NRL Academy: Academic Program


The National Right to Life Academy is a five-week intensive course for college students who want a comprehensive pro-life education. The program is a collegiate curriculum in every sense of the term; expectations, academic level, workload, and commitment required. The curriculum provides a demanding but engaging challenge.

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“I have the same convictions that I had before this summer but now I have all the information and practice I need—the statistics, arguments and speaking techniques—to effectively articulate those convictions.”

—Rachel Barga '08

CORE CURRICULUM

 

CLASH OF ETHICS

This course compares and contrasts the “quality of life” ethic with the “equality/sanctity of life” ethic. Course work requires a fair amount of out-of-class reading with assignments that involve critiquing articles and texts that support each viewpoint. Students learn to defend the equality of life ethic by understanding what drives the opposing viewpoint.

 

HISTORY OF ABORTION, EUTHANASIA AND THE PRO-DEATH AND PRO-LIFE MOVEMENTS

This lecture and discussion course covers attitudes toward and the practice of abortion and euthanasia from ancient times to the present. It includes discussion of principal organizations and leaders on both sides of the issue, Roe v. Wade and subsequent key court decisions, and key legislation and legislative proposals of the past.

 

BIOLOGICAL FUNDAMENTALS

This course teaches the basic biological facts from fertilization to death. Students master the basics of fetal development, as well as what constitutes actual death. Course work also deals with sophisticated objections to the consistency of a biologically-based “equality/sanctity of life ethic” including those related to twinning, parthenogenesis and related issues.

 

ClassshotrePRO-ABORTION ARGUMENTS

This course reviews and critiques pro-abortion arguments ranging from the population explosion and the Judith Jarvis Thompson “violinist” argument.

 

DEBATING PRO-LIFE AND PRO-ABORTION PROPOSALS

This course reviews the content and arguments related to pro-life and pro-abortion legislative proposals including informed consent, unborn pain, parental involvement, anti-coercion, embryonic stem cell funding, abortion funding and others.

 

LIFESAVING MEDICAL TREATMENT, FOOD AND FLUIDS: ETHICS AND LAW

This course examines the ethical issues surrounding the provision and withholding of lifesaving medical treatment, food and fluids including the history of and court decisions on infanticide and euthanasia from Karen Ann Quinlan to Terri Schindler Schiavo. It covers advance directives including the “Will to Live.”

 

ASSISTING SUICIDE AND DIRECT KILLING

This course examines in detail legislative proposals on the federal and state levels to legalize assisted suicide and active euthanasia.

 

INVOLUNTARY EUTHANASIA: HOSPITAL ETHICS COMMITTEES AND GOVERNMENT RATIONING

This course deals with the growing practice and threat of denial of lifesaving medical treatment against the wishes of patients and families. It covers “futility protocols” in health care facilities and legislation to require treatment pending transfer in cases in which hospitals refuse to treat endangered patients. It examines the impact of government imposed rationing on patients with particular emphasis on Medicare and proposals for health care reform.

 

PRACTICUM

Reading, lecture, and discussion are interspersed with an intensive practicum in which students repeatedly practice rebutting pro-abortion and pro-death arguments in presentations and mock lobbying and media interviews. The hands-on training offered in the daily practicum exercises is the core of the Academy training because it gives students the skills they need to communicate the pro-life position in real-life situations.

 

“Answering some of the difficult questions that surface with these topics forced us to expand our thinking and learn the real facts of the arguments.”

–Denise Degroot ‘08

 

TACTICAL USE OF MEETING RULES

In addition to the core curriculum, students in the National Right to Life Academy may wish to sign up for to take a weekend course in meeting rules, or “parliamentary procedure.”

 

Pro-life advocates need to know “the rules” and how they affect assemblies such as legislatures, private organizations and medical groups. Future pro-life leaders must understand the rules that govern how decisions are made; it is not enough to be able to argue the substance of the measures at stake; it is equally important to know the rules under which these bodies operate. This course includes practice in making and debating proposals (“motions”) and chairing meetings, and concludes with a test to accredit students as members of the National Association of Parliamentarians. 

 

The weekend course in meeting rules will be taught by Burke Balch, a Professional Registered Parliamentarian with the National Association of Parliamentarians who served as 1999-2001 Parliamentarian of that organization, and as President of the Maryland Lawyers Unit of the Maryland Association of Parliamentarians and who is a member of the “authorship team” for Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised.