Margaret H. (Peggy) Hartshorn, Ph.D., currently Chairman of the Board of Heartbeat International, has served on the Board for over 30 years. She also served as Heartbeat’s President for 23 years (1993-2015).
Peggy co-founded Heartbeat International’s Option Line in 2002. It is the only 24/7, bilingual, internet-based, pro-life call center in the world. Option Line handles about a quarter of a million calls for help each year, connecting callers to their community-based pregnancy help center for life-saving and life-changing help.
Peggy and her husband, Mike, joined the pro-life movement in 1973, first working with the educational, political, and legislative arm of the movement. They housed pregnant women in their home (beginning in 1974), attended their first Heartbeat conference in 1978, opened the first pregnancy help center in Columbus, Ohio, in 1981, and Peggy joined the leadership team of Heartbeat International in 1986 (as a member of the Board, later Chairperson and President of Heartbeat).
Heartbeat International is now the largest life-affirming pregnancy help network in the world with over 2,100 affiliates (pregnancy help centers, medical clinics, maternity homes and nonprofit adoption agencies) in 50 countries.
Peggy has traveled to 52 countries, teaching and training, visiting existing pregnancy help organizations, and helping to start new ones in Eastern and Western Europe, Australia, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. She has also appeared on television and radio as a spokesperson for pro-life and life-affirming alternatives to abortion, and she is the author of Foot Soldiers Armed with Love: The First Forty Years of Heartbeat International.
Peggy is the recipient of many awards for pro-life work, including: President’s Volunteer Service Award under President George H.W. Bush, the J.C. Penney Golden Rule Award, the Defender of Life Award from Students for Life, the Cardinal John J. O’Connor pro-life award from Legatus International, the Norrine A. and Raymond E. Ruddy Memorial Life Prizes Award, the Sanctity of Human Life Award from Care Net, the Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle Award from the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, the Founder’s Award from the Christ Child Society, the Catholic Woman of the Year Award from the Diocese of Columbus (Ohio), the Life Champion Award from Pregnancy Support Services of Asia, the Woman of Impact Award from WRFD Christian Radio, and the Praesidium Vitae Award from Aid for Women.
Peggy has been married to Mike for 47 years, and they have two children, adopted as infants, and 5 grandchildren.
Peggy Hartshorn’s presentation: “Life Affirming Pregnancy Help: Key to Bringing America Back to Life” is available below: