathanson’s retrospective voice framing the story. The extensive, detailed research that underscores the film is impressive, making this an excellent educational tool not only for today but for generations to come.

Many scenes will give the viewer pause: the arrest of clergy involved in a secret abortion-referral network, Planned Parenthood fundraising at the Playboy Mansion, Nathanson’s overseas training in “assembly-line” abortion methods, the emotional recitation of the diary of the unborn, and the stirring closing argument offered by Robert Flowers.

Many of the lines are thought-provoking. Throughout the film, Constitutional law professor Robert M. Byrn offers bits of wisdom, quotations from historical figures like Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall.

But perhaps it is his own words to his students that should resonate with us long after viewing the movie, impelling us to never stop advocating for the innocent, vulnerable child in the womb.

“Don’t you think someone’s hopelessness should motivate us to protect them, not destroy them?”

(For $12.99 plus tax, you can stream Roe v Wade to any device by clicking here.)


Cable TV Commentator’s Arguments for Legal Abortion Melt Away

newborn babe arms outstretched By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

The arguments made by pro-abortion advocates can melt away quicker than a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream on a sweltering July day.

Take, for instance, the defense of legal abortion posed by cable television commentator Tomi Lahren.

In her book Never Play Dead, Lahren dismisses the pro-life point of view as a merely religious objection to the practice of abortion.

Speaking of those who would like to see the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Roe v. Wade, Lahren claims they are engaging in an enterprise that would be “unconstitutional” “because we don’t legislate morality. We don’t nominate people to that position (Supreme Court Justice) just to carry out our religion.”

But in truth, the life issues cannot be narrowly defined as being a question of religion. Atheists can be pro-life. The case against abortion can be made on many legitimate grounds: scientific, Constitutional, and legal.

It does not take a divinity degree to recognize the fact that life begins at conception, that the moment of fertilization is a life-giving act which merits legal protection for the unique individual created.

You do not have to belong to a place of worship to understand that a person’s heart starts beating 24 days after conception and brain waves can be detected 44 days post-conception.

It is an act of intellectual engagement, not religious fervor, to argue that our founding fathers saw the right to life as a pillar of a stable society.

This is not to say that religion cannot be a motivator in seeking justice—certainly it was for modern day heroes such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But it is simply wrong to claim that people who recognize the inherent rights of children in the womb are somehow forcing their religion on other people.

Lahren rails against putting justices on the High Court to “interpret your religion.” That is not the position of the mainstream pro-life movement. Pro-lifers advocate an interpretation of the Constitution which is based on what that sacred document actually says, rather than what pro-abortion zealots wish it said.

Reason and common sense are key planks of the pro-life platform. They were back before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, and they continue to be today. And that is why the pro-life case is so persuasive, generation after generation.

Coming to You Live at WDAC

Michael and Katy at WDAC RadioBy Katy Schriner, intern, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

In Lancaster, PA on January 24th, Michael Ciccocioppo and I had the opportunity to be interviewed on Spotlight with WDAC’s Greg Barton. When I first stepped foot into the studio, there were so many rooms that I wanted to explore. From what I observed, on the first floor, the studio had 3 recording studios that consist of interviews, music, recordings and more. The style of each room was very old school-like. The wallpaper, equipment, tables and chairs brought up a feeling as if I had time traveled back to the 1970’s, which I enjoyed a lot.  The topic of this podcast was the March for Life and Pro-Life issues in Pennsylvania.

I sadly could not attend the March for Life but Michael was able to go to Washington D.C., while I stayed back at the office and watched the rally with Maria Gallagher. I thought that the march overall was very moving for those who had never seen or attended the march before.  I also thought it was interesting to hear all of the discussions between the news anchors and special guests. But hearing Michael’s experience is the FULL effect of the type of environment that he was in. He describes the atmosphere as “filled with joy” where everyone was friendly and loving towards one another. In addition, he believed there were more than 300,000 in attendance at the march. He emphasized that the March for Life is the largest and longest human rights demonstration in the world. There were several special guests that appeared at the rally before the march that included Ben Shapiro, Abby Johnson, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen with a special video guest appearance by President Donald Trump.

