By Paige Edwards, Vice president of University of Nebraska-Lincoln Students for Life
Two and a half months ago, I took a leap. That leap led us here, to witness the first pro-life bill signing in five years in the state of Nebraska.
In a second-floor room of the Capitol building, Alexa, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Students for Life current President, and I stood next to the governor and lieutenant governor of Nebraska, next to senators and organization leaders during the signing. We were nervously fan-girling about our invitation from the Lt. Governor to the bill signing ceremony of LB 46 into law.
The media presence of cameras and reporters was a little intimidating and empowering. During the signing, I realized that we affected real change. Not by a few shining moments or luck, but by a leap of faith.
In early January, a UNL Students for Life member alerted the group to some proposed pro-life legislation in the Nebraska legislature, and he suggested we testify for the bill in front of a committee. Legislative Bill (LB) 46 allows for the purchase of a state-issued specialty license plate with the message “Choose Life” on it.
Here comes the leap.
On January 17th, some UNL SFL members and I attended the committee hearing. With shaking hands and a pounding heart, I gave the testimony I wrote to a room filled with pro-choice women in front of a committee of eight senators.
If that wasn’t intimidating enough, there was a group of pro-life senators and organization members, including the Lt. Governor, who were surprised by UNL Students for Life presence at the hearing. After all testimonies were given, the hearing ended, and the group of pro-life senators and leaders rushed me, asking my name,congratulating me on a great testimony, thanking me for being there.
I was in shock that these amazing people, experts in the political field and the pro-life world, were interested in UNL Students for Life and me. Not your average Wednesday, I’d say.
Testifying was nerve-racking. It was uncomfortable but that’s okay. Making myself vulnerable to the scrutiny of politicians, working professionals and a pro-choice crowd in a very real way is probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.
That leap, and all the accompanying doubt and fear, was absolutely worth it.
The group is now in contact with our governor, lieutenant governor, state senators, lobbyists, and other pro-life organizations regularly. UNL Students for Life is involved in testifying for other pro-life legislation since LB 46.
Most of all, it is worth it because UNL Students for Life helped to bring LB 46 into law. REAL LAW!
A reporter asked during a Q&A portion of the signing ceremony “What difference do you anticipate this will make for the pro-life cause?” and here is my answer: there are thousands of pro-life individuals who are silenced by fear or who are shamed by others. Maybe some are silent because they don’t want to make themselves vulnerable to the scrutiny of others. My hope is that those silent individuals will be compelled to share their views, inspired by something as simple as a license plate.
If we can set aside our doubts and fears, if we can show others even in small ways that we are proudly pro-life, we can inspire the silent to join the choir of advocacy for unborn human rights.
That is what LB 46 means, and that is what making a leap of faith can do.