Last week, America’s top pro-life leaders, women’s legal advocates, and Christian voices assembled in Virginia Beach to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.
“Twenty-five years ago, I founded NIFLA to provide medical training and legal assistance for pro-life pregnancy resource centers who face ferocious attacks by the abortion industry every day,” said Thomas Glessner, NIFLA President and Founder. “We’re so grateful to God and to thousands of advocates—volunteer and otherwise—nationwide who have embodied our motto of empowering mothers to choose life.”
NIFLA is a national nonprofit organization providing legal counsel, education, and training for pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics. Representing a network of more than 1,450 pregnancy centers across the United States, NIFLA has recently challenged laws in California, Illinois and Hawaii that target their members. The organization’s anniversary comes just a month before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on NIFLA v. Becerra, a case involving California’s effort to restrict and compel the speech of pro-life pregnancy help centers.
“As a result of their unwavering commitment to excellence, nearly 1,200 of our 1,450 pro-life pregnancy center members have become medical clinics,” said Anne O’Connor, NIFLA V.P. of Legal Affairs. “We are privileged to equip, serve and defend pregnancy centers working hard on the front lines of the fight for life."
In a show of support for NIFLA and its member centers, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence sent messages to NIFLA, honoring the occasion. The nearly 200 celebration attendees gave a standing ovation for President Trump’s message, which stated:
“My Administration is committed to protecting the religious liberty of our people and ensuring the right to life for the most vulnerable. I commend the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates for 25 years of service to pro-life pregnancy centers across the United States. Your efforts have helped strengthen the culture of life and love in our communities, and I am proud to say that we are once again winning the fight to defend innocent unborn children.”
Tweet This: "I commend @NIFLA for 25 years of service to #prolife pregnancy centers across the US." - @realDonaldTrump
Alliance Defending Freedom President Michael Farris delivered the keynote address to NIFLA’s anniversary celebration. For his service to NIFLA and the pro-life cause, Farris received a special award plaque from NIFLA commemorating the day of argument for the NIFLA v. Becerra Supreme Court case.
“It is an honor to be associated with NIFLA and with the centers…and to be able to argue their case before the Supreme Court of the United States,” Farris said. “If you want to turn the country around, you do it by standing up for the weak and the powerless among us—and there is no one that fits that description better than the innocent child in the womb.”
Farris’ praise for NIFLA was echoed by other leaders in the pro-life movement. In a video celebrating NIFLA’s anniversary, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly stated NIFLA’s Supreme Court case is “one of the most significant pro-life cases to come before the…Court in years.”
Heartbeat International, a fellow pregnancy help network, congratulated NIFLA on its anniversary in a statement, noting the central role the organization has played in advancing the life-saving efforts of pregnancy help centers nationwide.
“Tom, Anne, and the team at NIFLA have been key in protecting the growth of the pregnancy help movement, and positioning centers to overcome egregious legal attacks,” said Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat. “From advising on local policy and procedures to addressing the Supreme Court of the United States, NIFLA has served the life-saving mission with passion and purpose."
NIFLA also presented certificates of excellence to Kim Warburton, Executive Director of Pregnancy Resource Center of Metro Richmond and Ron Renzi of Patriot Insurance Agency, Inc. Beyond sponsoring this event, Patriot has a long history of service to the pro-life community, providing insurance to pro-life pregnancy centers when many other insurance companies will not.
Many of the attendees of the anniversary celebration also participated in NIFLA’s 2018 National Legal & Medical Summit. Summit seminars and lectures focused on NIFLA’s Supreme Court case, education on the legal rights of 501 (c)3 organizations, the realities of how abortion impacts women’s health, regulatory challenges facing pregnancy resource centers, and other important topics.