Preparing the 2022 NRLC Academy class for the challenging post-Roe world

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., Academic Director

Editor’s note. Last Friday was the conclusion to the NRLC Academy, a five and a half week educational and training course for effective pro-life work and advocacy. The Academy roster this year included  Lauren Lipinski, Lauren Shovlin, and Amy Baker. The following are Dr. O’Bannon’s closing comments.

Left to right: Lauren Shovlin (PA); Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, Academy Director; Lauren Lipinski (OH); and Amy Baker (SC).

You are, in so many ways, a historic class.

You are the first post-Roe class in Academy history, the first to live and learn in an environment where abortion on demand is no longer the law of the land.

It is a new world.  But many of the same issues remain.  Abortion is still legal in most states and activists are trying to overturn or undermine whatever protective legislation there is.

Abortion groups are on the prowl for pre-teen rape victims and terrifying women with false tales of miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies that can no longer be treated.

Many clinics have closed, but some have simply moved across the state border.  Domestic and foreign sources are promoting and shipping dangerous abortion pills to try and get around the laws that are there.

The media has ignored the fact that there are unborn lives at stake and largely forgotten that there might be at least two sides to any issue.  That abortion has never shown itself to be a solution to woman’s economic, relational, or psychological issues, on either a personal or a broader social level, that many post-abortive women today are pro-life today and part of the pro-life movement because of that realization, are things that modern journalists have rarely investigated.

So though we have accomplished much, and enjoyed a great victory as a result of all of our efforts, we still have much work to do before every child is welcome in life and protected by law.  

We’ve been doing this a long time and are going to keep at it, but chances are a lot of us won’t be around the next 49 years.  That means folks like YOU are going to be the ones who will have to do it.

As you’ve seen, we are a real mix of people, different sizes, shapes, ages, genders, talents, abilities, personalities, histories, religious backgrounds, social circles, etc.  We aren’t perfect – far from it. But we have learned to work together, to unite behind our common goal, to appreciate and utilize each other’s unique talents and gifts.

In many ways, you three reflect that diversity in the movement.  Your variations may not be as profound as our own, but even among the three of you are a mix of younger and older, of Northern and Southern, Ivy League and working class, married and single, Protestant and Catholic, young women with very different gifts, personalities, and outlooks. Some of you are new to the Movement, others have been involved in the cause for years, each of you touched in different ways by the tragedy that defined our cause for decades.

We have covered a lot of ground in the last five and a half weeks, taking classes in biology, in ethics, in legislative strategy and history, various courses in communications and organization.

You have honed important skills under high pressure conditions, studying how to lobby, to give a speech, do an interview, to analyze and do research, write a column, prepare a post for social media, run an ad campaign, and even put together a short film.

It was tough, but if you look back, you’ll see that we have tried to prepare you for the challenging post-Roe world, where every sought abortion is presented as a hard case, where abortion pills are as easy to get as an overnight delivery, where the media ignores or distorts everything you say.  A topsy turvy world where the pregnancy care centers offering the real help that pregnant women need are treated like villains and the abortion clinics that offer pain, loneliness, and death are treated like heroes.

I believe it’s something you all are now prepared to address.  You have the talent, the training, the drive to make it happen.

Looking at you after these five and half weeks, I am hopeful for the future. 

I believe you are prepared. You are equipped. You are informed.  You are motivated. You are ready. 

We are ready to see what you can do.