NEWS FROM MARIA MCFADDEN MAFFUCCI : A look back at 2015 . . .

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The biggest news of 2015 happened on our website: We now have the capacity to offer digital subscriptions to the Human Life Review. In addition to being able to read the entire current issue on their desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone, those with digital accounts can also access—and search—our entire archive. This is of huge significance to us. We are passionate about reaching more readers—but rising paper and postage costs have made that increasingly difficult. Now we have the ability to offer an invaluable resource to people all over the world! Readers can have the ideas of today as well as the collected wisdom of over four decades at their fingertips. Our IT director Christina Angelopoulos and our steadfast volunteer Patricia O’Brien have spent countless hours on the project, working closely with our consultants, Abbson LCC. All our current subscribers can easily set up digital accounts for free . If you do encounter any technical difficulties, we are here to help. We take customer service very seriously and are always ready to make the site more user-friendly. We want people to use it!

Thank you to all our donors for your faithful support of this project. Heartfelt thanks as well to those who contributed grants for this purpose: the Chiaroscuro, George Strake, and Storms Family foundations.

A Watershed Year for the Pro-Life Movement—And for the HLR!

Thanks again to our supporters, we have made great strides forward in outreach and up-to-the-minute relevance. Due to our greatly increased web presence, we were able to participate fully in the media coverage of the CMP videos—we linked to them on our website and sent out email reports on the latest developments. We also provided links to articles from our archives, filling in important background for the truths the videos revealed—because, sadly, none of it was new! The videos released by David Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress (CMP) starting last summer made 2015 “A Watershed Year for the Pro-Life Movement,” as our online symposium explains. Leading pro-life activists and thinkers—like Eric Metaxas, Bill McGurn, Kristan Hawkins and Clarke Forsythe—discuss the impact of the CMP videos on the movement and on the public’s perception of Planned Parenthood. Contributors report as well on other developments, some hopeful—significant progress in anti-abortion legislation on the state level—some very bad—September saw the state of California legalize assisted suicide. The symposium is also featured in the print edition of our Winter issue, coming soon.


See our archived articles from the 1980s:

“Fatal Tissue: the Horror and the Lure”, Rebecca Ryskind Teti


“Should We Harvest Fetal Tissue” Jan Frawley Desmond


In January of 2015, we welcomed Connie Marshner as a weekly blogger—her columns on current events and policy battles in Washington have been well-received and widely shared. Others featured on our growing blog page are: Ifeoma Anunkor, John Grondelski, Vincenzina Santoro and Stella Morabito.   Anne Conlon provides a valuable You Should Know section every week with links to top news stories and important commentaries.  Our website hits have grown in 2015—with an average of 5,400 a month—and our Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers have just about doubled! (Facebook, from 13,000 likes to 20,000; Twitter from 270 to 558).

Human Life Review “working around the clock”

In her Symposium contribution, Professor Helen Alvaré had this to say about the HLR:

A journal that takes on abortion has to take on all of it. The meaning of the body. Dualism. The nature of human rights. Subjectivism. The significance of the link between sex and procreation. Feminism. The claims of the vulnerable. Philosophy, theology, genetics, psychology, neurobiology, sociology. I could go on. In other words, in order to do justice to the abortion issue, nothing less than the Human Life Review was warranted, intellectually and culturally. It will be remembered with deep gratitude whenever the essential history of the U.S. abortion debate is recounted.

A look at just a few of the Review’s 2015 articles supports Alvaré’s understanding of our mission. In addition to a special section on the CMP videos (“Lies vs. Videotape,” Summer ) and “Planned Parenthood’s PR Nightmare” (Laura Echevarria, Fall); we looked at the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision (“The Meaning of Marriage,” Michael Tenaglia, Summer and Fall); had a wonderful send-up of Sister Apple, Sister Pig, the first children’s pro-abortion  “story-book” (“Looking for Sister’s Ghost,” J. Antonio Juarez, Summer); and we published moving testimonies from parents whose challenge and joy it is to raise a disabled child (“We Are More than We Can Do,” and “Raising a Disabled Child,” by Ursula Hennessey and Matthew Hennessey, Spring and Summer). We also published two philosophical essays by Professor Donald  DeMarco, “Our Harem of Imaginary Brides” (Spring) about divorcing sex from love; and “Too Late for Regret” (Fall)—about suicide. Our managing editor Anne Conlon, who does a yeoman’s job editing and shepherding essays and articles towards publication, recently received this email from Professor DeMarco:

Dear Anne: I thought you would be pleased to know that someone used “Too Late for Regret” to argue against a euthanasia bill in Concord, NH recently. She emailed me telling me that she thought my article provided an effective argument. The “Human Life Review” is working around the clock.

