Where Women’s History Month Falls Short

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Because I am a woman one might expect me to whole-heartedly embrace the celebration of Women’s History Month during March. After all, this is an opportunity to celebrate my ancestral sisters, applauding their testing of boundaries and breaking of barriers.  And for the most part, I greatly respect the legacy left by these brave women, reminded that whatever I might accomplish, I stand on their shoulders.  So why the hesitation?

While grateful to the trailblazers who’ve cleared a path for subsequent generations, I am deeply saddened by the collateral damage that has ensued in the struggle toward equality.  For in our effort to achieve one thing, some women mistakenly thought we had to sacrifice another. And what we’ve lost changes the very essence of who we are.

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. A power and a privilege that should not be taken lightly. Or tossed away. Or aborted.

But in the fight to have opportunities equal to those of men, some have confused “equal to” with “same as”.  Eager to embrace the masculine, with all its power and promise, some have forsaken the feminine, abandoning a gift that is uniquely given to women.

Too often we women are lumped together as the women’s movement, portraying us as united in support for the so-called “right” to abortion. But many women, perhaps a majority, do not believe that abortion is a path toward liberation or social justice or equality.

Rather, we pro-life feminists understand abortion as another form of oppression: forcing women to choose between birthing the burgeoning life within or ending that innocent life because of fear, pressure, or lack of resources. Abortion supporters promote a world of either/or, as in either sacrifice your child or you can’t succeed, while ironically claiming that they are all about choice.

But true feminism doesn’t limit women’s choices, nor force them to deny what makes them uniquely women. True feminism promotes a world of and/both, a world where motherhood and career aspirations can coexist and be fully supported. A world where women need not choose death for their children to walk through the doors that have been opened to us.  That is the world for which first generation feminists like Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul fought, and it is to that noble mission the modern women’s movement should return.

Alongside all the amazing accomplishments women have achieved, we should also celebrate and revere the vocation of motherhood.  On our journeys to the board room, operating room, and courtroom, we should view fertility as a gift to be treasured, not a “disease” to be treated. We should see the potential of our own children and the legacy we can leave the world by investing our time and love in them. While celebrating women’s history, we should not be ruthlessly exterminating the history-makers of tomorrow.

With the great progress the pro-life movement is making in sharing the truth and beauty about human life in all its stages, I am hopeful that future Women’s History Months will not rely on abortion as a necessary step toward women’s success in society, but will instead, be a celebration of all that a woman is and all that she can be, including the sacred, irreplaceable, and incredibly rewarding role of mother.  

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.

A Pro-Life Christmas Story


By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

I vividly recall the scene, since the details are forever etched in my memory.

I stood before the abortion center, knowing that each car parked there represented a tiny, irreplaceable human being who was being led to death.

It was a sobering sight–all the more so because it was near Christmas.

There is something particularly surreal about being present at an abortion facility at Christmas time. After all, at this time of year we recall an unmarried teenage Mom who gave birth to the child Christians would call the Savior.

Mary, of course, had her Joseph. Far too often, women today are left abandoned by the fathers of their children. It is that desperation that can lead them to the abortion center door.

Thankfully, however, there are so many people who are willing to stand in the gap to support pregnant women at their time of need. No pregnant woman should be made to feel as if she is all alone. A supportive, compassionate team may be as close as the nearest pregnancy resource center.

May pregnant women this Christmas find all the love they need to bring their babies into this world–a world which is desperately in need of the hope their children can provide.

May We Always See the Miracle of the Unborn Child

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

I will forever remember the intensity of those eyes.

I would gaze into them as I was nursing, and they would pierce my soul. I never felt so connected with my baby girl as I did when I looked into her pale blue eyes.

Science tells us that a baby’s eyes start to develop a mere 19 days after conception. These windows to the soul carry with them so much possibility and promise.

Yet, nearly 900,000 times a year in the U.S. alone, that possibility and promise come to a terrifying end. The culprit is abortion, which forever steals from those eyes of the majesty of sunsets, the glory of flowers, the pristine wonder of new fallen snow.

So much of our humanity is expressed through our eyes. Who among us has not been deeply touched by the kindness expressed through the eyes of someone who truly cares for us?

As I was in church the other day, I saw a man lift up a baby and stare joyfully into her eyes. It was a moment of profound connection—sacred time.

Part of the tragedy of abortion is that the mother is robbed of the experience of gazing lovingly into her baby’s eyes. The bond between mother and child is severed in a most violent and heartless way. In fact, it is only in denying the humanity of the preborn child that abortion is able to flourish. It is through intellectual blindness that abortion proliferates.

As advocates for life, it is incumbent upon us to teach the world about the development of the unborn child. People need to know that by the 10th week post-conception, a preborn baby can move her eyes into a squint. Our fellow travelers on this earth need to know just what is at stake with every abortion—the loss of an unrepeatable human life.

