By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., Academic Director, NRLC Academy
This year’s Academy students studied Biology and Ethics. They learned about fetal development and the uniqueness of human life. The studied History, so that they understood how we ended up with assisted suicide and abortion on demand and when and how and why the pro-life movement formed to do something about it.
They looked at some of the justifications given for abortion and how those arguments can be answered not just with counterarguments but with legislation that exposes the reality of abortion and prompts women and society at large to consider more positive life affirming alternatives.
They studied basic Organizational and Communication skills so that they can help organize pro-life groups and help them use media effectively.
Students learned how Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide pose a new threat to human life in our day, and how hospitals, insurers, and government bureaucrats have tried using cost cutting as a reason to deny lifesaving medical care.
It’s a bona fide college course, with classes, reading, research, labs, and papers. That’s why a couple of this year’s students are earning college credit from Franciscan University of Steubenville.
But they’ve not only been given lots of information, they’ve also had the opportunity to put it into practice, engaging in mock lobbying, interviews, preparing testimony, delivering speeches, writing columns, developing ad campaigns, and even analyzing medical studies.
It’s prepared them to be effective pro-life advocates at a time when such leaders are needed.
Jane M. Johnson, a teen leader from North Dakota said, “I had the amazing opportunity this summer to learn in depth about issues I’ve been passionate about my whole life. From mock debates to the Capitol, from ad campaigns to a baseball game, I enjoyed a summer in the city AND feel more prepared for my work for life.”
Rebbeca Rahm, a passionate pro-lifer from Minnesota, called the Academy “a truly rewarding experience.” Rebbeca said that “The people that I have come to know here have been the best part of the academy. I loved to hear and see how passionate each person is here is about protecting life.”
Lillian Getgen, who attends a college in Florida, told us that “I came to the academy wanting to gain courage for what I stand for, which is of course life!” It was a lot of material to cover in just a few all-too-short weeks, but Lillian says “Heading back home after five weeks filled with many practicums and heavily informed reading material I’ve been able to become more confident when discussing why I am Pro-life. I feel as though with the amount of practice I’ve had, I can take on any pro-choice argument that comes my way.”
Katie Probst, a recent Benedictine (KS) college graduate from Massachusetts that already has a job lined up in pro-life work, said “Coming to the Academy, I thought I knew a lot pro-life movement. But at the Academy, not only did I learn more in-depth information about the movement, I learned how to use this knowledge. I believe that the Academy has prepared me to better defend and fight for life.”
National Right to Life appreciates the testimonials, but it was the passion and dedication of these students that made this year’s Academy so successful. Each had different talents and interests and we believe each will make their own unique contributions to the movement.