While most other pro-life groups focus on legislation and the political debate, Presbyterians Pro-Life is different. Our focus is on the Church. The central truths we hold as Christians should determine how we understand life-issues and how we minister to those who face pregnancies under difficult circumstances and those who have experienced abortion.

Presbyterians Pro-Life (PPL) is not a part of the structure of any denomination. Instead, PPL is an independent, nonprofit corporation made up of members and pastors in congregations in the Presbyterian and Reformed family of churches.

With the Christian Church throughout history, we believe that God, who made us in His own image, has forbidden us to shed innocent blood. PPL is committed to strengthening the bonds of family love and nurture, and to protecting innocent life.

PPL offers a variety of written resources to the broader Christian community to help Christians approach matters of life and sexuality from the perspective of biblical faith. The text of many of these resources is available at this Web site.

Board of Reference PDF Print E-mail

The Rev. Dr. John Jefferson Davis

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

South Hamilton, MA


The Rev. Dr. Howard J. Edington

Interim Pastor

Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church

Houston, TX


The Rev.Dr. John R. Huffman, Jr.

Honorably Retired Pastor


E. Peb Jackson

Generous Giving

Washington, D.C.


Philip E. Johnson

Professor of Law Emeritus

University of California, Berkeley


The Rev. Dr. Jerry Kirk

National Coalition for the

Protection of Children & Families

Cincinnati, OH


The Rev. Dr. Richard Lovelace

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

South Hamilton, MA


Mrs. Eileen Flower Moffett

Former Missionary to Korea

Princeton, NJ


The Rev. Dr. Ronald W. Scates

Highland Park Presbyterian Church

Dallas, TX


The Rev. Dr. Victor Pentz

Peachtree Presbyterian Church

Atlanta, GA


Mrs. Terry Schlossberg

Former Executive Director of Presbyterians Pro-Life

Alexandria, VA

The Rev. Dr. David D. Swanson

First Presbyterian Church

Orlando, FL

Quotes: In the Words of PPL Special Event Speakers PDF Print E-mail

In the words of PPL’s event speakers over the years…

Mother Teresa, 1988

Neither Christians nor non-Christians have the right to destroy life; it doesn’t matter what kind of child it is. It is a child of God created for greater things; to love and be loved. The gift of God…And if they don’t want the child, then they can give it to me. I want it.

The little unborn child in the womb of the mother is special to our Lord. For that little one God has died on the cross to redeem that child. And for us who know what that crucifixion means it should increase in us the desire and the determination to save that unborn child.

Richard Neuhaus, 1989

Let the church be the church…This needs to be said and said as clearly as possible, ‘to deny that another human being by virtue of not being sentient, viable…is not a brother or a sister for whom I am responsible…is heresy.’ ….Let it begin with the churches…If not with the churches, where else?

Terry Schlossberg, 1990

The Church languishes because it believes the world too much and the Sovereign Lord too little. Mainline Protestantism today is so caught up in a desire to be ‘relevant’ that it has been co-opted by the spirit of the age, and has added its approval to changing the standard to meet the circumstances where they are.

The Church’s policy exchanges the Word of God for individual conscience that must find its own truth for each new set of circumstances.

The division in our church over abortion and other moral issues is fundamentally a division…over the authority of Scripture.

Cardinal O-Connor, 1991

The most important ‘issue’ in religion and public life is the human person…Only a restoration of our belief in the sacredness of every human person will allow us to renew our families, to be serious and effective in addressing problems of poverty, racism, homelessness, drugs, abortion, and discrimination of every iind. The gospel of Christ demands nothing less of us.” (First Things, March 1990)

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, 1992

How anyone in 1992 can deny that life begins at fertilization is unimaginable to me as a physician. We do this every day [in vitro fertilization], and we know exactly when the life-clock starts.

Dr. Elizabeth Achtemeier, 1993

Abortion denies the church’s earliest, central, most enduring confession: that Jesus Christ alone is Lord over all in heaven and on earth….The worst thing we could possibly do as we look to the future would be to give up the battle against abortion. For then there would be no one to say no to the killing, no one to tell that God wants so much for all of his children to live. Evil takes over when good people do nothing, and we shall not let that happen.

