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Long-Time Consultant Named Director of 24-7 Pregnancy Helpline

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 20, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — The first and only fully-staffed 24-7 pregnancy helpline in the U.S., Option Line, has named long-time consultant Nafisa Shamsher as its new director, with former director Bri Laycock receiving a promotion to head Heartbeat International’s new Ministry Solutions department. The change was effective Feb. 1.
Shamsher takes Option Line’s reins on the heels of the second-busiest month in the helpline’s history, where consultants–including Shamsher–answered 16,999 calls and over 5,700 chats as part of 23,660 total contacts. The number was just short of a record month in 2008, where Option Line consultants answered 24,000 contacts.
Started as joint venture with Care Net in 2003, Option Line became the sole project of Heartbeat International in 2012 and celebrated its 2.6 millionth direct contact in early February. Since joining Option Line as a consultant in 2006, Shamsher has personally answered over 237,000 contacts.
“To say it would be impossible to find a person more qualified to lead Option Line would be a vast understatement,” Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey said. “Nafisa’s experience and heart for this life-affirming mission made her the obvious choice for her new role, and we couldn’t be more confident going forward into our next season of life-affirming work.”
Laycock was hired on shortly after Option Line began in 2003, and was named to the top leadership position in 2012. In her new role, Laycock now oversees Option Line, as well as Heartbeat International’s website and local search arm, Extend Web Services.
A certified expert in Google advertising, Laycock has trained pregnancy help leaders on five continents, including in Italy, where Heartbeat International’s joint affiliation partner, Movimento per la Vita, operates a 24-7 contact center–“SOS Vita”–similar to Option Line.
One of six key goals of Heartbeat International’s founders, the 24-7 helpline answers an average of 650 contacts per day and up to 250,000 each year. Serving a network of 2,100 pregnancy locations in the U.S. and Canada, Option Line serves as a vital connection point between callers and nearby help. Option Line staff can directly schedule appointments for callers at 600 locations throughout North America.
“The very best alternative to abortion is another person,” Godsey said. “Every caller who connects with Option Line is talking with a real person in real time, and we’re able to direct many of these to help near them.”
About Heartbeat International
Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations founded in the U.S. (1971), and the largest network in the world. With 2,100 affiliated pregnancy help locations–including pregnancy help medical clinics (with ultrasound), resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies–Heartbeat serves on all six inhabited continents to provide alternatives to abortion. For more information, see www.HeartbeatInternational.org.  
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Pro-Faith, Pro-Family Legislators form new Texas Freedom Caucus

(Austin, Texas) Texas is a very large powerful state so at least the broad strokes of what is going on here should be of interest all over the country. The new Texas Freedom Caucus formed by a dozen members of the Texas Legislature definitely fit in the category of things worth watching nationally.

The Texas Freedom Caucus’ mission is to amplify the voice of liberty-minded grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the bill of rights, restrain government and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in Texas.

The Texas Freedom Caucus (TFC) will be focused on first principles that are the hallmark of liberty-minded Texans.  The policies supported by the TFC will be developed thru collaboration with grassroots leaders to identify priorities that are often dismissed in Austin.

“Go five blocks in any direction from the Texas Capitol, and you will see what interests are hard wired into the Austin establishment,” Caucus Chairman Rep. Matt Schaefer (Tyler) said. “The mission of the Texas Freedom Caucus will be to hard wire liberty-minded grassroots into policy making in Austin.”

The TFC will engage grassroots Texans on matters before session, during session, and long after session when policies are implemented at the agency level. The caucus is committed to restoring first principles – the right to life, liberty and property that are at the core of the freedom of America and the exceptionalism of Texas. The caucus will outline a set of legislative priorities after it holds a series of discussions with grassroots representatives from all across Texas. Thereafter, the TFC will support or oppose legislation in accordance with those principles.

“We don’t want our priorities to be determined from Austin down, but from the grassroots up. That includes taking things like the Texas Republican Party platform seriously,” said Schaefer. “There are thousands of people too busy working and raising their families to embed themselves in the legislative process. Their voices matter too, and we want to make sure they are heard, and their efforts are multiplied.”

The Texas Freedom Caucus will share many policy goals with other existing conservative organizations and caucuses, and it will buttress and complement rather than compete with those groups.  The TFC will distinguish itself by providing a specific focal point for grassroots Texans interested in conservative policy-making in Austin.

The Vice Chair of the Caucus will be Rep. Bill Zedler (Arlington). The Policy Director will be Rep. Jeff Leach (Plano), the caucus Grassroots Liaison will be Rep. Matt Shaheen (Plano) and the Secretary-Treasurer will be Rep. Tony Tinderholt (Arlington). Other members include representatives Kyle Biedermann (New Braunfels), Briscoe Cain (Houston), Matt Krause (Fort Worth), Mike Lang (Granbury), Rep. Matt Rinaldi (Irving), Jonathan Stickland (Bedford) and Valoree Swanson (Spring).

James Bernsen will serve as Executive Director for the Texas Freedom Caucus.

Catholic Group Warns Rauner: Support for Abortion Funding Will Sink Re-Election

CHICAGO, Feb. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — CatholicVote.org, a national Catholic advocacy group is warning Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner that support for new legislation forcing taxpayers to directly fund abortion will effectively doom his re-election bid in 2018.

CatholicVote.org President Brian Burch issued the following statement:

“We have been following the developments surrounding H.B. 40, a new spending bill pending before the Illinois General Assembly that, if passed, would authorize the use of state dollars to fund abortion services for qualified Medicaid recipients. Should Governor Rauner sign the bill as it is currently written, pro-life voters will be left with no choice but to oppose his candidacy next year.

“We have been in conversation with pro-life groups around the state.  The overwhelming consensus is that support for any legislation that would coerce Illinois taxpayers into directly funding abortion would disqualify him from receiving their support.

“We understand Governor Rauner has been unfairly blamed for the budget crisis and financial catastrophe created by Democrat political leaders in recent decades. The state owes $10 billion in unpaid bills, with tens of billions more in unfunded liabilities.  Yet now politicians want to spend scarce state resources to pay for abortions.  Rauner’s support of this reckless bill would rip apart the Republican Party and destroy any chance of his re-election.

“Let me be clear.  If Governor Rauner signs the bill as written, we will urge our members along with every pro-life voter in the state to support an alternative candidate — or to abstain from voting for his re-election.  And we won’t be the only group doing so.

“Governor Rauner pledged to remain neutral on social issues.  He repeatedly said he does not have a social agenda yet is already defending himself in a lawsuit for breaking this promise.  If Bruce Rauner signs his name to this abortion spending bill, he cannot be trusted with another term as Governor.”

CatholicVote.org, a national faith-based advocacy group with over 600,000 members and is based in Madison, WI.

Unconstitutional Court Censorship Prompts Daleiden First Amendment Federal Court Appeal

Thomas More Society Defends Planned Parenthood Exposé and “Undercover Journalism at Large”

SAN FRANCISCO, April 26, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Thomas More Society attorneys filed an appeal last week with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for undercover journalist David Daleiden, arguing for reversal of a preliminary injunction that bars Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress from publishing undercover videos from the 2014 and 2015 annual meetings of the National Abortion Federation (“NAF”). Daleiden’s appeal assails the lower court’s decree as a blatantly unconstitutional “prior restraint” on free speech, based on repeated Supreme Court precedents that condemn such gag orders, most notably the famous Pentagon Papers case in which the Justices refused the federal government’s plea to stop publication of top secret files discussing the Vietnam war which had been leaked to the New York Times and Washington Post. The appeal brief also argues that release of undercover video of significant (if not paramount) public interest should not be suppressed, in order to protect the public’s right to know – a critical element of our professed democratic self-governance as an open and free society. Indeed, the United States Congress, numerous state legislators, and criminal investigators have subpoenaed and relied on Daleiden’s video releases to instigate hearings, new legal and regulatory initiatives, defunding measures, and also possible civil and criminal enforcement actions against the abortion industry. Congress itself had subpoenaed the suppressed videos and the lower court upheld that subpoena, which in turn led to a public hearing by the House Select Committee on Infant Lives, held last week.

