Priests for Life has announced this year’s honorees for the National Prayer Service to take place on the morning of the March for Life (Friday, January 20, 2023).
[PDF version of the bios below]
Margaret (Peggy) Hartshorn is the chairman of the board of Heartbeat International. She became involved in the pro-life movement soon after the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and she and her husband, Michael Hartshorn, began housing pregnant women a year later. Mrs. Hartshorn is an architect of the pregnancy help movement, opening a health center in Ohio in 1981 and later serving as the first full-time president of Heartbeat International from 1993 until 2015. She and her husband are the parents of two adopted children and have five grandchildren.
Denise Cocciolone is the founder and president of the National Life Center, the parent organization of 1st Way Pregnancy Centers. Her first center, opened in her hometown of Woodbury, N.J., was the fourth in the nation. Mrs. Cocciolone was formerly the executive director and member of the board of directors of Birthright USA, a nationwide chain of pregnancy help centers. Denise and her husband John adopted two children. John Cocciolone died in 2012.
Thomas Glessner is the founder and president of the National Association of Family and Life Advocates, which represents more than 1,600 pregnancy centers and medical clinics across the country. In 2018, the organization won a free-speech case before that benefits pregnancy centers and all Americans. Mr. Glessner is an attorney and member of the bar for the states of Washington and Virginia and for the Supreme Court. He and his wife, Laura, are the parents of four and grandparents of six.
Christopher Bell is the founder and executive director of Good Counsel Homes, a network of supportive residential homes for expectant and new mothers, and their children. It was founded in 1985 and currently has four homes in New York and New Jersey. Mr. Bell studied Scripture in Rome and holds several degrees in counseling and communications. He and his wife, Joan Andrews Bell, are the parents of seven children, six of whom are adopted. They also have three grandchildren.
Joan Andrews Bell is a pioneer in pro-life activism, blocking the doors of abortion clinics with Operation Rescue and facing arrest more than 100 times, most recently in March 2022. Mrs. Bell spent more than two years in prison, some of it in solitary confinement for refusing to promise to leave the rescue movement. She also is involved in Good Counsel Homes, a ministry founded by her husband, Christopher Bell. The couple are the parents of seven children, six of them adopted. They also have three grandchildren.
Christopher Slattery is the founder and president of Expectant Mother Care – EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers, a network of alternatives-to-abortion centers currently operating in three of New York City’s five boroughs. He was working in advertising in 1982 when he ran into a woman he knew who was outside a Manhattan abortion business and soon after, he saved his first baby after counseling a 15-year-old mother. He became the spokesman for Operation Rescue in New York before opening the city’s first pregnancy help center. Mr. Slattery also opened the first mobile ultrasound clinic in a major city. He and his wife, Eileen Tierney Slattery, are the parents of four children.
International Life Services, founded by the late Sr. Paul Vandegaer, will also be recognized.
Birthright has been providing help to pregnant moms throughout North America for over 50 years and will also be honored.
Care Net, founded in 1975, is one of the major networks of pregnancy centers and will also be one of the honorees.