May we always see the miracle inherent in a preborn child and share that miracle with the world!

A Day of Hope at the Supreme Court


By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

It was a day that had been decades in the making.

The presentation of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the pivotal case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization stirred my soul. Finally, I felt, the Supreme Court was listening to reason.

Sloganeering and catchy memes had no place at the High Court. Rather, Justices were compelled to listen to the many ways the 1973 decision known as Roe v. Wade had failed to settle the abortion debate.

At stake was more than a 15-week ban on abortion in Mississippi. For this is the case that could finally overturn Roe and restore the issue of abortion to the people in the individual states, where it belongs.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation was among the many groups that filed friend-of-the-court briefs. In our well-reasoned brief, we argued strongly that both pregnant mother and preborn child deserve protection and care, and that modern obstetrical practice demanded Roe’s demise.

The Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have proven to be an unpredictable lot. But for the first time in a long time I am hopeful that I will see the day of Roe’s end.

And that day cannot come soon enough.

It’s Time for a Thorough Investigation of the University of Pittsburgh

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh should be thoroughly investigated amid allegations of researchers there harvesting body parts from babies whose hearts are still beating.

        “The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act makes it clear—you cannot take the life of a precious baby to harvest organs. For the sake of babies, mothers, and taxpayers throughout the Commonwealth, it’s time to investigate the University of Pittsburgh,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life.

        Under Pennsylvania law, it is a felony to experiment on a living unborn baby or to refuse to offer medical care to an infant who has been born alive.

        The Center for Medical Progress notes that Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania abortion providers supply the aborted babies, while the University of Pittsburgh provides sponsorship to Planned Parenthood’s operations in what appears to be an illegal quid pro quo for unborn baby body parts. That would be a violation of 42 U.S. Code 289g-2 and 18 Pennsylvania Statutes 3216.   

        After securing hundreds of pages of public records, the non-profit group Judicial Watch has found that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has channeled at least $2.7 million into a project at the University of Pittsburgh that uses a tissue bank with body parts from aborted babies.

        Pitt’s application for one project stated that the university planned “to develop a pipeline to the acquisition, quality control and distribution of (urinary and genital organs and functions) samples obtained throughout development (6-42 weeks gestation).” A baby born at 40 weeks is considered full-term by the National Institutes of Health, while a baby born at 42 weeks is considered overdue. 

        According to the Center for Medical Progress, “If the (preborn baby’s) heartbeat and blood circulation continue in a labor induction abortion for harvesting organs, it means the (baby) is being delivered while still alive and the cause of death is the removal of the organs.”

        “The allegations read like something out of a horror movie—gruesome and disgusting,” said Gallagher. “It is deeply disturbing to think that full-term babies could be treated in such an inhumane manner. We call on both federal and local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the University of Pittsburgh’s research practices,” Gallagher added. 

********************************************************************************************************************************************************************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.

The Freedom to Choose…Life!

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director



Freedom. A cherished word. A sacred right. 

The older I get, the more I value freedom and the more I desire others to know true freedom.

I desire it particularly for women who find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy. 

Those who do not feel free to choose life. Those who feel coerced by the baby’s father, or parents, or friends.

Those who feel stifled by society’s lingering stigma regarding unplanned pregnancies and adoption.

Those who feel imprisoned by fear of an unknown future.

Those held hostage by an abusive relationship.

And those whose vulnerability is preyed upon and exploited, trapped into ending their own child’s life.

Two-thirds of post-abortive women report feeling explicitly or implicitly forced into abortion.

That is not freedom. 

We must set them free

We must embrace every opportunity to help women be free to choose life.

Free to protect the child within their womb, even those deemed “imperfect,” or not perfectly timed.

Free to parent a child or free to lovingly place him for adoption.

Free to pursue their dreams, even in the midst of pregnancy or parenting.

When we empower women, whether through our laws, our words, our material support, or whatever is needed to walk with them on their journey, we offer them true freedom.  We give them what they need to make the best choice possible for themselves and their child. That choice can never be death.

I am so grateful that my own family gave me the freedom to choose life when I was just 18 years old.

My mother, relieved that I did not have a terminal illness, assured me we could deal with a baby. 

My oldest brother, a new father himself, told me that all babies, at all times, are a blessing.

My youngest brother embraced me and thanked me for not getting an abortion.

Does not every young woman deserve such support so that they have the freedom to choose life?

As we celebrate our many freedoms, let us renew our commitment to giving every human being, without qualification, the freedom to live first and foremost, for without life, no other freedoms can exist.  

Viable: A Life-Changing Story of Post-Abortive Redemption

By Jessie Morgan, Intern

Playwright John Hoover remembers a moment long ago, when a spark was ignited inside him. Little did he know that years later, that spark would blossom into the life-altering reality known as Viable the play.

