Pennsylvanians for Human Life

For decades the Scranton chapter of Pa. for Human Life has provided speakers for local public and catholic schools and church and civic organizations. The issues of abortion, chastity or abstinence, the development of the unborn child and euthanasia are among the topics covered.
Persons interested in speakers should call 570-343-5099.

2017 - 2010


Prayer Breakfast

For information on the Annual Prayer Breakfast click here


Lori Kehoe

kehoe-lLori Kehoe is the senior congressional liaison for the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee. She is also executive director of the New York State Right to Life Committee. Mrs. Kehoe has lobbied Congress on abortion, euthanasia, cloning, health care rationing, and other pro-life and First Amendment issues. She has conducted seminars and has spoken on life issues at conventions, seminars, and debates across the country and throughout Australia. Mrs. Kehoe has appeared on CSPAN and CNN news programs, on Fox News, America’s Voice, and other television and radio programs nationwide. She has been quoted in the New York Times, Associated Press, Daily News, the Los Angeles Times, the Oregonian, and numerous other newspapers across the nation. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo. She and her wonderful husband, Marty, have a fabulous seven-year-old, Rowan Blessing, and two precious children in Heaven.

For information on the Annual Prayer Breakfast click here


Bobby Schindler

Prayer Breakfast

For information on the Annual Prayer Breakfast click here


Dr. Anthony Levatino

Prayer Breakfast

For information on the Annual Prayer Breakfast click here


Carol Everett

Prayer Breakfast

For information on the Annual Prayer Breakfast click here


Julia Holcomb

Prayer Breakfast

The principal speaker for the January 28, 2012 Prayer Breakfast was Julia Holcomb, a post-abortive woman who sought forgiveness and triumphed over the tragedy of her abortion of 30 years ago.

For information on the Annual Prayer Breakfast click here


Rev. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr.

Pro-Life Struggle IS Civil Rights Movement, says 2011 Prayer Breakfast Speaker
By Maureen Manzano

African-Americans continue to be targeted by the abortion industry, making the Right-to-Life Movement the Civil Rights Movement of the present day, an African-American Pro-Life advocate told attendees at the Respect for Life Prayer Breakfast.

The breakfast, held Jan. 29 at St. Mary’s Center in downtown Scranton , welcomed Dr. Clenard Childress, founder of, and senior pastor of The New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair, NJ., who addressed the crowd of approximately 450 people. Rev. Childress is also president of Life Education And Resource Network, Northeast. LEARN is the largest African-American pro-life group in the U.S.

“African-Americans cannot claim the Civil Rights movement,” he said. “The civil rights movement can only be claimed by godly people who are not based on race or ethnicity, but based on justice. The African-American preacher will be the first to tell you that.”

“You support those places in our cities that offer support to shield and protect the woman and child from a devouring agent that has been set loose since 1973 in our society,” he continued. “The civil rights movement is alive and well because it is in this room. Dr. Martin Luther King was for all people of every ethnicity because he was a man of justice. When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the Associated Press asked Dr. King what he thought about it. King said it was a shame and a tragedy, “but the same thing they did to him they will do to me. I will not live to see my 40th birthday.”

“But Martin Luther King did not back down because he feared for his life, Rev. Childress said.

“Dr. King chose to stay in the heat of the battle because there was a grave injustice being done to a segment of the community who had been disenfranchised,” he said. “Dr. King would often quote from the Declaration of Independence and say, ‘I love this country, but I want this country to live out its creed. We hold these truths to be self evident that all mankind is created equal and is endowed by the creator with certain inalienable rights-rights you cannot take away. Among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

But there are elitists who are determining that certain lives are not worth endowing with rights, Rev. Childress said.

“In 1927, a Supreme Court Justice approved legislation that permitted the sterilization of undesirables, not only African-American women, but also Caucasian women. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said referring to African- Americans, ‘Three generations of imbeciles is enough.’ He was sitting on the Supreme Court! Now you may say we’ve changed, but the elitists have not. On July 9, 2009 the New York Times quoted another Supreme Court Justice (Ruth Bader Ginsburg) who is sitting on the bench who said: ‘Frankly, at the time Roe was decided, we believe it was to control populations, especially populations we don’t want too many of.’ It was quoted in the New York Times and there was not one word of reprisal, not one protest. Civil rights leaders, the media and even Fox News said nothing. We live in a time when the media controls our perception of the news to bring about their own agenda.”

Rev. Childress encouraged people to continue to fight for the lives of the unborn and to stand up for what is right.

“2 Chronicles 7 to 14 says ‘If my people which are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven. I will forgive their sins and I will heal the land. Did you ever ask yourself why the land has to be healed? Even God’s chosen remnant reverted to child killing feeding their children to the god of Moloch,” he said. “The shedding of innocent blood polluted the land. In 1973, you had a federal law that polluted the ground, and so we have become more depraved. Abortion is black genocide. What happens to the mind of a person and the moral fabric of a nation that can abort a baby without pang of conscience?”

Rev. Childress also remarked on the recent case in Philadelphia where Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, was charged with murdering seven babies and one patient. The clinic had gone without inspections for years. Rev. Childress urged people to not be apathetic, but said God has called them to be “watchmen.”

“Some people still do not know that 327 million of your tax dollars each year goes to Planned Parenthood under both Democrat and Republican administrations. What is Planned Parenthood’s main business? Abortion! Who do you raise up to address this evil? It is ‘my people’,” he said. “God has invested the power in the pulpit. If the preacher will carry the message, God will alter the nation. God said ‘upon this rock I will build my church. He didn’t say ‘I will build the United States. He said I will build the church. Where is the answer supposed to come from? The church. Who is supposed to lead it? The preacher.God is putting the future in your hands because there must be a people that cry out against the shedding of innocent blood. Did you know Scripture says how you break the curse of the shedding of innocent blood so the curse does not come on you? You have to cry out against it. Dr. King often quoted Dr. Edmund Burke; ‘All evil has to do to be successful is for good men to do nothing’. The Scripture goes deeper; it says if you do nothing you are guilty under the curse.” Did you know about it? There is not a person of age in this country who does not know about it.”

