An important Last-Minute Reminder: It All Begins With You

By Jacki Ragan, NRLC state organizational development director

Four years ago I wrote a story for National Right to Life News under the headline, “An important Last-Minute Reminder: It All Begins With You.” Why the same headline? Has nothing changed?

To the contrary, everything has changed. A dedicated pro-life President, George W. Bush, was replaced by the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history who without fail has fulfilled the fondest hopes of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and EMILY’s List. For nearly four years President Barack Obama gave not AN inch in pushing their agenda, all the while insisting he was seeking “common ground.” Whether at home or abroad, his True North is more abortions. Were he to be elected, Mr. Obama would only be emboldened to do more to promote the culture of death.

What has not changed, however, is that unborn babies rely on you. It is your volunteer power matched up against an Abortion Establishment that is rolling in money, aided and abetted by a compliant “mainstream media.”

This campaign has gone on so long it almost seems as if it started in the last century. But in a curious way, this long-drawn-out campaign has served a very important purpose. We know Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan make a powerful pro-life team, the starkest possible alternative to pro-abortion President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

And by the way, another constant from 2008 is that with the exception of talk radio and Fox News, every major communications medium will do everything in its power to persuade you your efforts are pointless, that those of us for whom abortion is enormously important can’t make a real difference. Don’t listen to them for a second. They say it only because they know that if the American public genuinely knew how radically pro-abortion Barack Obama really is he could not possibly be re-elected.

At this late date, we will not grow weary. I know with utter conviction that each and every pro-life citizen across this great nation will do their part.

Even at the eleventh hour—especially at the eleventh hour—there is much that you can do. Let me first suggest what you can do as an individual.

Volunteer your time and talents (as an individual, not as a chapter member!) in a pro-life candidate’s campaign (stuffing envelopes, ringing doorbells, raising money, assisting on position papers, staffing telephone banks, distributing yard signs and bumper stickers, etc.). There are countless things that need to be done.

Campaigns are chronically short on help. You can give that vitally important assistance. Also, encourage pro-life teens from your community to volunteer as well.

As an individual, volunteer to assist your right to life political action committee in making local “get-out-the-vote” calls and distributing literature the weekend prior to the election. This activity cannot be coordinated with any campaign and since these calls ask the pro-lifer to vote for specific pro-life candidate(s), this activity must be done as individuals and not as your chapter.

Let me next offer a list of chapter DOs and DON’Ts.

Make sure you (and your pro-life friends, relatives, and neighbors) are registered to vote. Contact your local or state election board to determine if there is still time and what is needed in order to register to vote. Please don’t delay. Never, ever believe that your one vote won’t make a difference!

Contact your state National Right to Life affiliate to see how you can best assist in the efforts it is planning. If you do not have the number of your state affiliate, please contact the NRLC State Organizational Development Department and we can get it for you (202-626-8800, ext. 142). It is important to coordinate your activities with your state affiliate to maximize pro-life efforts. They are likely to have information that you lack. Working together always accomplishes more.

If your local newspaper is anything like mine, there will be a blizzard of back and forth “letters to the editor” the last couple of weeks before the November 6 election. Your letter can help to explain the importance of pro-life issues to the community.

Make sure that all pro-lifers in your community know their elected officials’ stands on the abortion issue (which are determined through position papers, voting records, candidate questionnaires, etc.). If you do not have this information, contact your state office. This information can be distributed by your chapter and can also be distributed in pro-life church bulletins.

Also important are the activities that your group MAY NOT engage in as a chapter. As a chapter of your state NRLC affiliate, the chapter is probably recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(4) organization. In order to safeguard your chapter’s non-profit status, please use great caution and participate only in those activities permissible for your chapter.

The chapter may not use its funds to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate for local, state, or federal office. There are NO exceptions to this.

The chapter may not make a contribution (this includes financial or anything of value, such as lists, materials, etc.) to a candidate or campaign.

The chapter may not publish its own political advertisement in its local RTL newsletter. Political advertisements must be purchased by a candidate or political action committee and carry a proper disclaimer. The chapter may publish the stands or positions of candidates but must avoid editorial comments encouraging citizens to VOTE PRO-LIFE in the same newsletter.

The chapter may not make a contribution to a political action committee.

And, finally, when in doubt … either ask … or don’t do it! Your chapter is too important to the Right to Life Movement to risk it.

One last very important note.  Don’t assume that just because someone you know is pro-life, he or she understands a candidate’s true position on the abortion issue.

Make a commitment to personally educate at least 25 people and then ask each one of them to get the message to 25 more people.

Like all of you, the last few weeks have been immensely busy for NRLC but satisfying beyond words. Like you, we work on behalf of the powerless and the neglected. Late, late into the evening, knowing that what you and I do is making a difference keeps us going more than any jolt of caffeine

There is a famous saying that could stand as the pro-life movement’s founding motto:

Pray as if everything depends on God, and work as if everything depends on us.

Leave no stone unturned, no person uninformed. Standing strong and working together, we know we will make the difference!

The babies are counting on us!