This prejudicial censorship targeted at civilian investigator Daleiden threatens undercover journalism at large, explained Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, a national non-profit law firm. “The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is working in tandem with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers and promoters to suppress David Daleiden’s First Amendment rights and to shut down the resulting investigations focused on the abortion groups’ involvement in baby parts trafficking,” stated Brejcha.

The Society’s appeal, filed with California-based co-counsel, comes on the heels of the preliminary injunction entered by District Judge William H. Orrick of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. NAF had sought entry of this censorship in response to Daleiden’s public release of a series of videos exposing illegal and unsavory practices by Planned Parenthood and other abortion industry participants. NAF’s principal claim in its lawsuit, filed last summer, is that Daleiden and CMP violated the federal Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), a 1970 federal law designed to combat organized crime.

About the RICO claims, Brejcha said, “These are totally inapposite charges in this scenario – charges that have been decisively rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Equally as other investigative journalists for so-called mainstream news media, such as CBS’s Sixty Minutes, regularly resort to undercover journalism tactics to ferret out hidden crime, citizen journalists like David Daleiden have every right to penetrate the criminal underworld to bring to light and open to public scrutiny evidence of potential criminal wrongdoing.”

Read the appeal filed on April 19, 2016 for David Daleiden in the lawsuit by National Abortion Federation here.

Find additional background on the case at the following links:

About the Thomas More Society
The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit
www.thomasmoresociety.org.  

Indiana’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program Assists Over 10,000 Women and Lowers Abortion

Jan. 21, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Since November 2014, Indiana’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program has served 11,036 clients at 24,162 support service visits in Indiana. The taxpayer-funded program exists to offer women counseling and mentoring support as an alternative to abortion.

Real Alternatives is the statewide administrator for the program. Kevin Bagatta, President and CEO of Real Alternatives said, “Thanks to this state program, Indiana women who are alone and facing an unexpected pregnancy have another person to assist them which empowers them to overcome obstacles and pressures so they can choose life for their preborn baby.” Real Alternatives uses a growing network of 19 pregnancy support centers and social service agencies in Indiana to provide caring, compassionate, and trained counselors who offer free pregnancy support and parenting education services to women.

In the program’s first fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, 8,737 women from 47 counties were provided comprehensive counseling, mentoring, education, and support services for up to nine (9) months of pregnancy and twelve (12) months after the birth of their baby. The northern regional pilot program received funding of $1.0 million that fiscal year through the Indiana State Department of Health. The Program’s administrative cost ratio, including start-up, was a very low 8.12%. Due to its rapid success, the Program has been increased to $3.5 million to provide services statewide to Indiana women.

In July 2015, the Indiana State Department of Health reported that the number of resident abortions performed in Indiana in the year 2014 rose slightly to 7,621 from the previous year. Real Alternatives Vice President, Thomas Lang pointed out, “With the difficult economic times we have experienced the last couple of years, comes increased pressure to abort. For women who come to our Program pressured by others to abort, 87% no longer consider abortion after receiving services in our Program.”

Real Alternatives has been providing life-affirming pregnancy support services for 20 years in Pennsylvania. That high performance and fiscally accountable program has assisted over 260,000 women in need who sought out the Program’s services.

Its not surprising that Real Alternatives has assisted 12 other states with starting taxpayer-funded programs to reach out to women facing unexpected pregnancies in their states. Real Alternatives administers statewide Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services Programs in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan. Women in those states can receive services by going to

www.realalternatives.org/PressKit/Video-PACrowd.htm or by calling 1-888-LIFE-AID.

