The week of June 21, I was privileged to travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the first in-person National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) board meeting in more than a year, meet with partners, and attend the NRLC annual convention.
Serving as the Oregon delegate to their board provides the opportunity to bring an Oregon perspective to the national pro-life conversation. There are also informative reports and encouraging news from states who collectively passed a record number of pro-life laws this year!
I had my first meeting with our new pro-life congressman from the second district, Representative Cliff Bentz (R-Oregon), in his office on Capitol Hill. Rep. Bentz is working hard on his committees.
The Susan B. Anthony List is another group with whom we work closely. Our communications specialist Sharolyn and I traveled to their offices in Virginia to meet with their Vice President of Public Policy Billy Valentine. We discussed the upcoming Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson.
We also go to hear from our lawyer James Bopp, Jr., who is also general counsel for NRLC and one of the winningest lawyers in front of the Supreme Court. He spent a good deal of time laying out the possible outcomes of the case.
In short, there are few hints as to what the Court intends, so it is incumbent on the pro-life community to do our best work! There are dozens of amicus briefs in the works. (Amicus brief is short for amicus curiae which translates as “friend of the court.”) It is the instrument used by advocates to make their argument to the Court on a specific case. How wonderful to know that so many brilliant, dedicated, pro-life men and women have prepared their whole careers for this opportunity!
We also met with contacts we have made with the Knights of Columbus and the national March for Life. This was an encouraging update as well as a time to learn how we can better work together.
A highlight of every NRLC convention is the national oratory contest. Oregon has sent our state winner to the national competition for many years. Our students have a reputation for excellence. This year was no different. Eden Nava, a junior from Woodburn, competed, presenting her speech titled “Abort the Deceptions, Planned Parenthood – Not Babies.”
The competition begins with two rounds. The top two competitors from each round advance to the final round. Eden advanced from the first round, delivered her speech with great energy, and won second place! In the last three years, Oregon competitors have won first, third, and second, respectively. It is a wonderful encouragement to listen to these students from all over the U.S. Every competitor was excellent; I do not envy the judges at all!
I love to study, listen, and learn from other’s experiences. I am thankful for the opportunity to build relationships that allow me to expand my knowledge, seek excellence, and promote creativity in our work to save lives.