NRL News


by | Feb 25, 2013

Editor’s note. The following tribute to a young pro-life woman is part of our “Roe at 40” series, some of the best stories that have appeared in National Right to Life News, going back to 1978.  This appeared in our March 2001 edition. If you are not a subscriber to the “pro-life newspaper of record,” call us at 202-626—8828.

If the examination of abortion’s brutality and indifference  represents one end of the abortion continuum, I hope what is illustrated in the following loving tribute to one brave young pro-life woman embodies the other.

When I thought of the unselfish service that Tina Spell gave unstintingly to this Movement, what first came to mind was the movie “Pay It Forward.” A description of what that term meant in a review appearing in the New Yorker has always stuck with me.

Critic David Denby put it this way: “pay it forward” meant to “perform an entirely gratuitous service for three people and then insist they do the same for three more.” It represented a kind of “chain letter of benevolence.”

Perfect! That captures the spirit of Tina Spell. Only her “gratuitous service” was not limited to just three people.

Like so many pro-lifers who do their saintly work out of the limelight, Tina spent almost her entire life quietly helping countless women and their unborn children. And her labors not only assisted those vulnerable people, but also established a call to the rest of us to go forth and do likewise–a “chain letter of benevolence.”

Tina’s death last month is a stark reminder of how large a toll the last six months have exacted from the Pro-Life Movement. We have lost several very visible pro-life champions, including Bishop James McHugh and Felicia Goeken, who headed NRLC’s Volunteer Identification Program from its beginning in 1978.

But there are less high-profile pro-lifers whose contributions are every bit as important in their own way. One of those very wonderful people was Tina Spell.

Tina worked as my assistant several years ago. She died February 16. I would like to reprint part of the remarks made in her honor by Robin Hoffman, president of Florida’s St. Johns County RTL, and then add a few closing comments of my own.

“Tina Spell went to be with the Lord on Friday morning, February 16. 2001. She will be missed by all who knew her…. If I were to sum up Tina and her commitment to the pro-life cause in one word I would use the word Faithful.

“Tina was a champion for the Unborn, the Infirm and the Aged. Much of her life was devoted to being a voice for those who could not speak for themselves. Tina knew the Lord as her Savior and never did anything until she had prayed about what she should do–no matter what the situation. Tina allowed God to be her guide.

“There was never any job she considered to be beneath her nor was there any job that she could not accomplish through her Lord.

“It is hard not to focus on what appears to be the brevity of Tina’s life. But though brief her life was deep. She did so much for so many. To have known Tina was to have been loved.

“Tina had been a member of St. Johns County Right to Life since her college days. She currently was serving as secretary to St. Johns County RTL as well board member to Florida Right to Life. Tina worked for the National Right to Life News in Washington, D.C., as assistant to the editor.

“Tina volunteered many hours to the pro-life cause. My most vivid memory of Tina is the day she went to Tallahassee and testified before the Senate Health Care Committee on behalf of the `Woman’s Right to Know Act.’

“Tina was nervous and her palms sweaty as her name was called. She got up behind the microphone and spoke for her allotted three minutes.

“She spoke the truth in wisdom and when they came against her in cross-examination our quiet and meek Tina was able to meet them toe-to-toe. There was nothing more they could say. Tina was champion for many on that day.

“As Tina went to be with the Lord I am sure she was met with these words:

“Well done, good and FAITHFUL servant.”

Tina was among the most caring and generous people I have ever met. If I had my way, when you looked up “unselfish” in Webster’s, you’d find “Tina Spell.” Utterly devoted to the cause of unborn babies and their mothers, Tina’s commitment amazed me and all who came in contact with her.

Robin Hoffman mentions Tina’s testimony before a Florida state Senate Committee. You’d have to know Tina to appreciate the terror that appearance must have instilled in her heart.

But as has been the case with tens of thousands of pro-lifers, Tina quieted her fears. With a fearlessness that came from her faith in the Lord and the righteousness of her cause, Tina spoke boldly to these men and women of power. Women in crisis pregnancy situations, she told them, need to know the truth about what they are about to do, not only to their unborn child, but also to themselves.

She rose to the occasion. As Robin said, “Tina was champion for many on that day.”

Tina will be greatly missed.

Pray for her family. Pray for the great cause to which she dedicated her life.

And pray for all of us that we might conduct our lives in a manner that honors the memory of God’s faithful servant, Tina Spell.

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Categories: Pro-Lifers