Mobile Pregnancy Clinic Sues State Over New ‘Bully’ Law

TEMECULA, Calif., Dec. 7, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — ICU Mobile Riverside County, a mobile medical pregnancy clinic based in Wildomar, Calif., has filed a lawsuit against the California State Attorney General and other appropriate authorities saying the Reproductive Fact Act requiring nonprofit pregnancy care clinics to promote abortion not only violates their religious freedom, but also their free speech and free assembly rights.
ICU Mobile Riverside County is a subsidiary of the Scharpen Foundation, Inc. (“Foundation”), which is a foundation that also does business as and is publicly known as Go Mobile For Life. The organization is licensed by the State as a medical clinic and provides advocacy and free ultrasound services to pregnant women.
The Act was signed into law two months ago by Gov. Jerry Brown after the California Assembly and Senate passed Assembly Bill 775, which forces all licensed pregnancy care clinics to either post prominent signs in their lobbies promoting abortion or to include the information on their websites or clinic literature. The law is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
Prolife supporters have opposed the law, calling it the “Bully Bill” because it compels workers to promote a state-mandated message that violates their personal and corporate religious beliefs.
“I will not post that notice in our clinic. I would rather close the clinic than post that notice,” said Scott Scharpen, a volunteer pastor and president of the Foundation. “Now, by law, we are required to provide referral information to a woman for services that we find morally and ethically objectionable, namely abortion.”
Advocates for Faith & Freedom is working with Scharpen and the Foundation’s clinic.
Robert Tyler, General Counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom said: “Article 1, section 2 of the California Constitution provides greater protection for free speech
then does the First Amendment. This is why we brought this case in state court as opposed to federal court.” He further stated, “Under the ‘liberty of speech clause’ in the California Constitution, the government has no right to compel individuals or corporations to adopt the government’s view on abortion and has no right to compel them to advertise and promote abortions.”
Advocates for Faith & Freedom, through its legal counsel, Tyler & Bursch, LLP, are seeking a preliminary injunction, which, if granted, will block the law from being implemented while the case is in the court system. They are attempting to have the preliminary injunction heard before the end of the year. A hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction is currently scheduled to occur on December 23, 2015 in Department 07 of the Riverside County Superior Court located at 4050 Main Street, Riverside, Calif.
 In the injunction, the Foundation’s attorneys argued that the Reproductive FACT Act is compelled speech in violation of the California Constitution. They additionally argue that the Act does not just compel ICU Mobile Riverside County to speak in a way that may stigmatize its services, but it goes so far as to force the clinic to expressly advance the availability of free abortions, which are contrary to their religious and moral beliefs.
Nada Higuera, co-counsel with Tyler & Bursch, LLP stated, “As a woman, this case is important to me because the services offered by ICU Mobile provide hope and real help to women who need it. It is frightening that our government is forcing ICU Mobile, a pro-life organization, to advance abortion.”
A copy of the complaint filed by Tyler & Bursch, LLP and preliminary injunction are available upon request.
Advocates for Faith & Freedom is a nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to protecting religious liberty in the courts and is providing support to the law firm Tyler & Bursch, LLP. The law firm services are being provided pro bono. The website for Advocates for Faith & Freedom is www.faith-freedom.com

Conservative and Pro-Life Groups Denounce Planned Parenthood Violence

( Katy, Texas) Today a gunman held police at bay for several hours at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. At the end at least 3 people including one police officer, and two civilians were killed. up to nine more were injured.  Five of the injured are also police officers. All of the injured are now said to be in good condition. While the incident was still unfolding the Conservative, and Pro-Life communities were already condemning what was taking place.

