“You are not speaking for yourself—you are speaking for them”

By Carol Tobias, President, National Right to Life

Editor’s note. My family and I will be on our vacation through September 7. I will occasionally add new items but for the most part we will repost “the best of the best” — the stories our readers have told us they especially liked.

Editor’s note. The following was part of the closing ceremonies at the end of NRLC’s 2018 Academy. Mrs. Tobias was addressing Kathryn Probst, Rebbeca J. Rahm, Jane M. Johnson, and Lillian Getgen.

NRL Academy students with NRLC President Carol Tobias (center). Left to right, Jane M. Johnson, Kathryn Probst, Rebbeca J. Rahm, and Lillian Getgen

Katie, Rebbeca, Jane, and Lily, we are honored that you chose to spend your summer here with us, learning more about how you can impact the world for LIFE.

Long before any of you were born, there was a senator from Oregon, named Robert Packwood, who was a pro-abortion Republican. There aren’t many of those left, thank goodness, but in 1983, ten years after the Roe v. Wade decision, he said, “Abortion is an issue that burns real hot and like any fire that burns red hot, it won’t be long before it burns itself out!”

It has been many years since the late Sen. Packwood was in the United States Senate, but we are still here and, 35 years later, abortion remains one of the hottest issues in the country. This fire isn’t burning out and, indeed, we look to you to keep the flames going.

A lot has been thrown at you these past five weeks. Keep the syllabus for this class– if anything in life ever gets difficult, pull it out, look through it, and say, “Wow, if I can handle that, I can handle anything!”

And you can. After this course, you can be pretty confident that you know more about pro-life issues than many pro-lifers, and you certainly know more than almost all of the general public. Take the knowledge you gained, use it with confidence and use it wisely.

You may not be totally prepared for EVERY question thrown at you or every situation in which you find yourself, but you will still be able to handle it.

Since President Trump was elected and especially since there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade might be in trouble, our opponents have become even more angry, more active, and more ferocious. And I expect it to get worse as we start to pass more laws and protect more babies.

They don’t care about the fact that an innocent baby is being killed. They don’t care about women being hurt or injured during an abortion, so they certainly won’t care if they hurt someone’s feelings, or worse.

They march, they shout, they lie. And they’re in your face. They’re bullies who try to win by intimidation. Some of them wear shirts that say “Nasty Woman.” At least they admit it!

Pro-lifers, on the other hand, respect life, including the lives of those who disagree with us. We are nice and polite– and sometimes timid. We don’t want to offend others, we don’t want to cause arguments or fights, we don’t want to upset our friends or family or neighbors.

But we have the truth. We have the facts. We also need to have the courage to stand up for those whose lives are being threatened.

If you ever get nervous, or your courage starts to waver a bit, think of the unborn baby who needs your voice. Some woman who hears you may be thinking about abortion at that very moment. Think of the elderly grandma in the nursing home who is the potential victim of starvation and dehydration. Think of that person with a disability who is soon to be a target for assisted suicide. You are not speaking for yourself—you are speaking for them. Don’t be afraid to speak out. Have courage.

There are thousands of wonderful pro-life activists all over the country. Some of them don’t know everything that you learned this summer. But they do have experience so I would encourage you to pay attention to what these “veterans” can teach you. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it still has to be done that way. Your energy and your new ideas can be very helpful. But also remember, that maybe something has been done a certain way for a long time because it does work. Take advantage of those who have been involved in the movement for a while and learn from them.

I’m excited about the potential and all the ways we have for blending the experience of older pro-lifers with new and fresh ideas that you bring to the movement.

You may have already decided what you want to be or what you want to do. I sincerely hope your future is working in the pro-life movement but if you find yourself being led to some other job or position, bring your pro-life convictions into your job.

If you’re going to be a social worker, be a pro-life social worker – find ways to reach out to pregnant women or lonely senior citizens or neglected people with disabilities

If you’re going to be a scientist, be a pro-life scientist – one who knows that science shouldn’t be used to find ways to kill innocent human beings

If you’re going into the political field to be a politician or consultant, be a pro-life politician or consultant.

If you want to be a teacher or a reporter, be a pro-life teacher or reporter.

Use your pro-life knowledge and skills to influence the field you have chosen.

But I do truly hope your future finds you working for National Right to Life or for one of our state affiliates. It may be as education director, political director, helping to develop chapters, raising funds, being a media spokesperson, a bookkeeper, or office manager. Who knows, in a few years, maybe one of you will have my job and be NRLC president!

If you’re working in an occupation outside of the pro-life movement, stay involved as a volunteer with your local chapter. If there isn’t one near you, start one.

Take what you have learned this week and use it in your school, in your church, in your community. Be a voice for the voiceless and find a way to make a difference.

We are thankful that you spent your summer with us, learning more about pro-life issues, the right-to-life movement, and National Right to Life. Please stay in touch with us. We’re proud of you and we look forward to seeing the impact you will continue to have on this great country. God bless you all.