By rebuilding a culture of life—one life-saving law, one life-giving heart, at a time.
By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
As National Right to Life’s Pennsylvania affiliate, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, prepares for the Celebrate Life Banquet marking its 40th anniversary, I am struck by the pro-life movement’s staying power.
I grew up with abortion being legal—and the mass media made me believe that the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case known as Roe v. Wade was “settled law.” So, as a young person, I wondered what kept the pro-life movement going.
I now believe I have some idea why, when the restaurant down the street could not survive 2019, pro-life organizations continue to thrive for decades on end.
The short answer: the people. People such as Ernie Ohlhoff, who was a founder of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and who will be the recipient of this year’s Pennsylvania Pro-Life Lifetime Achievement Award. Ernie is Outreach Director for National Right to Life, and well-deserving of recognition for his long-time commitment to the pro-life cause.
I also think of people such as John and Ann Poole of our local chapter located in Cambria and Somerset Counties in Pennsylvania. A challenging pregnancy brought them into the pro-life movement, and they have been stalwart defenders of life ever since. They will be the recipients of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Leadership Award.
As someone who lives in Pennsylvania, I cannot help but think of the late Governor Robert Casey, who signed into law the Keystone State’s landmark Abortion Control Act. That law has been a life-saver, helping to cut the Commonwealth’s abortion totals in half because of provisions such as informed consent, parental consent, and a 24-hour waiting period for abortions.
Casey bucked his own Democratic Party to fight for the rights of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens. He remains a hero to the cause.
I think of a woman named Delores Euker, who, when I moved from Ohio to Pennsylvania, educated me about the state of the pro-life movement in PA. Delores, a gifted speaker, spoke out for years about the atrocities at a local abortion facility. The abortion center, known as Hillcrest, ultimately shut its doors because it could not meet basic health and safety requirements. Delores is still going strong.
The pro-life movement is inspired by, led by, and powered by amazing people who see the wisdom of rebuilding a culture of life—one life-saving law, one life-giving heart, at a time. The fact that National Right to Life affiliates such as the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation continue to effect positive change, even as abortion center after abortion center closes down, is a testament to the perseverance of our movement’s people.
We wish we could end abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia this minute. But we are prepared to continue educating and engaging for as long as it takes our states, and our nation, to cherish each human life—from the dawn of life to its natural end.