Within that podcast with Greg, Michael and I also got to discuss some issues and some goals that we hope to achieve. Recently, we have heard that the new bill in New York will allow women to have an abortion up to the point where the baby is born, which is outrageous. In Pennsylvania, we have strong representation in the House and the Senate, lawmakers who are pro-life and who will restrict any type of pro-abortion bill that will come their way. The only issue that we may have is our governor, Tom Wolf, who is pro-abortion and has shown that he will not make any efforts to change his mind on switching to pro-life. There is also another bill that is expected to be re-introduced in Pennsylvania, which is the Down syndrome bill. The bill intends that you cannot have an abortion just because the baby has Down syndrome, to prevent a form of complete discrimination. We already have a bill in Pennsylvania which states that you can’t have an abortion because you do not like the sex of the baby.

This year is the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation’s 40th anniversary, Michael points out in the podcast. Since 1979, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation has been the largest and the longest running pro-life organization in Pennsylvania, which has made it trustworthy. It has made great strides in reducing abortion in the Commonwealth. For instance, the latest update in 2017 from the Department of Health shows the numbers of abortions in Pennsylvania have dropped down to 30,000, which is the lowest that we have seen. With all our hard work and dedication for pushing forward for Pro-Life, this October there will be a banquet to remember and recognize all that we have done in Pennsylvania for the movement. It’s incredible that our efforts to end abortion have grown dramatically throughout the decade.

Before we ended the podcast, there was one question that stood out the most, which was if someday Roe vs. Wade will be gone. Michael and I both agree that someday that Roe vs. Wade will be a thing of the past but the next mission is to have those states that are pro-abortion such as New York get laws passed protecting preborn children and their mothers from harm.

Change of Hearts in Gettysburg

Michael Ciccocioppo at Adams County Roe event


By Katy Schriner, intern, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

“There is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth, but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won’t listen to sound doctrine but will blithely follow their own misguided idea.” That is the quote that best represents the issue we have with abortions still being legal. On January 22nd, 46 years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision, known as Roe v. Wade. This decision has led to the legalization of abortion in all 50 states in the U.S. As a result, more than 60 million preborn babies, HUMAN BEINGS, are not with us on earth today.

On January 22nd, 2019, citizens of Gettysburg gathered outside the Adams County Court House on a cold winter day, standing for one goal, one purpose, for Life! With an audience of about 70 people, Executive Director Michael Ciccocioppo along with two others, gave the most humbling, heart-warming presentation that these people needed to hear. The first speaker to start things off was John Santino, the husband of Ruth Santino, the Adams County Chapter, Pennsylvanians Humans for Life President. John began by giving his greatest appreciation for people coming out and talked about what it meant to be standing in front of the courthouse on that date. John reminded people that by standing up for what you believe, your voice can be heard by not just the people you are around, but by those beyond the crowd.

But the most important voice to be heard throughout this rally was Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Executive Director Michael Ciccocioppo. His story is poignant, with his parents only being seniors in high school when they found out they were pregnant with Michael. Both of their families were very church-going people. They both were scared and ashamed, because they knew that their families would have found their behavior unacceptable. So what did they do you may ask? Well they had decided to keep it a secret from their families and once they had graduated from high school, they drove down to Hagerstown, Maryland and got married. Six months after that, Michael was born into this world! If his parents had aborted Michael and split up, Michael would’ve been a statistic–one abortion, and then that also would’ve meant that Michael’s other 14 siblings wouldn’t have existed as well. Michael proposed the idea to the crowd why they all have gathered on that day: to be a visible witness to the tragedy of so many lives lost in our society.

Overall, I thought the rally in Gettysburg was a success for those who attended and also for those on the street who heard the words of these amazing spokesmen and decided to stay and listen to what they had to say. The other thing that caught my attention  was the number of different age groups and genders surrounding the courthouse. Seeing children as small as about 6 years old to elders about age 70 is incredible to witness; viewing them listening to these speakers and seeing their eyes so focused on the spokesmen is such an experience! Michael ended his talk on this note: “Our cause is a righteous cause. Our minds are smart enough to understand the science of human life. Our eyes can see the uniqueness of every human being from conception to natural death. And our hearts cry out for those who cannot cry out from their mothers’ wombs: STOP THE KILLING. PROTECT INNOCENT HUMAN LIFE. STOP ABORTION NOW”.



