Margaret Hartshorn: a lifetime of serving Life / “For Life” magazine – Spring 2016

5 - margarte hartshorn by Kristina Hernandez

Margaret H. (Peggy) Hartshorn, PhD, has served as President of Heartbeat International since 1993. Under Peggy’s leadership, Heartbeat has grown from 250 members to become the largest and most expansive network of Christ-centered, life-affirming, pregnancy help ministries in the world with 1800 affiliates in 50 countries.  Peggy threw herself into the cause of life soon after the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, on January 22, 1973, declared abortion restrictions unconstitutional.

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Peggy and her husband began housing pregnant women in their home in 1974. They founded Pregnancy Decision Health Centers (PDHC) in Columbus, Ohio, on January 22, 1981.

Under her leadership, PDHC became one of the first pregnancy centers to offer ultrasound services and grew to five locations, serving over 15,000 hotline and office clients annually. Peggy joined the Board of Alternatives to Abortion International, in 1986.

In 1993, Peggy became its first full-time President and the organization changed its name to Heartbeat International. After 20 years as an English professor at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, she fully dedicated to Heartbeat International.

Under her leadership, Heartbeat has grown from a network of 250 affiliated pregnancy help centers to the most expansive network of pregnancy help ministries in the world, with 1,200 pregnancy help centers, medical clinics, maternity homes, non-profit adoption agencies, and abortion recovery programs, in 50 countries (nearly 900 in the United States).

Today, Peggy travels and speaks extensively, sharing her “hands on” experience with pregnancy help ministries as they develop programs on abortion, abortion recovery, sexual integrity, adoption, and alternatives to abortion.

Peggy’s book, Foot Soldiers Armed with Love: Heartbeat’s First 40 Years, is a personal history of the first 40 years of the pregnancy help movement.

Peggy has been married to Michael Hartshorn for 44 years.  They have two adopted children, now married, and five grandchildren.



  • offer free, confidential services to women and men facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies,
  • overall, there are 2,500-2,800 life-affirming pregnancy help centers and medical clinics in the U.S.
  • 30,000 pregnancy help volunteers
  • give over 5.7 million hours of uncompensated time to their communities each year.
  • an annual estimate of 230,000 ultrasounds are performed every year at pregnancy help medical clinics
  • each day, an average of 6,500 US citizens visit a pregnancy help location, totaling over 2.3 million served every year
  • the combined annual budget of US pregnancy help centers totals $400 million – almost all of which is drawn from local donors and foundations
  • an average of 38 volunteers and 531 served clients per location in 2015
  • over 2 million calls and/or contacts answered by Heartbeat International’s Option Line from 2003 to 2014
Source: REPORT: 160K Children Rescued from Abortion Celebrating First Christmas published on Pregnancy Help News

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