NRL News

An Issue of the Heart

by | Jan 19, 2015


By Joleigh Little, Wisconsin Right to Life Teen Director and Region Coordinator

Editor’s note. The following story appeared in the January digital issue of National Right to Life News, the “pro-life newspaper of record.” You can read the entire 39-page issue at

Instilling a respect for life in future generations is at the heart of what we do. Shown here at Wisconsin Right to Life camp, Noelle (12) and Clara (5) are already well on their way to understanding the importance of working on behalf of the vulnerable.

Instilling a respect for life in future generations is at the heart of what we do. Shown here at Wisconsin Right to Life camp, Noelle (12) and Clara (5) are already well on their way to understanding the importance of working on behalf of the vulnerable.

I trust that you will forward many stories, if not the entire edition, using your social networks.

There’s a quote that has long stood out to me – it struck a chord even before I became a mom. Now it defines my daily reality, as I’m sure it does most of yours.

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” -Elizabeth Stone

There is no question about its veracity. My own heart is five and a half, beautiful inside and out, funny, smart, a little too outgoing, and generally amazing. (I didn’t create her so I can say all of these things with unabashed sincerity that doesn’t ring of narcissism. I hope.)

But even before I was a mom – prior to there being a Clara – my heart still existed outside my body in many ways. If you care passionately about the right to life, this will make total sense to you. For everyone who invests themselves emotionally, physically and financially in the cause of life, the whole “heart outside of the body” thing is a reality. Except that our hearts exist outside our bodies in a more amorphous way — and on a pretty vast scale.

We don’t just “care a little” about unborn children, the medically vulnerable, people with special needs and women who face unintended pregnancies. We ache at the knowledge that an abortion happens every 25 seconds. We wept – openly and for weeks on end – when an innocent woman named Terri was brutally starved and dehydrated to death for no reason other than she had a brain injury and her estranged husband deemed her expendable. We mourn along with the women and men who realize, too late, that their abortions ended the lives of their children.

We pray, we speak, we advocate, we work and we live on behalf of the vulnerable. And contrary to what those on the other side of the aisle believe, we don’t do it to subjugate women (most of us *are* women.) In fact, most of us don’t spend ourselves on behalf of this cause to gain fame or fortune – quite the opposite.

We don’t do it because it makes us feel good – although sometimes, when there’s a victory on a legislative matter or we hear about a woman who chose life for her child – there is a rush of endorphins.

Most days, though, we just work hard. Really, super hard. We spend our hours pushing legislation that will protect unborn children and their mothers from the horrors of abortion. We are up late at night advocating on behalf of a medically vulnerable person whose care has been deemed “futile” based on their level of ability. We lobby, we write emails, we plan youth camps, we train new volunteers, we do mailings, we drive into the dark night to speak at rallies in front of hundreds… or, more often, at a church in front of dozens. We put our whole selves into saving people we have never met and most likely never will meet.

Why? Because protecting life is an issue of the heart. It is something that goes deeper and resonates more loudly than any other “issue of the week.” Protecting life is what motivates us. Love for life is what keeps us going. It’s what drives us to train generation after generation of new advocates. It’s what leads us to donate hard-earned money to organizations that defend life. It’s what motivates us to reach out to people – mothers, children and fathers we don’t even know – to offer the support they need to choose life. It’s what leads people to open their homes to children they didn’t create, making them forever members of a family.

It’s what will cause thousands upon thousands to brave a bitter January day to March through Washington to bring attention to a cause.

It’s at the core of everything we pro-life parents teach our children. Life is precious. Babies are to be valued and protected. People with differing abilities are every bit as valuable as those of us who are “typical.” And no matter what, we never, ever throw people away.

What we do – it’s not just “opposing abortion” as so many mistakenly believe. Our life – our heart’s work – is to embrace life on every level. To share with everyone who will listen that being big or strong, super intelligent or beautiful, capable or charming isn’t what makes you valuable. Being human is. So until that day when ALL innocent life is protected from conception to natural death, we’ll still be here. This issue is too important for us to fall silent. This issue is more than just an issue. It is our heart.

Categories: Pro-Lifers