Link: Pro-Life Reporter Article


Gary Cangemi

Gary Cangemi 2010 a Call to Arms, Prayer Breakfast Speaker Says
By Maureen Manzano

A familiar face told pro-life advocates that now is the time to act in fighting the Obama Administration’s anti-life agenda.

“Let’s face it, after 37 years, it’s easy to get dragged into a feeling of complacency and lethargy, but 2009 was our wake-up call and 2010 is our call to arms!” Gary Cangemi, nationally-syndicated cartoonist, told a packed crowd at St. Mary’s Center.

Mr. Cangemi, who lives in Scranton and is the creator of the Umbert the Unborn cartoon, was the main speaker at the annual at the 27th annual Respect Life Prayer Breakfast.

He said he has seen the Obama Administration’s anti-life agenda cause more and more people to become outspoken advocates for life.

“I will have to say this about President Obama,” he said. “He promised us transparency and he delivered. We’ve been able to see right through his pro-abortion, anti-life agenda since day one. That’s why thousands of us came out in droves to make our voices heard. How many of you were at one of the many tea parties held last year? You can’t create that kind of energy, it has to be completely spontaneous and it was. I saw people that probably never carried a sign in their lives, proudly carrying signs they had made at their kitchen tables.”

Mr. Cangemi also discussed how he came to create Umbert the Unborn as a means of getting the pro-life message to young people.

“It was because I felt the need to do more to defend the dignity of human life, that I came up with the idea of a pre-natal comic strip character,” he said. “It was also the answer to a challenge by Helen Gohsler (director of the Scranton Chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life) to find a way to teach pro-life values to young people.”

Mr. Cangemi came up with a dozen strips and showed them to Father Jim Paisley.

Gary Cangemi “I’ll never forget what he said: ‘This could change the face of the pro-life movement.’ Then it occurred to me. If someone could give a face, a voice, and a personality to the unborn child, it might change the way people view the unborn, if not for adults, at least it would for children who love and relate to cartoon characters all the time.”

He gave it a shot, and was almost immediately picked up by the National Catholic Register.

That creativity is what’s needed in everyone in the pro-life movement right now, Mr. Cangemi said.

“We must find ways to shake ourselves out of the doldrums and reawaken the world to what is going on,” he said.

He mentioned a three-step plan of marketing, or getting the message out through advertising; continuing the grass-roots effort to defeat pro-abortion politicians; and by donating time, talent and treasure.

“Just as Helen challenged me, we all need to get more creative in our approach to pro-life issues and believe me, I can just sense there is a lot of talent in this room. And as Helen is proud to call Scranton the pro-life capital of the world, I believe our chapter can lead the way in finding new ways to expose the injustice of abortion, euthanasia, doctor-assisted suicide, and other atrocities perpetrated under the guise of science and health care,” he said.

DVDs are available at the Pro-Life Center

Cangemi is the creator of the pro-life comic strip Umbert the Unborn, which now appears in more than 120 publications with more than 700,000 readers in the U.S. and abroad. He is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Scranton chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life, a chapter of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. His first book, Umbert the Unborn, a Womb With a View, was released in 2003 by Circle Press.

Click here to read more about Gary Cangemi.

Womb (web) site:

2009 - 2000


Theresa Burke

Theresa Burke, noted psychologist, counselor, and author was principal speaker at the recent Prayer Breakfast sponsored by the Scranton Chapter of the Pennsylvanians for Human Life. The event was held on Saturday morning, January 31, 2009 at St. Mary’s Center in Scranton, and was exceptionally well attended.

Dr. Burke, the proud mother of five children, is the founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries which primarily focuses on women’s issues such as post abortion trauma, pregnancy loss, and sexual abuse, as well as offering a process of healing for those experiencing these unfortunate events. Theresa is a widely recognized expert on the subject of post abortion trauma and healing, and her materials and programs are now offered in 47 states and numerous foreign countries. In addition to her numerous and diverse activities associated with Rachel’s Vineyard, she finds time to serve as a Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life, the organization headed by Father Frank Pavone. Dr. Burke’s knowledge and expertise of women’s issues have been sought after by a variety of media outlets including EWTN and PBS. Dr. Burke’s finely honed communication skills quickly became apparent as soon as she began her speech. With her warm, friendly, and informal manner she soon established a very positive rapport with her receptive listeners by telling them how very much she felt “at home” being among them. She further endeared herself to her audience by telling them how impressed she was with the leadership of our chapter which she called “awesome”. Theresa then made a point of complimenting the pro-life people that she met here in Scranton for the “energy and enthusiasm” they bring to the pro-life
Theresa Burke

Book: Forbidden Grief
cause. Before delving into the main portions of her speech, Dr. Burke said that she had “the most exquisite evening” and “the most gorgeous skiing” she ever had on the slopes of the Sno Mountain last evening. She ended her salute to Scranton by saying “It’s great to be in Scranton, I hope I can come back anytime you want a speaker”.

In the main body of her speech, Theresa shared with her audience some of the experiences and encounters that she had when she was a graduate student studying for her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology. In story like style, she told her listeners how she became involved with the subject of abortion, what encounters and observations influenced her about its trauma, and what situations and observations motivated her to seek a method or process of healing for this horrendous act.

Theresa went into some detail about the experiences she had when she was assigned by her graduate school mentor to lead a support group of women who had eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. She met every week with these women, and one night a woman, who was experiencing nightmares and terrible flashbacks due to abortion, brought up the subject. As any good counselor would do, Dr. Burke allowed the women to externalize and share their feelings about what was bothering them. The young graduate student was astounded to learn that all but two of the women had suffered abortions, and the two who were untouched by abortion had histories of sexual abuse. The women in Theresa’s support group each reacted differently when the subject of abortion was brought up and discussed. Their feelings ran the gamut from profound sorrow, to empathy, to intense anger, and finally to seething rage. When Theresa told her supervisor, a psychiatrist, what had taken place in her support group when the subject of abortion was discussed, he shook his finger in her face and said “you have no business prying into people’s abortions”. Since he considered abortion a private personal matter, he ordered Theresa not to bring it up again in her group.