We were also informed that an article published in 2014, “My Darlings: An Autobiographical Essay,” by John Julius Reel about his aborted children, was selected as one of the Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2014 by the Best American Essays 2015.

Defender of Life Society: Our Legacy

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Connie Marshner

In 2015 we successfully launched the Defender of Life Society, which now has over a dozen members. Remembering us in your estate planning—or through donations of stock or from your IRA distribution— is a wonderful way to support us into the future. Connie Marshner’s other “hat”
at the Human Life Foundation is as director of the Defender of Life Society—if you would like more information, please contact her at

Great Defender of Life Dinner: An Evening to Inspire

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       Maria and Micheal Flaherty

Over 240 guests attended our Great Defender of Life Dinner in October, honoring iNY State Senator Ruben Diaz

Reverend Diaz

                               Reverend Diaz

and film producer Micheal Flaherty. As Connie Marshner wrote in her blog, it is always a scintillating event, but this year, it was magical . . . because if you forgot about current events, and focused only on the two honorees, you could pretend you were in a world where the democratic process worked, and popular culture was not poisonous.

It truly was an inspiring evening! Look for highlights and photos of the event in our Winter issue.





***SAVE THE DATE for 2016’s dinner:  October 27th in New York City!***


Matching Grants and Baby-Saving

Raising enough funds to keep us going here is always a struggle. But our donors, though a moderate sized group, are faithful and generous—and that makes all the difference! This year  we regained stable footing thanks to two matching grants—one last winter for $35,000, and another last fall (September to December) for $50,000. Both were matched by our donors, and not in large amounts either, but in faithful modest contributions from those who support our mission. In addition, an anonymous donor contributed $20,000 earmarked for our “Baby-saving” grants, so we were able to send out much-needed funds to pregnancy centers that offer lifesaving practical help for mothers and babies in crisis.

Looking Ahead/New Initiative!

This year, 2016, we welcome Ifeoma Anunkor as our new McFadden Fellow. Ifeoma, a graduate of Columbia Law School with an interest in promoting pro-life education and policy, is currently setting up our exciting new initiative, EXPECT, our outreach to young professional and college students. The program’s first event is planned for May 19th—an evening in NYC with pro-life speakers, music and fellowship. EXPECT will also be a conduit for soliciting new subscribers to the Review. We are currently working on several grant proposals to friendly foundations, seeking to capitalize on the new momentum EXPECT will generate.

The Foundation Board

Now a word about our hard-working Board of Directors. I am pleased to welcome longtime (since 2006) board member James McLaughlin as our new Chairman. Jim, an attorney, has been tirelessly available not just for any legal questions that arise but also for several special projects relating to youth outreach. Dana Hendershott, our new Vice Chairman, is a retired insurance executive who started as a volunteer in 2014 and joined the board in 2015. Dana, along with board treasurer and longtime financial manager Rose Flynn DeMaio, has helped us cut costs and carefully budget—so that this year, we were able to end the year breaking even. Jack Fowler, publisher of National Review who began his career working for my late father J.P. McFadden at the Ad Hoc office in DC, is a trusted advisor on our board, as is Father Kazimierz Kowalski, currently at St. Agnes Church in New York. Patricia O’Brien, who before she joined the board was already an invaluable volunteer, gives generously of her time and expertise–as a former computer programmer. The board meets regularly and we are indebted for the input and support our directors provide.

Finally  . . .

I am deeply grateful to all who make it possible for us to keep the Human Life Review and the Foundation vibrant and working to advocate for those whose lives are at risk, especially the unborn. I am always happy to hear from you! Just call (212-685-5210) or email





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