Joseph E. Mortimer, Jr., the founder and publisher of Voices for the Unborn newspaper, died on Friday at the age of 80.
The pro-life supporter had done a great deal in the way of speaking out against abortion before his passing. In addition to creating and hosting various forms of media such as radio and television, he also created a directory that contains a list of about 6,000 pro-life organizations and published an article that connected abortion to some of America's economic distress, called “The Seventeen Percent Factor.”
Mortimer's involvement in the pro-life movement began in July of 1987. He wrote that after hearing a homily on abortion at St. Christopher's Parish in Somerton, Pa., his eyes were opened to “the horror of abortion.” He discussed the issue with the friar who delivered the message, Fr. Roland Slobogin, and less than two months later they started the first pro-life radio show in the Delaware Valley area.
He later utilized the newspaper, billboards, television, and radio as different forms of media to get his message out. “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart” was the simple message of his first billboard on I-95 in Philadelphia.
Mortimer previously posted a history of his organization on the Voices for the Unborn website. “It was our belief then and it is our belief today that we must educate the general public about all the abortion issues,” he wrote. “Even today if you ask anyone not involved in the pro-life movement anything about abortion, partial birth abortion, or what the law is governing abortion, you will find that 95% have no idea what the truth is about abortion.”
The Voices for the Unborn newspaper has grown from a small local publication to one that reaches 18 different countries and 40 different states in the U.S. The television program of the same name has also reached out to a number of different states and an estimated 10 million people.
Joe Mortimer is survived by his wife, Barbara, their sons, Joseph III and Jim, their daughters, Barbara Bjorn and Kathy Petrie, and his sisters, Peggy Venticinque and Phyllis Bailey.
Pro-Life Educators of America said in a statement, “Joe Mortimer was one of those rare individuals who gave more than he received – and left behind more than what he arrived with. Although we will miss him until our reunion in Christ's kingdom, Joe's legacy lives on, and soldiers on, in the multitude of three generations of pro-lifers whom Joe educated, informed, and inspired.”
A public viewing and Mass will be held for Mortimer at St. Christopher's Roman Catholic Church in Somerton, Pa., on Wednesday. The viewing will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the Mass will begin an hour later at 10:30.