It was at this point in her speech that Dr. Burke made a very salient statement about addictions. She noted that part of the compulsive and addictive behavior exhibited by patients is due to suppressing their anxiety over other problems. She said that it’s just critical that patients get to the root cause of the original trauma, as well as any past hurt and grief that have never been expressed. Such an admission must be done before any healing can take place. Even with eating disorders, most professional counselors agree that it’s not what you’re eating or not eating that is causing your problems – it’s what eating you!

From her experiences with the eating disorder group, Theresa realized that when women who had an abortion tried to deny it, or bury its memory in the deepest recesses of their minds and hearts, that it was then that these women began to exhibit active symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorders – a disorder directly caused by their abortion. In order to treat this disorder and bring about healing, women need to talk to the professionals who are treating them in an open, honest, and candid manner. These women also need support and love from their husbands, family, and friends.

After leaving the eating disorder support group, Theresa, still a graduate student, started the first therapeutic support group for healing after abortion. It was while working with this group that she quickly saw that abortion was a wound to the soul as well as to the body and mind. She very clearly understood that such a wound would require not only physical and psychological treatment but spiritual assistance as well. Thus the seeds for the founding of Rachel’s Vineyard were sown.

The path to Rachel’s Vineyard is replete with many obstacles, and growing a vineyard is always a dynamic process involving growth, change, vigilance, work, and sacrifice. But the effort and work that Theresa Burke expended in establishing and sustaining Rachel’s Vineyard is well worth it. One might say that Theresa lives each day in the vineyard she founded. And it is there that her spirit, energy, and enthusiasm are renewed each day for the great task of providing a safe haven and a cherished sanctuary for the thousands of women who suffer the pain and agony of abortion.

Just as planting and sustaining a successful vineyard is not easy, so too Theresa Burke’s successes did not come easy for her. Throughout her career both as a student and a practicing professional, many obstacles were placed in her path because of her strong pro-life ideology. At one point in her career she was basically kicked out of graduate school, and almost denied a psychologist’s license because she had the courage and strength to stand up, defend, and work for her pro-life beliefs.

In summary then, Dr. Burke’s speech was basically a story of those key experiences and encounters which motivated her to develop a genuine and effective healing process for those women whose lives are in turmoil because of abortion. And that wonderful healing process is what takes place in Rachel’s Vineyard where the darkness, pain, and error of abortion are shattered by the light, love, and truth of Jesus Christ. Indeed He is our vine and we are His branches. If we remain in Him and He in us, together we will bear much fruit.

Originally submitted by Joseph A. Caputo for the Spring 2009 Pro-Life Reporter

This Prayer Breakfast is available on DVD from the Pro-Life Center.


Wesley J. Smith

Wesley Smith Addresses Respect Life Prayer Breakfast on Euthanasia and End of Life Issues

Wesley J. Smith, lawyer, author and anti-euthanasia activist addressed 325 people gathered for the Annual Respect Life Prayer Breakfast sponsored by Pennsylvanians for Human Life at St. Mary’s Center, Scranton on Saturday, January 26th.
Wesley J. Smith
Atty. Smith discussed the acceptance of euthanasia in the Netherlands noting, "The Dutch decriminalized assisted suicide and euthanasia in 1973, and have gone from killing the terminally ill, to the chronically ill, to disabled people who asked for euthanasia. Then they began killing depressed people who asked to be killed. Now Dutch doctors kill people who don’t ask to be killed." said Smith, "The Dutch view killing as an acceptable answer to human suffering."

"Euthanasia advocates are trying to turn our doctors from healers into killers" said Smith. In Oregon assisted suicide was legalized in 1994. Promoters of euthanasia and assisted suicide have made attempts to promote legislation in California, Washington, Vermont, Arizona and Hawaii," said Smith. "The most dangerous thing to say is ‘It can’t happen here’" he continued.

"The Hippocratic Oath which established the moral guidelines for doctors for thousands of years says ‘first do no harm’. "There are obligations to being a professional: You never kill your patient" Smith remarked. Smith also discussed the history of the Hospice movement. Compassion means "to suffer with" and does not involve killing as American euthanasia advocates propose. According to Smith the reason health care remains moral is because of the doctors and nurses in the trenches. "There is a clash of values playing out in hospitals, nursing homes and families" he noted, "It is the utilitarian values vs. the sanctity of human life."

Wesley Smith has authored or co-authored eleven books including: Power Over Pain, a consumer’s guide to obtaining good pain control with Eric M. Chevlen, M.D. His book Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder (1997), is a criticism of the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement. The revised version, Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and the New Duty to Die, is available though the Pro-Life Information Center, 506 Broadway, Scranton PA 18505. Phone 343-5099.

Smith writes the blog Secondhand Smoke, which is concerned with end of life issues. In addition to his writing, Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, an attorney for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture.

This Prayer Breakfast is available on DVD from the Pro-Life Center.


John C. Willke, M.D., Life Issues Institute, NRLC

“We must know about the first days of life to address the issues of abortion and embryonic stem cell research,” Dr. Willke said in his address.

He explained that the sperm’s penetration is the moment of conception. In 24 hours, sometimes called the “process of conception,” the genetic material from the mother and father are reconstituted into a single cell.

“Now we have a complete human body,” Dr. Willke said. “When you have a fertilized egg, you have a being which is alive. This being is human; not a rabbit, not celery. This being is sexed, male or female. It is complete. Nothing is added to the single cell you once were except nutrition and oxygen. This is not a blueprint, because nothing is added.

John C. Willke, M.D.
“At conception we have a complete being, either male or female from the first day. All that is needed is time and nutrition so that this new human being can grow.”

In order to understand the debate over embryonic stem cells, we need to understand where we get embryonic stem cells, Dr. Willke said. You take a brand new human on day five of his life, cut him or her open and take from the inside embryonic stem cells.

