By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. It is no secret to readers of National Right to Life News that rare is the issue where we don’t have at least one story about the marvelous cadres of young people who give our Movement great confidence in the future. Thus this story fits perfectly into our year-long “Roe at 40” series in which we print some of the best articles from NRL News going all the way back to 1973. This appeared in the April 2008 edition.
In our March 2008 issue we ran a front-page story in which Joleigh Little’s detailed how 500+ people, including scores of high school and college students, attended a hearing in Wisconsin on SB 398.
This misguided bill is an attempt to repeal the state’s protective pro-life statute 940.04 which would immediately shelter unborn children from abortion upon the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Joleigh subsequently gave me a heads up that the hearing had been broadcast and was accessible online. As I watched, naturally I spent most of my time transfixed by the Wisconsin kids who were bunched at the very, very end of the six-and-one-half-hour long session. The chairman, no friend, was nonetheless obviously impressed by their remarks and their behavior throughout the long, long day.
Joleigh, naturally, was inordinately proud of her charges. And with good reason.
It is no exaggeration to say that the kids were marvelous. You came away knowing they were articulate, courteous, and thoughtful, ready to make the case for life. Their defense included those instances where abortion might be considered the “first response,” such as a physically difficult pregnancy or in the case of a very young mother. The beauty of adoption was mentioned over and over again.
One young woman articulated out loud the theme that ran through their testimony: these young people had a dream for Wisconsin that, when realized, could serve as a model for all states.
I was mesmerized by the comments of a nursing student. She spoke quietly but with immense power, raising the banner of the kind of state she wanted Wisconsin to be.
She completely disarmed the members of the committee who’d stuck around.
“One week ago I thought today I would have been at a cardiology unit at a hospital in Eau Claire [Wisconsin], caring for patients whose lives are precious,” she began. “Instead I am here today to ask you to care for people whose lives are precious and whose voices aren’t heard.”
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What kind of state did she want Wisconsin to be?
A “state in which God is honored by how we treat His creation”; a state in which unborn children have full protection under our laws not a state where unborn children are “burned, torn apart, or killed in any other way while our leaders turn their backs and pretend that nothing happened”; and a state in which “pregnant women who are scared and confused will receive compassionate, hopeful and truthful care in giving their children life.”
Joleigh is the first to tell you she’s kind of weepy. But to be honest, I, too, cried as I watched these young people confidently make the case for those who cannot speak up for themselves.
These were tears of pride, of hope, and of admiration. When I was 18 or 19, I’d have been petrified, so nervous that I would barely have had the gumption to attend the hearing, let alone testify.
But these kids are made of sterner stuff. I tip my hat and extend my love to these great new champions for life.