In 1984, when attending a pro-life symposium in California, Hoover listened to a woman speak out about her experiences as a former abortionist. This woman was from the Middle East and had been performing abortions for years before her eyes were opened to the painstaking reality of abortion.

“God took the scales off her eyes,” said Hoover. “She realized what she was doing and quickly became a pro-life advocate”.

The woman described that in early days, abortion failures were common, which resulted in physically impaired and developmentally-challenged children being born alive. To prevent potential lawsuits, procedures were developed to ensure that the baby in the womb would be undoubtedly dead.

After listening, Hoover couldn’t help but wonder: “what would the world be like if women were told the truth of abortion?”

He remembered reading a survey which first informed women about the procedures done to abort an unborn child. Afterwards, they asked if the women would still obtain an abortion. 90 percent of women responded “no.”

This alarming response gave Hoover an idea, one that he carried with him for 25 years. In 2019, he finally put it on paper.

According to the play’s website, “The Viable storyline captures an unforgettable confrontation as an aborted child visits her mother nearly 30 years later. The mother has carried guilt and grief for all that time, trying all the while to protect her emotional stability by professing the mantras that abortion providers originally used to comfort her”.

With nothing but three actors and two chairs, Viable invites viewers on a journey of continued healing as Judy, the mother, searches for a ray of hope after walking for decades in post-abortive shame and regret.

When asked about the primary audience, Hoover said that when writing the play, he assumed that it would be targeted at women who had lost children to abortion. However, everything changed on the very first night of the production, during a scene when Judy rushes through the audience in a dramatic exit.

Gisele Gathings, who plays Judy in the production, remembers seeing a man walking out of the audience in tears. By the time she rushed out of the theater, the man was standing in the lobby, sobbing.

“I wanted to comfort him!” Gathings recalled. “But I had to get to my next scene.”

Gathings has observed that an abortion does not just affect women. Rather, all family members—fathers, grandparents, children, husbands, are part of the story, too.

“Delving into the emotions, the negative emotions of how abortion doesn’t just affect the woman that is post abortive, but also the family members that are involved. The cycle that passes down when abortion is in a family, not just one person having more than one abortion, but also family members following in the footsteps.”

To Gathings, the theme of Viable is not abortion, but redemption through Christ.

“It is bigger than abortion. This (abortion) can lead to various different issues and pain where people need healing. Jesus is about life more abundantly, but also about us choosing him and the choices we have to make. For me, Viable touches on dealing with and bringing up the pain that needs to be healed and addressed.”

Both Gathings and Hoover hope that this play may be what inspires families to begin conversations about their own abortion experiences, so that feelings of hatred, betrayal and regret might be replaced with forgiveness, grace and love.

Hoover is also excited to announce that the Viable tour is back in action. After months of show dates being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Viable plans to resume its tour across the United States, with new dates and locations being added every day. The play will also be performed at this year’s National Right to Life Convention in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, June 24th. For more information, visit http://www.viableplay.org/.

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 on 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.

Jessie Morgan: Taking Steps For Those Who Can’t

My name is Jessie Morgan, and I am so excited to take on an internship at the PA Pro Life Federation this summer!

I grew up in Sunbury, about an hour up the river from Harrisburg, and attended Line Mountain School District growing up.

The pro-life caused sparked my interest in the 8th grade, when my middle school Campus Club (Christian charity group) organized a ‘Walk For Life’ for our local Pregnancy Care Center. As young as I was at the time, I had virtually no idea what abortion even was; I just thought the Pregnancy Care Center was a sanctuary for new mothers in need of support and resources.

I vividly remember the design on our T-Shirts, with a picture of two tiny footprints displayed over the front. Underneath the picture in italics was the phrase, “Taking steps for those who can’t”. I wasn’t really sure what it meant, but not too long afterwards I found out the truth—  along with helping mothers, the core of the Pregnancy Care Center was to protect the lives of unborn babies. To save them from abortion.

It was not easy to process the unthinkable. At a young age, children and teenagers are much more adaptable to new ideas; they can normalize practices such as abortion because they’re growing up in an environment where they are told these practices are okay, that they are safe. But I never could. I would remember those two tiny footprints and my heart would ache for the little human lives that were never given a chance to experience life.

I was first introduced to the Federation after entering their annual Pro-Life Oratory contest in 2018. My speech took first place, and I had the amazing opportunity to attend the National Right To Life Convention in Kansas City, Missouri later that summer. Following the convention, I would hop on a bus to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. every January. While the convention provided me with a plethora of helpful information about life in the womb, the March gave me the hope that there were thousands of others in this country who were willing to stand up to protect the sanctity of all human life.

During my internship, I hope to use the skills and abilities I have gained in my own education to engage young people with the pro-life movement. A good friend once mentioned to me that real culture change cannot come from a change of law, but a change of heart. If we can impress the value of unborn life onto the hearts of our young people, I believe we can foster a society that will not only consider abortion illegal, but unthinkable.