Among the first were Operation Rescue, and Christian Defense Coalition. Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue released the following statement, “Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies. We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone,” He was joined by Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney who serves as Director of the Washington D.C. based Christian Defense Coalition. Mahoney framed his groups reaction this way, “Although we don’t know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels,”

Later in the day the Family Research Council also based in Washington D. C. joined in condemning the shooting. The group’s President Tony Perkins stated the group’s view of today’s events in the following statement,

“While the investigation into the shooting at the Planned Parenthood center continues, regardless of what the motive is determined to be, we strongly condemn this violence. As the target of domestic terrorism inspired by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the staff of the Family Research Council empathize with all the victims of this violence. All of us at the Family Research Council join with the pro-life movement in praying for the injured officers and victims of these deplorable acts.

“Only through peaceful means –not violence— can we truly become a nation that once again values all human life, born and unborn,” concluded Perkins.

After these statements were made the gunman was identified as Robert Lewis Dear. No information on his motive has yet been released. Even without knowing his motive, we at FaithInspire.Org condemn his actions in the strongest possible terms. Such violence is not how we as Christians should solve our disputes. There will be an ongoing need for prayer stemming from this tragedy. We should and shall encourage all our followers and supporters to make sure that the people, families, and police officers impacted by this tragedy remain in our prayers.

University Proposes to Buy Public Sidewalk to Stop Anti-Abortion Free Speech

School calls for “Safe Zones” to protect students from being “unhappy”

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 13, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — First students at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio tried knocking over our signs. Then one student recruited a “bed sheet brigade” to try to cover our pictures of abortion victims. Another stood in the street in front of our Truth Truck and JumboTV trailer to stop it from reaching the campus. Now, when all else has failed, Otterbein is going to even greater lengths to censor our First Amendment rights.

Otterbein360, the campus newspaper, reports the student government of the liberal arts university is considering a proposal to purchase the public sidewalk where we conduct outreach to stop our free speech.

Video: Watch report from the sidewalk Otterbein University wants to buy

“Yale, University of Missouri, and now Otterbein reveal an epidemic on our campuses of adults being treated like babies who need to be coddled and sheltered from difficult subjects. These students are our future leaders and decision-makers. It is imperative they be exposed to differing viewpoints. Political correctness has run amok. Created Equal will not stop expressing our God given rights to free speech.” — Mark Harrington, National Director, Created Equal

Preferring censorship to robust debate, this vocal minority is indicative of a generation not only too weak to deal with inconvenient truths but also too willing to punish whistleblowers . . . Our campuses are turning into a nightmare from Neverland—with children who “won’t grow up” habitually playing the victim card—rather than centers of vigorous discourse. . . . Peter Pan’s incessant “I won’t grow up” mantra may make for pleasant entertainment for our kids, but it is nothing less than horrifying when it becomes the drumbeat of those aspiring to be adults.

  • Click here to read the rest of our blog commentary “We won’t grow up!” about the development at Otterbein.
  • Click here to watch video of our interaction with the leader of Otterbein’s “bed sheet brigade.”
  • See photos of our outreach on the sidewalk the school may purchase: September and October.

Newman Detained in Australia Pending Deportation Due to Pro-Abortion Campaign of Falsehoods