Anything is Possible–Including an End to Legal Abortion

THONBy Katy Schriner, intern, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

As an intern, I am learning all about the different organizations, chapters, and resource centers that help those who are unsure about keeping a baby or have been affected by abortion. There was some information that stood out to me that I would like to share.

The first piece of information I would like to impart is that The Virginia Society for Human Life became the first statewide right-to-life organization in the United States in 1967. Secondly, on November 4th, 1980, Ronald Reagan and George Bush (Republican Pro-Life Candidates) defeated President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale (Pro-Abortion), which was the first year that the NRL PAC was involved in elections. This had so much influence that 11 senate seats switched from pro-abortion to pro-life. Finally, the one fact that had stood out to me the most is that the abortion rates are at their lowest level since Roe vs. Wade; numbers were as high as 1,608,600 in 1990 and now the numbers are as low as 926,190. Still too many–but progress nonetheless.

There’s a way of life that I follow and that is “Anything is Possible”. When you put your mind to it, it motivates you to want to become better and make a difference in something significant. Besides Pro-Life, I am also involved in Penn State THON, which raises money for kids with pediatric cancer. The money helps families not to have to see a single medical bill with the aid of the Four Diamonds Foundation.

In less than 30 days, I will be standing for 46 hours at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College with no sitting or sleeping at this year’s Penn State THON. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that your efforts to help those out who need it make your life and self-esteem better and everything you say or do matters to someone, even when you don’t think that it will. Just like the campaign to cure cancer, the Pro-Life Movement has grown significantly and has helped millions of people. It continues to strive for its goal to have Roe vs. Wade out of the picture for good. No matter your size, age, race, and gender, you can make a difference and anything is possible.


A Day in the Life of the Pro-Life Movement

NRLLifeWorthDefendingBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

When the men of the U.S. Supreme Court issued the tragic ruling Roe v. Wade in 1973, I suppose they thought they had settled the issue of abortion.

But 46 years later, the issue is anything but settled.

I have been reminded of that truth this week, in my work at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life.

Calls have been pouring in from people wanting to make a public stance against abortion. An enthusiastic college student wants to partner with us to grow his campus pro-life group. And a second student–equally on fire for life–begins a long-anticipated internship with us next week.

And that is just a tiny taste of what’s been going on in the pro-life movement in Pennsylvania as 2019 is still in its infancy.

Nearly a half-century after Roe, the ranks of the pro-life movement are swelling…people are more engaged than ever before…and young people are embracing the call to protect innocent human life.

A day in the life of the pro-life movement is filled with successes, both large and small. And nothing is as powerful as the knowledge that an innocent human life…vulnerable to destruction…has been saved.

As the journey to overturn Roe continues, countless lives are being saved along the way. And that is a cause for great hope–both for the pro-life movement and for our nation.

Roe Still Must Be Overturned

down-syndrome-group-picture-baby-kidsBy Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

This week the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up two cases involving the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation.

The cases involved the states of Kansas and Louisiana, which chose to take Medicaid money away from the abortion giant, which has been involved in a range of controversies. Those controversies include everything from disregard for the sacred nature of baby body parts to charges of covering up the sexual abuse of minors.

Because the Supreme Court declined to take up the cases, lower court rulings barring states from taking Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood stand.

Naysayers are quick to use this ruling to claim defeat for the pro-life movement’s efforts to stop abortion. But the fact of the matter is that the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion, Roe v. Wade, can and must be overturned.

It is an inherently flawed decision. It claims a “right” which appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. The ruling came long before medical science was able to save “micropreemie” babies and 4D Ultrasound provided a window to the womb.

Case law needs to catch up with medicine. The courts need to recognize the vast body of knowledge which demonstrates the humanity of the preborn child. The judicial system should also listen to the cries of the many, many women nationwide who have been harmed by abortion.

For the sake of our children, for the well-being of women, and for the good of our nation, Roe must go.