“The only way to get embryonic stem cells is to kill a new human life. This is the first reason we oppose embryonic stem cell research,” Dr. Willke said. “The second reason is they don’t work and probably never will. This is due to rejection as foreign tissue. Embryonic stem cells are foreign tissue to the patient. Infection is another reason. The woman who donated the egg may have a disease which can be transmitted. Another reason why embryonic stem cells do not work is that we cannot control the growth of the cells. They produce tumors.”

Adult stem cells are safer and more efficient, Dr. Willke said, noting that adult stem cells already treat more than 70 different conditions.

This Prayer Breakfast is available on DVD from the Pro-Life Center.


Kate Adamson

Kate Adamson to Speak at January 28th Respect Life Prayer Breakfast in Scranton

    The annual Respect Life Prayer Breakfast was held on Saturday, January 28, at 9:00a.m. at St. Mary’s Center, Scranton, with Kate Adamson as principal speaker. Ms. Adamson was the victim of a double brainstem stroke who survived an eight-day removal of her feeding tube. She testified before Congress following the death of Terri Schiavo.

For Kate Adamson's Biography Click Here

This Prayer Breakfast is available on DVD from the Pro-Life Center.
Kate Adamson


Olivia Gans

Prayer Breakfast 2005 - Olivia Gans - Abortion Harms Women

    Olivia Gans, President of American Victims of Abortion, addressed a crowd of 420 persons who assembled January 29th at St. Mary’s Center in downtown Scranton for the Annual Respect Life Prayer Breakfast. On the 28th she spent the morning and early afternoon at Seton Catholic High School in Pittston speaking to five classes reaching between 130 and 150 students. We thank Deacon Robert Roman for the invitation. Excerpts from Olivia’s talk follow:

    When I presented myself to the movement I was a shattered mess. My commitment to this cause is because of someone who cannot be with us today because of the foolish decision I made in 1981. Even as I was preparing to abort my child on February 27, 1981, I see God preparing to use that experience for good. I come here to
Olivia Gans
help us understand who the women who choose abortion are. It isn’t the truth that women abort because of hard cases. They do it because abortion is there. Abortion is available and it is presented as the logical and reasonable thing to do. My own abortion experience was so ridiculously typical. I was in college, unwed and unemployed. Neither my boyfriend nor I were practicing real love. If we were, we would have never rejected the child who was the perfect presence of our love. I just wanted to make everything normal again. I wanted to believe my boyfriend had my best intentions at heart. I wanted to believe he loved me. We were open to the lies.

    We went to four abortion providers. I had to go to four to find someplace we could afford without putting me in the hospital. By the time of my abortion I was in the first or second week of my fourth month of pregnancy. My precious child was already learning to suck his or her thumb. It was not a something, but someone. No one explained to me that she was already completely formed only very, very small. No one said, “Your child is already turning somersaults, and having hiccups. Do you know all that?”

    Instead, I was told how stupid and irrational and selfish I was not to have an abortion. People would later dismiss it as “You had a bad experience.” No I had four bad experiences. My dignity was degraded to the point where I was beginning to think, “Maybe they’re all right and I’m nuts.” I wasn’t pro-life or pro-abortion at the time. I just thought I wouldn’t get pregnant, it won’t happen to me. Now I was vulnerable to fear, manipulation and lies. Many women I meet around the country and the world express that sense of degradation and humiliation.

    The second abortionist we went to was filthy. He had dirt under his fingernails. His office was filthy. I said, “ I can’t do it here because this man scares me.” He never once looked into my eyes, but only looked at the father of my child and said, “This is not a big deal. I take care of little problems like this every day.” Not only was my child irrelevant and invisible, I was irrelevant and invisible. Abortionists have a lack of respect for the children and also for the women. Over and over I’ve heard women say, “I didn’t think anyone even knew I was there.” The only people who benefit from abortion are the abortionists. And they demand their money in advance.

    Everyone has been affected by abortion but they may not be aware of it. There have been 4,000 abortions a day for over thirty years. There are people who should be here who aren’t.

    My world personally is different because these people, especially my child, are not here. Women who abort struggle to cope with the decision and try to make the memories go away. Our lives are never the same again. Abortion affects marriages and the relationships that women have with their other children.

    It has been over thirty years now. There has been plenty of chance to study what happens to women after abortion. But little research has been done. What we know comes from individual researchers who are sometimes drawn into the movement because of what they learn.

    Many of the disorders psychologists treat, anorexia, bulimia and obesity other self-destructive behaviors are sometimes the result of abortion. Alcoholism, drugs, intensive cigarette smoking, cutting and self-mutilation. each of these can be caused by abortion.

    Women suffer the physical complications of abortion. Both men and women suffer emotional complications. Often abortion is overlooked as the cause. Many counselors and psychologists have sent women for abortions to solve other problems and are personally responsible for abortions.

    Dr. Vincent Rue, Dr. Ann Speckard and the Association for Inter-Disciplinary Research have done excellent work in investigating the after-effects of abortion To learn more about their work.

This Prayer Breakfast is available on DVD from the Pro-Life Center.


Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life

Excerpts from the Prayer Breakfast speech:
"This is an election year, and of all the things that need to be done, the pro-life issues are the most important. We have to make out politicians understand that as public officials they cannot turn their backs on an entire segment of the public that is being destroyed!"

The reasoning behind the Roe v. Wade decision that legalizes abortion "is the stuff that holocausts are made of."

"If a politician cannot respect the life of a little baby, how can he respect your life? That is the question we must put before society."

Fr. Frank Pavone
On priests preaching about abortion from the pulpit:
"While the church cannot endorse candidates, a priest can preach about the church's position on the issues and the importance of the faithful's participation in the political process."

"Jesus Christ has commissioned us to renew the world, not by retreating into silence, but by engaging the world and the culture, and working to change it. We go into the voting booth as disciples of Jesus - that is our identity."

"Although eah person has only one vote, everyone can influence countless other people by talking about the pro-life cause and its fundamental importance, regardless of party or personal affiliation."

