PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—“Not only make abortion eventually illegal but also to make it unthinkable,” was pro-life activist David Bereit’s message to those attending the 40th annual “Stand Up For Life” dinner on Sunday.

Bereit was speaking to some 1,100 people at the event hosted by the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia at a Sheraton hotel in the city’s downtown.

As the event’s keynote speaker, Bereit said he would never forget when he heard that Roe v. Wade had been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, with the court determining that the right to an abortion is not in the Constitution.

But after celebrating that moment, Bereit recognized that the pro-life movement had not accomplished all of its goals. “Abortion has not ended—there’s no nationwide ban on abortion,” he said.

There are 14 states where abortions are now no longer happening, Bereit said. “But yet thousands of people are fleeing across the borders to have abortions in neighboring states,” he said.

“As we look at what’s going on in our culture today, we have to realize abortion kills children, abortion hurts women, abortion rips family apart, it has worldly consequences, but at its root, abortion is a spiritual struggle,” said Bereit.

“We have to understand the spiritual nature of this struggle and realize that we need to approach it with spiritual weapons.”

Long-time pro-life activist David Bereit spoke at the 40th annual Stand Up For Life dinner in Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 20, 2022. (Lily Sun/The Epoch Times)

Abortion in Pennsylvania is legal up to the 24th week of pregnancy. In 2020, there were 32,123 abortions performed in Pennsylvania, and half of those (16,714) happened in a five-county region within Greater Philadelphia.

Planned Parenthood in His Texas Town

Bereit has been involved in the pro-life movement for the last 21 years, and he shared with The Epoch Times why he got involved.

The first motivation was when Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States, opened a facility in the town where he was living in Texas.

“My heart just broke. And I realized children are going to die; women are going to be hurt here. I needed to do something about it,” said Bereit.

He and his wife then began volunteering with a local pro-life group.

Eventually, Bereit quit his sales and marketing job in the pharmaceutical industry and devoted himself to the local pro-life group. He later headed national and international pro-life organizations.

Bereit was a co-founder of “40 Days for Life,” an organization that coordinates 40-day campaigns to end abortions at specific locations through prayer, fasting, community outreach, and peaceful all-day vigils in front of abortion facilities.

The first 40 Days for Life campaign was held in 2007 in Texas, he said. By the end of those 40 days, the abortion rate had dropped by 28 percent in his town.

Bereit said that 40 Days for Life campaigns have prevented 22,829 abortions, closed 132 abortion centers, and helped 247 abortion workers to quit their jobs.

The 40 Days for Life campaigns have also spread internationally.

Epoch Times Photo
Pro-life activists pray while they take part in the campaign “40 Days For Life” outside the Pro Familia center, which offers consultations on abortions in Frankfurt, Germany, on March 26, 2019. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Why People Support Abortion

Bereit thinks that many people are misled about the causes of abortion.

“They think it’s a solution for women. I’ve met hundreds and hundreds, and they regret their abortions in many cases. Also, they fail to recognize the dignity and the humanity of the child within the womb,” he said.

“I certainly think that one of the reasons that people support abortion is because they don’t have a faith in God almighty, they don’t recognize that He is on the throne and that He made every human life, and they don’t see human life is made in His image and likeness as sacred.”

A few attendees also shared their understandings with reporters from The Epoch Times.

Chris Parker, a credit officer in an insurance company, has attended the Stand Up for Life dinners for many years. He said that many people probably don’t totally understand what abortion really is.

Epoch Times Photo
Chris Parker, a credit officer in an insurance company, at the 40th annual Stand Up For Life dinner in Philadelphia, Nov. 20, 2022. (May Lin/The Epoch Times)

“In any other area, you can watch a heart surgery on TV, you can watch any other procedure, but nobody really seems to want to see what an abortion actually does to the child,” he said.

Parker believes if women could see ultrasounds of their children, they would choose not to have abortions because they would realize that the fetuses were human beings.

Judy and Tim Malloy, who adopted three girls from China, have also attended the dinner for years.

“We feel that a lot of the women who do choose abortion really don’t have true options. A lot of them are under pressure, they feel abandoned by the culture, and have nowhere to go,” Tim said.

The couple supports crisis pregnancy centers, where women are given support and aid to keep their pregnancies, keep the children, or have the children adopted.

Epoch Times Photo
Judy and Tim Malloy at the 40th annual Stand Up For Life dinner in Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 20, 2022. (May Lin/The Epoch Times)

‘Hot-Button Issue’

Bereit said, as he has traveled across America and even internationally, he has met many heroic women who are willing to say: “I had an abortion; I thought it was going to be an answer, but it created all these problems for me, I found healing, but I want to help other people avoid the pain that I’ve gone through.”

He gave an example of the “Silent No More Awareness Campaign,” run by two women who had abortions, Janet Morana and Georgette Forney. He said the two women realized how much their abortions had hurt them. They had gone through a lot of anguish, a lot of pain, suicidal thoughts, and addictions.

“They started to connect with other women who had abortions, who share the same thing. It was this hidden secret. Nobody wanted to talk about it because abortion is a hot-button issue,” he said.

“I think that Georgette and Janet are two heroic examples of that. What they’ve inspired in hundreds and thousands of others is just absolutely amazing.”

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign, founded in 2003, is the world’s largest mobilization of women and men who have lost children to abortion. They help people to find healing and to share their stories.

Pro-life Activist Arrested by FBI

The full-house audience was asked to pray for pro-life activist Mark Houck, father of seven, who was raided by the FBI  two months ago for his pro-life activities.

Houck, the founder and co-president of The King’s Men, will be in court in January over the raid. He was at the dinner, where he also spoke with  The Epoch Times.

“We’re engaged in that battle to defend our rights as pro-lifers, but in this case, it was an act of terror against my children, my wife, and my seven children with full guns blazed upon them. It was horrific, really, and very reckless,” Houck said of his arrest on federal charges at his home at 7 am on Sept. 23  by FBI agents and state troopers.

Department of Justice prosecutors have accused Houck of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, accusations that Houck denies. The case had already been tossed out by Pennsylvania state courts.

Epoch Times Photo
Pro-life activist Mark Houck at the 40th annual Stand Up For Life dinner in Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 20, 2022. (May Lin/The Epoch Times)

“We want to end abortion. We want to make it unthinkable. We want to make it so that women don’t have a reason to ever seek an abortion because we have so much support for them,” he said.

Houck said he is determined to fight for pro-life.

“We continue to do that, and we will do that till the day we die and pass it on to the next person.”

Besides Houck, Bereit said there had been ten other cases of pro-life activists being harassed and arrested at gunpoint by the FBI.

“These incidents are happening as the politicization of the Department of Justice is creating more and more havoc,” said Bereit.

Bereit said he blames the FBI and the Department of Justice for letting themselves be used as political weapons against adversaries.

Challenges Ahead

Tom Stevens, president and CEO of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, welcomed all those who attended the event.

“It’s great to have all these people who believe in the sanctity of life come together and be inspired,” Stevens said.

Epoch Times Photo
Tom Stevens, president and CEO of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, at the 40th annual Stand Up For Life dinner in Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 20, 2022. (Lily Sun/The Epoch Times)

Stevens said they are hoping to find a way for a state constitutional amendment to ban abortion in Pennsylvania.

Stevens said he understands that there are formidable new challenges ahead in the state.

“We need your help, wherever you are, to get involved, to pray, and to live a life that’s holy and stands up for people and stands up for the humans in the womb,” he said.

You can watch video coverage of the annual ‘Stand Up For Life’ dinner hosted by the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia below.

Lily Sun


Lily Sun is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the tri-state of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

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