…So preach and teach and talk and live the Gospel, good Christian friends. For that message, that good news, is the answer, the final answer, to the slaughter of abortion.

Sue Cyre, 1994

…Life issues of abortion and euthanasia as well as sexual practice—which the Church has struggled with for many years, cannot be separated from the first table of the Law. How we act is directly related to what we believe about God.

Thomas A. Miller, M.D., 1995

The only medically and scientifically accurate and acceptable definition for when a human life begins is at conception….A common misunderstanding is that the zygote possesses only potential human life rather than actual human life. From a scientific standpoint, this assumption is invalid. Neither the egg nor the sperm is a human being. Only when the egg and sperm unite to form the zygote does a new human life begin…It is incomprehensible that our Church, which should love life and do everything in its power to preserve life, condones the intentional killing of unborn children by abortion and justifies that killing by suggesting that there is no agreement as to when a human life begins.

Charles Colson, 1996

Something far more than abortion is at stake. And to understand it you have to understand what is at the root of the division in our society today. It isn’t a division over “choice.” “Choice” is a morally neutral term. You can choose good or bad. The division is over the definitions of liberty. It’s over whether we really have an objective moral order we live by or whether we simply make up our own rules. At root, it’s about truth…

What is going on friends, brothers and sisters, is a clash of world views, how we view meaning and reality.

William Willimon, 1999

As Christians we believe that we have been charged by God to love and to care for every human life, especially the most vulnerable…[T]hose who are “non-productive,” “dependent,” and “needy” deserve our special attention because they are the ones who are most likely to be disposed of by this society. They live as truthful reminders of who we really are…

Thomas Torrance, 2000

...As Christians our regard for the unborn and born alike must surely be governed by our commitment to Jesus Christ, the incarnate Creator and Lord of every human being, who was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary and born to be the brother and Redeemer of humankind.

Jean Wright, M.D., 2002

Unborn infants have pain receptors on their face by 7 weeks of development, and over their entire body by the 20th week of gestation in the same or greater density than adults…The fibers and substances needed to feel pain are present; but the mechanisms needed to modulate and tone down the response to pain are poorly developed….If a pre-born child requires anesthesia for fetal surgery, then shouldn’t the logical extension be that children undergoing abortion also feel pain—and would have the same requirements for anesthesia?

Frederica Mathewes-Green, 2004

There is a tremendous sadness, loneliness in the cry, ‘A woman’s right to choose.’ No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg…The truth, which our pro-choice friends know too well, is this: abortion hurts…abortion is not liberation; it is a bizarre new form of oppression.

Living without abortion means restoring that sexual balance-of-power with respect for women’s need for commitment and security—in short, abstinence before and fidelity within marriage.

Terry Schlossberg, 2006

God creates us and the New Testament concludes, therefore that “You are not your own. You were bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” …Along with this purposeful caring for us comes the biblical teaching to care for each other….And what is it that God expects…to “preserve the life of ourselves and others…comforting and …protecting and defending the innocent.”

This…would be a great year for the PC(USA) to reclaim the truth on this matter of abortion…to begin offering hope and healing to the women whose lives have been shattered by abortion and by the guilt they live with. To offer the gospel of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to all men and women in the church’s distinctive calling.

David Swanson, 2010

God has purposed our lives...life has purpose from the very beginning. If we don't know when life begins shouldn't we protect it as far back as possible--from the very beginning? We are called to protect the lives of the unborn--those that cannot protect themselves.

PPL Board of Directors PDF Print E-mail

avery4Lowell Avery
is Pastor of Cleveland Drive Presbyterian Church, PC(USA) in Cheektowaga, NY. He serves on the Nominating Committee of the Synod of the Northeast and on the Presbytery of Western NY's Church Development Committee.

Deborah HollifieldDeborah Hollifield serves as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Guymon (PCUSA), in the Oklahoma Panhandle. She is originally from Texas and is a graduate of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Before seminary Deborah served as a justice of the peace in Texas for 17 years. She has been married to Chris for 24 years, and their son Jake and wife, Bethany, are the parents of their two grandchildren.

