PHL is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization established in 1970 (before Roe v Wade) to provide educational presentations on pro-life issues. While a number of other pro-life organizations have been formed in the Philadelphia area since that time (other local pro-life organizations) PHL is the only one which has continuously focused on its original mission, education. The other organizations, many of them split off from PHL, have focused on other pro-life issues such as chastity, crisis pregnancy, political action, post-abortion support, legislation and other action.
We are staffed almost entirely by volunteers. PHL has one full time executive director, Martha Short, and a part time office manager, Kathy Bond.
PHL has a volunteer board of 12 people of varied backgrounds but all committed to furthering the pro-life message. Board committees include Education, Finance, Public Relations, Special Events and Technology. PHL also has an advisory board of medical, legal, and educational specialists.
Pennsylvanians for Human Life is dedicated to the protection of human life from conception until natural death. We recognize that the single greatest threat to human life is the lack of information about the biological, intellectual and social uniqueness of every human person.
Our mission is to provide clear and accurate information to persons of all ages on the process of human development before and after birth, especially as this process is thwarted by the practices of abortion and euthanasia.
We seek to provide this information through both public and private forums - including schools and adult groups - in an effort to reach as many persons as possible with the message that every human life has absolute worth, irreplaceable value and the right to lifelong protection.
WHAT pro-life Issues does PHL Address?
PHL addresses direct and deliberate threats to human life, beginning at conception until natural death. The primary such threat today, at least numerically is abortion. Other threats include infanticide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, and the growing threats coming from biotechnology, which include embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, genetic diagnosis, and in vitro fertilization.
PHL intentionally restricts its range of issues addressed in order to be and to remain fully qualified and up to date on the issues which we do address. We define that range as the protection of human life from conception to natural death. While we recognize the very real importance of other issues, we also recognize that we cannot keep our speakers adequately qualified to address all of these issues.
PHL’s primary mode of operations is in giving pro-life presentations in middle school and high school classrooms in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. We also give presentations to parents, college students and medical students, and to various adult groups.
A set of middle and high school presentations have been developed for each grade level and are organized to fit within a single class period, typically about 45-50 minutes. Presentation aids, including videos, life-like fetal models and ultrasound images, are selected to fit each grade level presentation.
Typically PHL delivers a set of presentations once a year to each school. Most of the schools at which PHL makes presentations are schools where we have given presentations in prior years. In many of these schools PHL speakers have been giving these pro-life presentations for decades.
The other groups to which PHL makes presentations cover a widening range of threats to human life. Often these presentations are packaged to include multiple issues. Recent presentations have included
- legal issues relating to threats to human life
- assisted suicide and end of life care
- crisis pregnancyand support services
- post-abortion recovery
- biotechnology, especially stem cells, cloning, and in vitro fertilization
Last year PHL delivered over 900 presentations to over 60,000 people. The numbers of presentations, schools and other groups, and people, have been increasing steadily over the years.
The PHL website, last year, was viewed by more than 90,000 people! We have received queries and comments from all over the world.
WHO gives these PHL presentations?
The PHL presentations are given by trained volunteer speakers. PHL currently lists approximately 45 speakers in various levels of activity. Some very active speakers give presentations two or three times a week. Some of our speakers have not given presentations in more than a year. Most are obviously between those two extremes.
PHL’s volunteer speakers bring a variety of personal, educational and professional experiences to our presentations. Active and inactive speakers receive monthly calendars and up-to-the-minute respect-life news.
A very important characteristic of PHL speakers, in addition to their dedication to the cause of pro-life, is that they are well trained and knowledgeable on the subject.
HOW are PHL speakers trained?
Speaker training at PHL is a continuous process, in part because of the continuous arrival of new information, new technology, and new insights, and also because of the need to train new speakers and to refresh the knowledge of the occasional speakers.
PHL speaker training usually begins with a two hour training session for new speakers, followed by observations of experienced speakers in a classroom environment. New speakers usually observe a few such sessions until they feel comfortable on their own. Experienced speakers often sit in on each others sessions to pick up more information or presentation ideas.
In addition, the Executive Director, Martha Short, and other PHL members read and forward news and other articles of interest to all speakers. PHL members also attend numerous educational seminars on related subjects, including both seminars given by pro-life groups as well as those given by our various opponents. Attendance at annual conventions of the National and Pennsylvania Right-to-Life Committees by PHL members has been helpful. PHL’s Advisory Board offered professional advice in the areas of medicine, sciences, academics, legal issues, current legislation and health care.
This PHL web site is also used by speakers to learn of new issues and specialized information.