Veteran PA Pro-Life Leader Retires After 21 Years of Service to the Babies

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

It was a time before Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, when tweets were associated with birds and posts were what held up backyard fences.

January of 2002 marked the beginning of fresh leadership at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Keystone State affiliate of National Right to Life. The new man at the helm was an Air Force veteran and accomplished hospital administrator who felt in his heart that he was being called to pro-life work.

This week, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Executive Director Michael Ciccocioppo ends his 21-year tenure as head of the Commonwealth’s largest statewide organization focused on the core pro-life issues of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. His retirement marks the end of an era—highlighted by the fall of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Roe v. Wade. 

The Federation filed an amicus brief in the Dobbs case which marked the downfall of Roe. Michael was in Atlanta, Georgia, for the National Right to Life Convention on June 24, 2022 when he heard the news.

He had been the gifted leader who had steered the Federation during nearly half of the organization’s existence, pre-Dobbs. In his humility, he realized that a new leader would be called upon to shape the Federation during much of the post-Dobbs era. He is also retiring so that he and his wife can relocate and spend more time with their children and grandchildren.

During Michael’s impressive stint at the Federation, the organization launched a partnership with which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of young people receiving life-saving, life-changing information. Under his leadership, the Federation also led the way in passing a bill requiring abortion centers to meet basic health and safety standards. The bill was the state legislature’s response to the massive tragedy in West Philadelphia, where abortionist Kermit Gosnell was suspected of killing hundreds of newborn babies in his House of Horrors abortion facility. Gosnell was ultimately convicted of murdering three newborns and causing the death of a female immigrant patient, Karnamaya Mongar.

Through the Federation’s sponsorship of students at the National Right to Life Academy, the National Right to Life Oratory Contest, and the Federation’s own internship program, Michael has helped to form a new generation of leaders for the cause of life.

We salute Michael for his stellar leadership, courage, and grace, and wish him well as he ventures into retirement. The Board of Directors and staff of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation will be forever grateful to him for answering the call to pro-life service so many years ago.