JunePatty June has been a Board member of PPL since 1986. She is a member of First Presbyterian PC(USA) in Moultrie Georgia where she serves on the Missions Committee and teaches 4th-5th grade Sunday School. She has been a pediatrician in south Georgia since returning from serving as a PCUSA missionary in Bangladesh from 1980-84.

KephartsmCraig Kephart serves as Executive Presbyter of Washington Presbytery, PCUSA in southwestern Pennsylvania. A 1988 graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Craig was a local church pastor for over twenty years. He and his wife, Kathy, live in Washington, PA, and have three sons. Craig joined the PPL Board in 2012.

Leatherman2Martha E. Leatherman, M.D. has been a member of the PC(USA) since 1997 and is an ordained Ruling Elder in the denomination. She serves the denomination by promoting the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death at the congregational, Presbytery, and national level and is also a member of Alamo Area Presbyterians Pro-Life, chartered in 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. Leatherman is a geriatric psychiatrist and the mother of three children. She and her husband of 25 years attend St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, Texas.

MarpleoptJustin Lee Marple is the teaching shepherd (i.e., pastor) at Niagara Presbyterian Church, PC(USA) in Niagara Falls, New York. He is married to Leia and the father of two children Josiah and Arwen. Justin is a graduate of Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA) and Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia, PA). He previously served a yoked call to Peter Creek and Shepard Memorial Presbyterian Churches in eastern Kentucky. You can find out much more on his website: http://revmarple.com.

Amy S cropAmy Scherschligt (member of Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church; EPC) is a wife and mother of three amazing young adults. A life-long Presbyterian, God called her into the pro-life movement in 2008, starting with the 40 Days for Life: pray and fast to end abortion. Her hometown of Sacramento has an active pro-life community with many opportunities to save the unborn and their mothers. She began the Pacific Area chapter of PPL in January of 2014 with a committed group of friends from her church. She is a founding member of Californians For Life (CaliforniansForLife.org) which was formed in 2014, too! 

SharpeJack Sharpe serves as Vice President for Internal and Legal Affairs for PPL and is an attorney in Chambersburg, PA. He and his wife Renee are the parents of three children. Jack is an active member of Presbyterian Church, PC(USA) of Falling Spring and has served on PPL's GA team for a number of years.

SheldonjJohn Sheldon serves as current President of PPL's Board of Directors, beginning that role in 2007. He is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, PC(USA) in Ocean City, New Jersey where he lives with his wife Laurie. They are parents of nine children. John was a commissioner to the General Assembly in 2006.

SimmTerry Simm
is the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, ECO in Sibley, IA. This is the ffifth year Terry has served on the board of the PPL, but has been connected with them for several years. Terry has been a Youth Advisory Delegate to General Assembly in 1975, a Theological Advisory Delegate to GA in 1995, and minister commission to the GA in 2008. He is a graduate of the University of Dubuque and the Dubuque Theological Seminary (Dubuque, IA). Terry and his wife have three children. Sara is married to Jake Bartholomew and they adopted Athena this year; Scott is married to Bethany and they have three children, Brielle, Vivian, and Evelynn; and Samantha is married to Nick Giammatteo and they have our first boy grandchild, Vincent.

WiestScott Wiest serves as the Pastor of Shiloh Presbyterian Church, EPC in St. Mary's, PA. He is married to Sharon and the father of eight. Scott has served on the board of PPL since 2007, participating in PPL's GA team each year since then. He is active in his presbytery and in working to end abortion coverage by the PCUSA Medical Benefits Plan.

PPL Staff PDF Print E-mail

bowenmtMarie Bowen began her involvement with Presbyterians Pro-Life as a volunteer in 1988 and became the Executive Director of PPL in 2005. A former public school music teacher, Marie continues to be active as a church musician. She is an Elder at Elfinwild Presbyterian Church in Glenshaw, PA. Marie and her husband Roland are parents to three grown men and grandparents to two wonderful little boys. She is the author of a Bible Study, Pregnant With Promise, published in 2010.

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