"We can change the course of elections, we can change the course of our nation and the world. The power to do it is in this room!"

This Prayer Breakfast is available on DVD from the Pro-Life Center.


Rev. Michael Mannion, Author/Lecturer, Post Abortion Healing

Rev. Michael T. Mannion said the sacredness of life, from conception to old age, needs to be recognized and respected.

Excerpts from the Prayer Breakfast speech:
"The two most dangerous places are the womb and the nursing home."

Rev. Michael Mannion
"Women often choose abortion because they feel desperate and alone"

"The elderly entertain the notion of assisted suicide because they feel frightened and abandoned"

On Post-Abortion Healing:
"There were no books on the subject 30 years ago, and little was known about the emotional pain women would experience after having abortion. They [women who experienced abortion] taught me about their pain; the church taught me about healing."

When Father Mannion was considering staying in Calcutta to continue working with Mother Theresa, Mother Theresa told him there was more spiritual poverty in America, despite its riches.


Janet Morana, M.S. Personal Assistant to Fr. Frank Pavone

Mrs. Morana has traveled throughout the U.S., giving pro-life training seminars for the laity and her experiences as a representative of Priests for Life at various local and national pro-life conferences. She also serves the organization as staff administrator.

Married since 1975 and the mother of three daughters, Mrs. Morano served as a full-time public school teacher in Staten Island for 11 years. During that time, she spearheaded numerous literary, science, cultural and educational programs, winning many awards and financial grants for her school district.
Janet Morana


Jean Garton, Litt.D., Founder of Lutherans for Life, Author, "Who Broke the Baby".

Dr. Garton, who served as national president of Lutherans for Life from 1978 to 1995, lectures on issues related to education, the family, life concerns and Christian life.

She was chosen American Church Woman of the Year by the Religious Heritage Foundation and has been listed among the Ten Most Influential Lutherans in America.

She is the mother of four adult children and the grandmother of six.
Jean Garton, Litt.D.


Molly Kelly, pro-life lecturer and author (substituted for Jean Garton)

Molly Kelly likened the Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion, with the infamous Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery.
"We've made a lot of progress, but we have a Supreme Court decision on the books - like the Dred Scott - that was wrong. We've got to get that off the books. Dred Scott was wrong. It said you could buy and sell people. We have a decision that said it's OK to kill babies. It's wrong."
Molly Kelly

1999 - 1990


Molly Kelly, pro-life lecturer and author

A mother of eight whose husband passed away in 1975, Ms. Kelly has written a book, "Let's Talk to Teens About Chastity," and three brochures on chastity, "Let's Talk," "Sexual Roulette" and "Mixed Messages." Her video, "Teens and Chastity," has been shown in schools around the country and on cable television.
Molly Kelly
She is the founding president of Pennsylvania Pro-Life Educational Foundation and of the Delaware Valley Pro-Life Alliance.

Ms. Kelly tells teens that be practicing "saved sex," they are in control of their lives. "She challenges everyone to save sex for marriage," said Helen Gohsler, president of the Scranton Chapter, PHL. "She acknowledges that is takes guts to choose and stick to chastity, but she makes a convincing argument for abstinence by pointing to the alternatives: broken relationships, anxiety, frustrated hopes, low self-esteem, pregnancy, diseases and AIDS."

She was the Pennsylvania Knights of Columbus Woman of the Year in 1987 and has received four honorary degrees.


Shari Richard, R.T., R.D.M.S., Sound Wave Images

As a college student with an unwanted pregnancy, an abortionist "lied" to her. The result was a "back-alley" abortion in which four nurses held her down for two hours of excruciating pain.

Richard said the abortion only "hardened her," and when faced with another unwanted pregnancy she had another abortion.

The second procedure resulted in a "molar pregnancy" and cancer developed. Richard was told she would never conceive again.

At this point she entered the field of sonography. "My eyes were opened and my faith restored," she said. "The images of life in the womb revealed to me the truth. I realized what I had done by the two abortions and how I had been lied to."

The post-abortion trauma, which she described as "five years of hell" left her. "I was filled with the love of God and I knew then I was forgiven," she said.

"I asked the Lord to heal me, and I would dedicate the rest of my life to helping other women and protecting them from what I experienced."

She founded Sound Wave Images, which produced technically
Shari Richard
advanced pictures depicting life in the womb and provides free pro-life counseling to women with unwanted pregnancies. "I have a 90 percent success rate of changing the minds of abortion-minded women by giving the ultrasound screenings," she claimed.

Richard explained how abortion supporters have come to dread ultrasound images of life in the womb as the most dangerous weapon in the fight against their cause.

"Two- and three-year-old children can see the baby in the womb," Richard said of the ultrasound videotapes she used as part of her presentation. "The babies speak for themselves," with their highly visible and unmistakable gyrations, movements and gestures.

"These babies have saved their own lives through ultrasound," she said. "It's hard to believe they are not protected."

Richard is now married with three sons.


Janet L. Folger, Ohio Right to Life, Legislative Director

Folger successfully lobbied the Ohio legislature to pass a ban on partial-birth abortion and said such a ban is needed in Pennsylvania too. She said Ohio led the nation in outlawing the abortion procedure.

"You're talking about a late-term baby that can survive in most cases - seven months, eight months, nine months," she said. Folger then described a gruesome scene of how the child is aborted.

"If you do that procedure to a dog in the state of Pennsylvania, you would be thrown in jail for cruelty," she contended. "What the Pennsylvania Legislature is saying is the same as what Congress has said and the Ohio Legislature has said. We ought to treat children at least as well as we treat a dog."

She said the partial-birth abortion issue is "beyond abortion." She said this is an issue of infanticide. She said the procedure is widespread.

Janet L. Folger
While Pennsylvania has one of the nation's most stringent laws regulating abortion, Folger said it is not tough enough. "Children in the state of Pennsylvania are vulnerable to abortion. They can be dismembered... they can be subjected to partial-birth abortions. That's not very tough," she said.

