A Case of Mistaken Identity Rectified

By Ingrid Duran, NRLC Department of State Legislation Assistant

Mary Spaudling Balch, JD (left), director of NRL's Department of State Legislation, and Ingrid Duran, Department of State Legislation Assistant

For the last 13 years, National Right to Life has been an exhibitor at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual conference.  This year it was held in New Orleans, and I was fortunate enough to attend for the very first time. 

For me the three days were a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  I’ve worked in the Department of State Legislation for 16 years, and having the chance to meet with pro-life state legislators was a blessing. Many stopped by the NRLC booth not only to express their support for our efforts to protect unborn children but also to convey their appreciation for the NRLC presence nationally and in every state. 

This was a humbling experience. During the busiest moments of every hectic legislative session our department works closely with our state affiliates who in turn work hand-in-hand with their pro-life legislative leaders who will carry and defend our bills on the House and Senate floors.  It was richly rewarding to be able to meet and personally thank the legislators for their commitment to those who cannot speak or defend themselves.

At our booth we displayed a beautiful backdrop–a large photo of an unborn child–and then successively smaller frames of different stages of the baby’s in-utero development.  On the first table we had the life-size fetal models, “precious feet” pins, colorful booklets of “a Baby’s First Months.” All the while the DVD player displayed the NRLC DVD “Infinite Possibilities.”

On the second table we had petitions, various fact sheets on Planned Parenthood and the unborn child’s capacity to feel pain, NRLC’s legislative sampling for 2012 along with a summary of pro-life laws. Those include the historic “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” Ultrasound Viewing laws, Web-Cam Abortion Bans, and States that Prevent Taxpayer Subsidy for Abortion through State Exchanges (“opt out”).

I’d like to offer one very telling anecdote. On the first day when attendees passed by our booth, they immediately went to the first table to pick up precious feet pins to  proudly wear during the ALEC conference and also bring back to their loved ones back home.  They instantly spoke with my co-worker, Marjorie Higgins, about pro-life legislation. 

But, to be honest, at first I felt like I was getting nervous—even disapproving glances—but I dismissed it as being “all in my head.” I decided that whereas Marjorie has been a presence at ALEC since 1998, I was a new and unfamiliar face. 

The days following that, I had this odd experience. Two proudly pro-life state legislators looked at me then said, “I don’t think so.” A second later, having gone to the first table, they said, “Yes, this is much better.” 

I still had no idea why on earth the comment was made until hours later a woman asked me if the conference had set up these booths side-by-side on purpose, or was it a mere accident.  THAT’S WHEN IT HIT ME! 

On our literature racks we had three new fact sheets exposing Planned Parenthood for what it truly is – an organization that is the largest abortion provider in the nation which makes millions of dollars off this ugly trade. However a quick glance had convinced some that I was the representative FOR Planned Parenthood! 

Once I realized this I made an effort to make sure everyone  knew I worked for the National Right to Life Committee, and that OUR fact sheets revealed the pro-abortion giant’s real agenda. 

This was truly a case of mistaken identity, one that I am happy to report was resolved with the truth and a few laughs. 

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