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NRL News
Page 11
April/May 2010
Volume 37
Issue 4-5

Essentials: The Right to Life Chapter, Backbone of the Movement

By Jonathan Rogers

Turner Movie Classics offers a program every weekend called The Essentials. For movie buffs, watching the films is, well, essential.

The Pro-Life Movement has its own essentials, the kind we can not do without. For us those essentials begin with the creation and maintenance of local chapters. They are our lifeline. They make everything possible.

Chapters are as old as the Right to Life Movement. When something is as enduring as the pro-life chapter, it must be performing absolutely "must" activities. As we move forward, rebounding from passage of ObamaCare, everything begins with cultivating the essentials--the basics--which is the local chapter.

So what is a Right to Life Chapter? It is first and foremost an organic part of a local community. It is not grafted onto the community, it grows out of it. At its most essential, the chapter works to make sure that every individual it touches becomes part of a pro-life culture and that the entire community will, at a minimum, be exposed to the life-affirming pro-life message as often as possible.

So why is that important? If we focus on our pro-life chapters and groups and make them as effective as possible, with as wide a reach through the community as possible, then the next time a key legislative issue confronts the nation, with implications for our Movement, we will speak with even greater authority on behalf of the unborn and innocent.

But, you say, you or your groups are newcomers. You got involved because of ObamaCare and you want to make a difference.

Okay, let's begin at the beginning.

If you're a new chapter, or interested in starting a chapter, the first question you are likely to ask is: What must I do to make a difference for the unborn and the medically fragile elderly? Glad you asked. Here are six things every chapter can and should be doing right now! If you are not doing them and need help, well that's why NRLC's State Organizational Development Department is here. Call me at (202) 626-8809 or e-mail me at

1. Make sure you're signed up for NRLC's Hot List ( of important announcements and alerts. If you tweet or use Facebook, we'd love to hear from you; connect with us at, and, and see if you can get 10 people you know to join you. Keep an eye on,, and Today's News & Views ( for the latest and best information on the Pro-Life Movement. With the best information around, you can confidently educate those around you.

2. We know that times are tough, but a donation to NRLC, if you are able, is one of the most cost-effective charitable gifts around.

3. Circulate the petition! You can download it at, or call me at (202) 626-8809 or e-mail me at and we'll send you copies. Petitions are the single best way to find other pro-lifers in your community. It also gives you an opportunity to talk to those who perhaps don't know what's at stake. The more people you identify, the larger your reach as a group or individual.

4. Update your contact lists. Make sure either you or someone in your group keeps a growing list of pro-life individuals in your area. Phone trees and e-mail lists are indispensible for spreading the word on important legislative alerts or local events.

5. Contact local churches to see if they're receiving the important pro-life information like our e-mail alerts, factsheets, or articles. Perhaps they would like to sign the petition. If they would like copies of our bulletin inserts--excellent educational materials for a Sunday service--call or write us to order.

6. In some ways the most important tip is: Go where the people are. Each and every local community is unique. Your success may well depend on knowing what makes your community special. Find ways to spread the pro-life message in your community, such as at local county fairs or festivals.

Right to Life chapters have been the foundation of the Movement from the beginning. We may get caught up in the worry of recent issues like health care, but temporary setbacks must always be seen in light of the great gains of the Movement.

We are sitting in a position of strength thanks to the tireless efforts of chapters and hundreds of thousands of individual pro-lifers. I can't even imagine how much stronger yet we'll be in another 30 years.

But I look forward to it. Race you there.