Folger said attitudes are changing. "For 24 years, people have not seen what an abortion is on national television. We have heard the rhetoric, shrill debate; we have never seen what an abortion is," she said. "Only now, through the glimpses of the partial-birth abortion debate in Congress are we starting to see what the reality of abortion is."
She said 84 percent of people surveyed are opposed to the late term abortion procedure once it has been explained to them. She said the child is "four-fifths born" before it is aborted.

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.


Mildred F. Jefferson, M.D., President, Right to Life Crusade

Dr. Mildred F. Jefferson called for people to accept the responsibility of their actions rather than succumbing to the seductions of dependency.

This form of what she termed "stomach slavery" leads people to believe that they are not able to afford another member of their own family, or to reject a handicap as a burden or inconvenience.

Jefferson described herself as a "Lincoln Republican" dedicated to the roots of that party's founding - to allow a government of the people and not of the rich and powerful. She said the movement cannot rest until both political parties are united to the right to life.

"We are committed to using every legal means available," she said, to see the scourge of attacks on life removed from the country, whether at the end of life, beginning of life or any state in between.

"There is no arena in which we will not be active," Jefferson said. "We must fight this battle all the time."

Mildred F. Jefferson, M.D.
She noted that those outside of the movement have made it very easy for women with difficult pregnancies to make the wrong decision.

"But we are organized now," she said, to provide supports for those type of pregnancies.

Still, Jefferson said, it is east to be seduced into thinking that is all that is necessary in the right-to-life movement.

"You cannot win a war with the Red Cross alone," she warned. "You need the army. That is why we have to be mobilized all the time."

Jefferson urged her listeners not to fall into the traps set be the enemy. The movement, she said , is fighting not only to overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion, but also to defend the Judeo-Christian heritage on which the country's laws are based.

Even the language of the movement is under attack, Jefferson said. She said she always refers to the movement as right to life and prolife, not antiabortion.

She also warned against the "cafeteria Catholic" politicians who profess to be Catholics in good standing but who are arrayed against the prolife movement.

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.


Olivia Gans, Director, American Victims of Abortion

Gans was in Cairo as a delegate from the International Right to Life Federation to spread the message that not all Americans support Clinton administration policies regarding abortion.

She said she constantly found herself apologizing to people from other countries for the United States's official stance on abortion.

"It was an embarrassing thing to be an American," Gans said, adding that she assured all who asked that "the people of the United States would reject (the Clinton policy) with every fiber of their being."

Gans said that 42 nations had sent representatives from independent pro-life groups. Still, the International Right to Life Federation was one of only two pro-life booths out of some 120 displays at the conference.

"These people were coming by in droves," she said. "Our VCR could not be turned off for even five minutes."

Olivia Gans
She said the video being shown, "Window on the Womb," prompted debate by one group of Egyptian men over whether Islam should continue to allow abortions during the first trimester in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger.

They did not realize, she said, how early the heart begins to beat. Instead, the belief had been that there was no life until the mother could feel movement.

Gans said she was enthusiastic about gains the pro-life movement made as a result of the Republican sweep in the last election. But she cautioned that there is much more work to be done.

"The reality is that this is going to take our lifetime," she said. "We are the voice of hope in a hopeless world."

Gans began her work in the movement after the trauma of undergoing an abortion herself in 1981.

"That wasn't just a blob of cells," she said. "It was a child. I do this work not because of a guilty conscience. I do what I do because it must be done. Because it is the right thing to do."

Gans said that in her travels across the world for the pro-life cause she has heard women who have suffered through the anguish of abortions repeatedly tell her, "I didn't know anyone else felt like this."

"I've heard it in so many languages," she said, "you can't tell me it's not real."

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.


Wanda Franz, Ph.D., President NRLC

Wanda Franz has been involved in the right-to-life movement since 1971 when she began speaking to student groups on fetal development. She served as president of West Virginians for Life for 15 years until she became president of the National Right to Life Committe (NRLC) in 1991.

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.
Wanda Franz, Ph.D.


Mary Oswald, Vocational Career Counselor for Disabled

Mary Oswald,a 30-year-old woman from New Jersey who was born with deformed arms and legs, the keynote speaker, reminded her audience about the foundation of the pro-life effort. Prayer and education are vital to carrying on the cause, she said.

Stating that pro-life supporters must educate their friends and families, Ms. Oswald said, "We know we all have opportunities in our daily lives and we let them slip by us. For me, I need more courage to speak up."

"We must not be discouraged to the point that we feel complacent and feel it's a losing battle. Every baby saved is a victory."

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.
Mary Oswald


John C. Willke, M.D., Life Issues Institute, NRLC

Dr. John Willke said that "if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and it will be, then the battle continues, not just on the national level but in every state legislature." He noted that the pro-abortion forces have piles of money" they are quite willing to spend and the support of most of the media.

Willke, president of the International Right to Life Federation, said that pro-lifers in this country are confronting a "new strategy" by pro-abortion forces - a strategy that won't allow either side to argue abortion." He said the pro-abortion ("never call them pro-choice") forces will only argue "the right to decide" and "the need to keep goverment out of the debate."

Willke said the pro-abortion movement has been told by its market researchers and public relations advisers that they cannot win on the question of the morality of abortion, whether the killing of the unborn is right or wrong. They must "change the question."

"Politicians, for instance, have found that if the question is framed their way, they are more likely to win," he
John C. Willke, M.D.
observed. He said Planned Parenthood, the leading pro-abortion agency which he characterized as the "work of the devil," is following the same plan.

In assessing the pro-life movement in America today, Willke said "our polls show there are about 28 percent of Americans who are hard core pro-life and about 22 percent who are hard core pro-abortion. We have the edge but it depends upon how you ask the question.

He said that in one poll 50 percent of the respondents said that women should have the right to abortion, but in the same poll 69 percent of the respondents said the unborn should be protected. "Same people, different questions," he said.

"The focus of the first question was on women's rights, and the focus of the second was on the rights of babies," he said, adding that in the coming year "much will hang, perhaps even a Presidential election, on how the question of abortion is framed."

Willke said "we can't let the pro-abortion forces frame the question for politicians. We have to keep asking them if they approve of 'killing babies' and not whether they favor a woman's right to choose abortion."

He claimed that pro-abortion forces are "drumming, drumming, drumming the question of 'who should decide' into the American consciousness. We have to determine how to counteract that effort - a multi, multi million dollar effort."

When Roe V. Wade is reversed, said Willke, "you will see a fantastic amount of money spent by the pro-abortionists."

He went on to say that the pro-life movement is in trouble because the "mushy middle" - that 50 percent without strong convictions "is catching the pro-choice virus." So when Roe v. Wade "goes down... our job gets bigger. Every state in the union will have to enact legislation on abortion."

The veteran pro-lifer said his message to the PHL and all those who associate with the pro-life movement is: "Go out into the community - even to places you are not welcome - and speak to a depth of outreach you never before experienced. Don't be afraid to confront Planned Parenthood if they are there."

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.


John Cardinal O'Connor, Archdiocese of New York

The nameless and the faceless. They were the five drowned men O'Connor said he watched being pulled from a swamp in Vietnam and put into body bags.

"I think as much as anything... it was that namelessness and facelessness of those whose lives had been so completely wasted... that gave me a sense of the sacredness and the worth and the dignity of every human person at every point of existence beginning with the tiniest, little baby in its mother's womb," said the beloved former bishop of the Scranton Diocese.

O'Connor said he also thinks of the millions of babies who each year are "ripped out of their mother's wombs, so often thrown into body bags, nameless, faceless."

O'Connor continued, "and I hear that the madman of Iraq has declared war on the whole world and called on terrorists the world over to search and destroy, and I think of all the nameless and the faceless who are searched out and destroyed in their mother's wombs."

O'Connor praised the Pennsylvanians for Human Life and said he knows their battle is a difficult one.

John Cardinal O'Connor
"How can this country thank people like you?" he asked. "I wonder if this nation will ever, ever begin to realize what you and the hundreds of thousands like you across America are beginning to do to change this society once again," adding that, "The pro-life movement is the loneliest movement in the world."

He said those who fight to protect whales and snails are accepted while those who fight for human life are "looked at quizzically," as if something is wrong with them.

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.


Michael Schwartz, Free Congress Foundation

Declaring that "if you swallow abortion, you can eventually swallow any evil at all," Schwartz ripped Planned Parenthood for being "at the center of a 20th century effort to turn selfishness into a virtue."

Schwartz charged that Planned Parenthood perpetuates a "fundamental moral error" by making that which is evil, the killing of innocent human life, an apparent good. "And many decent people in our society have succumbed, they have been seduced."

Michael Schwartz
Schwartz congratulated the people of Pennsylvania for achieving the toughest anti-abortion law to date. But he said this limited victory has made the pro-abortion forces, including groups like Planned Parenthood, only more hostile to the right to life cause.

Contending that Planned Parenthood over the years has become the center of a network carrying the philosophy of the elimination of the poor and the weak," Scwartz said the terms "overpopulation" and "unwanted child" were invented by Planned Parenthood in its spin-off groups as rationales for birth control and abortion on demand.

"Overpopulation is a dirty name for poverty," said Schwartz, "so if we call poverty overpopulation we can solve the problem of poverty by simply getting rid of people (the unborn, etc.). If we simply call it poverty, then we have the obligation to help people overcome their situation and live with dignity."

He observed that "moral people" do not accept Planned Parenthood's other invention, the unwanted child, "yet Planned Parenthood has made us ask this question, 'do we want this child,' of our own flesh and blood and made it a rationale for killing someone." The rationale is to look at unborn children as "consumer products, not as creatures of God" and it becomes easier to "make the choice" to get rid of the child.

Schwartz told the right to life gathering not to let Planned Parenthood and its "so-called pro-choice adherents" convince the country that they are "for choices" because really they are not.

"Choice is a matter of free will and free will comes from God, and they don't want any part of that." Right here in Pennsylvania, he added, the new abortion law gives choices to women and others, but Planned Parenthood is fighting those choices in the courts.

"Planned Parenthood sells more abortions than any other organization in America," Schwartz declared. "There never has been an abortion that Planned Parenthood didn't like."

In conclusion, he praised the right to live movement and groups like Pennsylvanians for Human Life, for attempting to "teach unselfishness to society, which is really the love of God manifest in people."

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.

1989 - 1983


Linda Riva, Project Rachel, Camden N.J. Diocese

Linda Riva is affiliated with American Victims of Abortion and herself has suffered the psychological consequences of abortion, spoke on the subject of "The Pain that Follows an Abortion."

A resident of Camden, N.J., and the mother of one son, Linda is a coordinator for the Project Rachel program of the Camden Diocese. The program provides post-abortion counseling for women suffering the aftermath of abortion, clinically described as post-abortion syndrome.

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.
Linda Riva


Carolyn Gerster, M.D., International Affair, NRLC

"Euthanasia will follow abortion, just as night follows day - it is simply the other side of the same coin," said Dr. Carolyn Gerster.

She said that what is happening to American medicine today is simply a replay of history. She said the euthanasia program in Germany in the 1920s was developed not by Hitler himself, but by physicians, mainly pediatricians and psychiatrists. Their intention she said was to do what they
Carolyn Gerster, M.D.
believed to be humane, but in reality it was the deliberate taking of human life.

Dr. Gerster warned that what started out as euthanasia for terminal illnesses will become euthanasia on demand and will be at the request of the government because of economic reasons. She warned that we cannot continue to kill 1.6 million unborn lives a year at one end of the spectrum without having dangerous effects at the other end. We will soon require two working individuals for each person on medicare, she said. Dr. Gerster said the promotion of Living Wills is a distraction to gain the sympathy of the public.

"Next we will have Living Wills by proxy, where a friend or relative can refuse food and water for the dying patient," she said, as she cited an Arizona case to substantiate her claim.

