Plant a Tree

By Carol Tobias, NRL President

Editor’s note. This appears on page three of the July issue of National Right to Life News. Please share this story, and the entire contents of this 51-page edition with your pro-life family and friends.

Sometimes pro-life people get frustrated, even discouraged, because “things aren’t moving fast enough.” We all experience that at some time or another. But we mustn’t give up. A steady push forward will win the battle.

The Roman poet Caecilius Statius is credited with the adage, “He plants trees, which will be of use to another age.” Although there are various versions of this saying, my favorite interpretation is, “Blessed is he who plants trees under whose shade he will never sit.”

The pro-life movement has been planting trees for more than 50 years. I’m speaking both of the efforts of the early pioneers in our movement and of those currently in the fight to protect innocent human life. Our collective efforts are both short-term—successes now—and long-term–laying the groundwork for ultimate success.

We plant a tree every time we bring a new advocate for life into the movement. We plant a tree every time we assure a pregnant woman or girl that her baby is a blessing– a joy to behold, not a “burden” to hold her back.

We plant a tree every time we pass legislation that will protect some, if not yet all, preborn children. We plant a tree every time we elect a candidate who will speak up for Life.

We plant a tree every time we help to raise funds so that the pro-life movement is able to do what needs to be done.

We plant a tree every time we defeat, or hold back, legislation that encourages those with disabilities or in failing health to seek “help” in killing themselves. We plant a tree every time we condemn practices that place a utilitarian value on human life and declare that some lives are not worthy to continue.

These trees are providing shade for the future. They leave a lasting impact on our communities and states. Consider the Hyde amendment, which the Biden-Harris administration and their fellow pro-abortion congressional Democrats seek to destroy.

Henry Hyde was a new member of Congress from Illinois when, in 1976, he introduced an amendment to the budget of the (at that time) Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. His intent was to prevent the use of federal tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions. His amendment was adopted and has been in place, with few changes, for 45 years.

Congressman Hyde knew abortion, and government funding of abortion, was wrong. What he couldn’t know those many years ago was that his effort would eventually save the lives of an estimated 2.4 million unborn children!

Rep. Henry Hyde planted a tree. Tragically, the Biden administration and radical pro-abortion Democrats in Congress are trying to cut down that tree. With your help, we at NRLC are doing everything possible to make sure that great big beautiful tree survives!
National Right to Life is planting trees by training leaders for the coming years.

Fifteen years ago, National Right to Life launched a pro-life Academy for college students. This five-week summer course, eligible for three college credits, prepares them to be effective advocates for the vulnerable.

National Right to Life also brings interns into the office to help them understand the work that makes NRLC such an effective advocate.

Likewise, many of our state affiliates organize youth camps, training and motivating pro-life young people to be leaders in their generation, equipping them to plant their own trees which will flourish for years to come.
National Right to Life just “celebrated” its 50th convention. Many of our state affiliates have or will soon “celebrate” their 50th anniversary of fighting for life.

I put “celebrate” in quotation marks because we do not rejoice that the battle has lasted so long. Rather, we are proclaiming to the world that, even after 50 years, pro-life people have not given up the fight. Indeed, we are incapable of giving up, which is precisely why we will see victory one day on behalf of the little ones.

Many early champions in the pro-life movement were so appalled by the Supreme Court rulings in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton that they assumed the abominable decisions would be, or could be, quickly overturned. However, the forces of death in this country were not easily overcome.

But that did not discourage those early champions of life or prevent them from organizing and educating– planting the trees that are providing shade even today.

We, as beneficiaries of those efforts, will continue to plant our own trees, even though we may not fully see the branches grow and the leaves spread.

My encouragement for you today is to plant a tree. When you do, future pro-life workers will benefit from your labors and add to the grove, providing shade for all those who are alive because of our trees.

“Blessed is he who plants trees under whose shade he will (may) never sit.”