Operation Rescue demands the immediate release of Newman and an apology from the Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton
MELBOURNE, Australia, Oct. 1, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Operation Rescue received word moments ago that Troy Newman (photo) has been detained in Melbourne Australia pending deportation due to his visa being cancelled at the request of pro-abortion bullies who were bent on silencing Newman’s message of peaceful, legal activism on behalf of pre-born babies.
Newman’s deportation could take up to 72 hours. Meanwhile, his wife, Mellissa, whose visa is still active, is left alone in a foreign country with no luggage.
“Troy’s unjust treatment by the Australian government is based on a pack of bold-faced lies about his character. This makes him a political prisoner,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue. “It’s shocking that the Australian government would take these lies at face value and deny Troy his right to his freedom and free speech. To say we are disappointed is an understatement.”
Newman is the president of Operation Rescue and serves as a Board Member for the Center for Medical Progress, the organization that recently released a series of undercover video showing prima facie evidence that Planned Parenthood was engaged in the illegal sale of aborted baby remains for profit.
He was invited to Australia for a 10 day speaking tour by Australia Right to Life. He planned to share news concerning the shock videos and their impact in American politics as well as his message of peaceful activism in order to save innocent lives from abortion.
A pro-abortion Member of Parliament, Terri Butler, sent a spurious letter to Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton falsely accusing Newman of advocating the execution of abortion providers, which Dutton never bothered to fact-check.
Newman has never advocated violence against abortion providers or facilities and has instead adamantly encouraged pro-life activists to work through the legal, legislative, and justice systems to bring abortionists who are breaking the law and harming women to justice.
“The pro-abortion bullies in Australia who have been slandering Troy Newman to the government have had to stoop to the lowest of lows to silence his message about Planned Parenthood’s criminality and his use of peaceful, law-abiding activism to expose abortion abuses,” said Sullenger. “Now that they have told so may lies about him, they must make sure he is deported lest their shame be exposed to the people of Australia.”
Newman was not notified that his visa had been cancelled until he was already enroute to Melbourne. Along the way, he was banned from boarding a United Airlines flight from Denver to Los Angeles and was told he was banned from flying on order of the Australian government. Newman continued on to Los Angeles on another airline then on to Melbourne thinking this misunderstanding would soon be corrected.
“Troy has been treated like a criminal even though he has never been convicted of a crime and is being detained and deported based solely on his religious and pro-life beliefs that are opposed by certain abortion lackeys in the Australian government,” said Sullenger. “This is unjust and as a representative of Operation Rescue, I demand his immediate release and an apology from Minister Dutton for the trouble he has caused by acquiescing to false accusations of those who oppose Newman’s pro-life stance.”
Please contact Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton and respectfully remind him that Newman is a man of peace that has been unjustly detained, and ask for his immediate release.
Peter Dutton
Minister of Immigration
Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation and has become a strong voice for the pro-life movement in America. Click here to support Operation Rescue.

Right to Life University for the Thinking Activist

New Online University to Equip a Movement.
LOS ANGELES , Sept. 28, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Right to Life University and the School of Life is a new, on-line endeavor designed to equip the pro-life generation with the understanding and tools to communicate and accomplish their goal, the restoration of the Right to Life to society’s laws. An overview can be viewed at www.righttolifeuniversity.org
Is the Right to Life about emotions? Is it about your feelings, or your personal theology? Or is it about objective facts? Is this objectively a human being and will the law protect this innocent human life? If that’s the case, it is a legal rights issue and must be addressed that way.
Brian Johnston is formerly Commissioner on Aging for California, (and currently wrapped up in the effort to stop the legalizing of assisted suicide in that state). “People who are pro-life are the most compassionate folks there are, but too often they don’t understand the actual parameters of the debate: it is the law that should be protecting innocent human life. That is what was lost in 1973. That will be lost again if the seriously ill, the infirm, elderly, medically dependent, are no longer protected.
“Unless pro-lifers understand how laws are made, and are effective in that process, they will not accomplish their goals. It is not enough to simply be upset, or to personally try to save a life. If we don’t get educated and learn to apply ourselves to restore the law to its first and principal purpose, protecting the vulnerable innocent, then no amount of diverse emotional or theological expression will help our situation.
RTL U is designed to equip committed pro-life individuals with the intellectual facts and cultural background, but most importantly, with the practical tools to address this abuse of the law.
RTL U is in the midst of a ‘crowd-funding’ effort. “Indie Gogo” is a crowd-fund platform that facilitates widespread, web-based communication. A short, powerful video describes RTL U and the School of Life, detailed information then gives further background for this tool to equip a movement seeking how to accomplish its goals. It can be viewed at www.righttolifeuniversity.org