In citing the progression from abortion to euthanasia, Dr. Gerster warned, "If you are prepared to give a woman the unrestricted right to kill her unborn daughter. then you'd better be prepared to give that daughter the unrestricted right to kill her aged mother."

Dr. Gerster related that although she is a believing Christian now, that when she was an agnostic and for one or two years a rather militant atheist. Despite the fact that at that time she had no belief in God, she said her position against abortion was the same then as it is today. The physician vividly recalled taking the oath of Hippocrates, which she described as a pagan oath to a pagan god, and sadly stated it is no longer taken by medical students today because of the legalization of abortion.

She recited the second paragraph of the oath, which she said so many of her colleagues have conveniently forgotten, "I swear that I will abstain from all that is harmful or injurious. I will give to no man a deadly poison even though asked, nor would I suggest such a counsel. In like manner, neither would I give to a woman an instrument to produce an abortion." The oath now simply states "I will refrain from all that is illegal."

Dr. Gerster noted that this is only the second time in over 2,000 years that the paragraph has been omitted from the Hippocratic oath, the first time being during the 12 years of the Third Reich in Germany.

Dr. Gerster said that Hippocrates tried to separate killing from curing, and noted that doctors today should be above the law in the matter of the taking of human life. She expressed concern about assisted suicide legislation which is now pending in California, and sadly said, if put on the ballot would probably pass 2 to 1.

In closing, Dr. Gerster quoted the words of Dr. Joseph Stanton of Boston on the subject of euthanasia: "Let us reject the catagorizing of human beings as vegetables and look, as Mother Theresa does, on the sick, the starving, the suffering, the handicapped and the dying, and see in each one, however hidden, the image of God."

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.


Kay James, Public Affairs Director NRLC

As she is a strong, clear spokesperson for the pro-life movement, she also is as fervent an advocate for minority rights - especially for blacks.

She claims that the black community is misunderstood, stating: "We have never sought to solve our problems by killing our unborn children. We have a rich heritage of pulling together in a time of crisis. We believe we should seek to eliminate human problems, not human beings. We want real solutions for teen parents,
Kay James
solutions that both the baby and the parents can live with."

Black women, she said, abort at twice the rate of white women and she feels that image is a big part of the problem.

She concluded, however, that "after nearly 13 years of abortion on demand, black people are beginning to understand that killing unborn children is the ultimate imposition of (im)morality."

This Prayer Breakfast is available on VHS tape at the Pro-Life Center.


Rev. William Smith, S.T.D., St. Joseph's Seminary

Noting that euthanasia is not a future issue but a present issue, Smith traced the origins of the euthanasia movement to the Supreme Court's 1973 decision legalizing abortion. Once we remove the principle "thou shalt not kill" from our civil law, those on the fringes of society become extremely vulnerable, Smith stated.
Rev. William Smith, S.T.D.
The only difference between euthanasia and abortion is geography (the nursing home as opposed to the womb) and the size of the victim, Smith observed.

Tracing the close linkages between the abortion and euthanasia movements, Father Smith noted that the principal euthanasia organizations (Concern for Dying, Euthanasia Educational Council, the Society for the Right to Die) are all located in the same New York City building as the International Planned Parenthood Federation. A longtime student of both movements, Fr. Smith explained to the audience "Smith's Rule" which states that "all social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering."

Thus, he noted both movements have used phrases like pregnancy termination and self deliverance to separate abortion and euthanasia from the idea of killing. Both movements have couched their policies in terms of rights - right to choose, right to die - which provide surface appeal for dangerous concepts, according to Smith.

The year, 1985, marked a year of substantial progress for the euthanasia movement which increasingly gained sympathetic media coverage for the idea of mercy killing. Fr. Smith cited as an example of this the press reports on the Gilbert case in Florida where a husband shot his wife, allegedly a "hopeless," severely crippled Alzheimer's victim. In fact, Smith explained, Mrs. Gilbert had just returned from lunch with her friends when she was shot and had been to the hairdresser the day before.

To understand the progress the euthanasia forces have made, Fr. Smith explained, we have only to look at the state of New Jersey. In 1974, the issue before the New Jersey courts was whether to remove a respirator from Karen Ann Quinlan. In 1985 the issue before that state's courts was whether to withhold food and water from a nursing home patient who was not terminally ill. Thus we have moved from talking about removing "extraordinary means" - which everyone has the right to refuse - to removing "ordinary means" like food, water and pain relief which we must offer to another human being just because they are a human being, Smith commented.

In concluding, Father Smith challenged his listeners to set themselves apart from the prevailing moral climate by speaking out against the deadly acts of abortion and euthanasia, as well as urging them to support positive alternatives to both threats, and to work to reinsert the principle "thou shalt not kill" back into our civil law. "Do what is needed at the moment it is needed, and remember we are not required to be successful but we are required to be faithful," Smith urged.


Mr. Rod Doss, VP of The New Pittsburgh Courier

Rod Doss, VP and general manager of The New Pittsburgh Courier, whose newspaper adopted a pro-life editorial and advertising policy, recounted how he and his newspaper arrived at a pro-life position. Under Doss' leadership, The Courier printed a series of articles on the effects of abortion on the black community. Doss says that a study conducted by The Courier in 1982 showed that in Pittsburgh 62.7 percent more non-white mothers had abortions than white mothers. Doss compares the effect to genocide.
Rod Doss


Most Rev. John J. O'Connor, Bishop of Scranton

Most Rev. John J. O'Connor, Bishop of Scranton


Rev. Harry McElroy, pastor Elmhurst Presbyterian Church

"The reality of human worth is found in God's creative act," Reverend McElroy informed his audience, as he referred to the Bible to support his position that abortion is wrong - a belief, he said, that pertains to all faiths: Christian, Jewish, and even non-believers.
Rev. Harry McElroy

For information on the Annual Prayer Breakfast click here

Prayer Breakfast DVDs and VHS tapes are available at the Pro-Life Center.

Return to Home Page

Follow ProLifeScranton on Twitter
Find us on Facebook
Victory for Life
free counters