By Derrick Jones
Spend just five minutes with the staff of National Right to Life and you’ll see just how clearly that statement rings true. In no other nationwide organization –across the ideological and political spectrums – will you find a group of people so dedicated and committed to the work they are doing on a daily basis. Indeed, after the lights dim in the office buildings in our Penn Quarter neighborhood in Washington, they’re still on at the National Right to Life offices – sometimes well into the dark hours of morning.
In the corporate culture, pro-lifers – whether working here in Washington or in local chapter offices – would most certainly be considered “workaholics.” But we know that lives are at stake and the work is too important to ever stop.
One of the primary functions of the National Right to Life staff is to serve you who work daily at the local level, making sure you have the tools you need to educate your communities about the latest bills in Congress and ensuring that the latest research about everything from Planned Parenthood to post-abortion syndrome is at your fingertips.
Every year, the National Right to Life Board of Directors recognizes the work of the staff who work collectively, without accolades or curtain calls, for the tireless dedication to our cause. For the past seven years, however, the Board has singled out members of the staff who have devoted twenty or more years to National Right to Life. In that time, 25 members of the staff have been recognized. (Institutional memory of that quantity and quality is worth a fortune in the corporate world. It’s perhaps why National Right to Life, our state right to life affiliates and local chapters are so effective – at every level we have a tremendous amount of “institutional memory” to guide us daily).
This year, the Board recognized four members of the staff – the class of 1991, if you will – who have served on the National Right to Life staff for twenty years:
Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D.
It’s safe to say that Dr. Randy O’Bannon, who began as an intern as a post-graduate student and now serves as Director of Education and Research, is one of the pro-life movement’s foremost authorities on the functions and inner-workings of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. His constant research ensures that pro-life activists have the most accurate, documented materials available about the nation’s abortion giant. He is also the leading expert on the chemical abortifacient RU-486 and the efforts to expand its dangerous and deadly reach.
A native of Cuba whose family escaped after the rise of Castro, Rai Rojas has worked for twenty years in his position as Hispanic Outreach Director to help National Right to Life, and especially state and local right to life groups, spread the pro-life message within the Hispanic community. He has travelled the country, and the world, speaking at rallies and conventions. In addition, Rai has worked with NRLC’s Vice President for International Affairs Jeanne E. Head, R.N. representing National Right to Life at numerous United Nations conferences educating delegates from Latin America about pro-abortion efforts to enshrine abortion as a worldwide “right.”
Hon. Mike Spence
In 1988, National Right to Life established a Western Regional Office in Sacramento, California to work our affiliates west of the Rockies. Based in the greater Los Angeles area, Mike Spence, a special assistant to the Western Office, serves as a “jack of all trades,” doing whatever necessary to assist Western Regional Director Brian Johnston and the Sacramento office. An outstanding political strategist, Mike works through various channels (including a term as president of the California Republican Assembly) to make the pro-life message heard by politicians in a western political environment that’s not openly friendly to the pro-life movement.
As a fundraising and political strategist for twenty years, Roger Stenson quietly worked to help National Right to Life’s state right to life affiliates expand their reach and their membership base. Willing to go wherever the movement needed his talents, Roger (with his family in tow) has moved across the country to help revitalize state right to life organizations in Hawaii, Maryland and New Hampshire. While still working to help state organizations achieve their maximum reach and potential, Roger also serves as a researcher for NRLC’s Powell Center for Medical Ethics and as an instructor for the National Right to Life Academy.
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