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Student Spotlight: Deanna Wallace

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Deanna Wallace.

Deanna Wallace  is a student at Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she is working on her childhood dream of becoming a lawyer for the pro-life movement. Adopted by a loving family, Deanna first found motivation to do pro-life work through her own personal history. Now, as a law student, she makes use of every possible opportunity to reach out and encourage others.

What inspired you to get involved in the pro-life movement?

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Deanna praying at a rally at the Supreme Court before McCullen v. Coakley was announced.

My own personal story of adoption is what has really motivated me to advocate on behalf of the pre-born. I always knew I was pro-life, but when I was in 7th grade, an attorney, Mike Johnson with Alliance Defense Fund (now Alliance Defending Freedom), came to speak at my school. After listening to him describe his work to defend life, I decided I wanted to be a pro-life attorney!

What do you do to support life and defend the pre-born?

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Deanna testifying on a pro-life bill before the Louisiana Senate.

Currently, I’m participating in the Blackstone Legal Fellowship with Alliance Defending Freedom. As part of the fellowship, I am interning with Americans United for Life in D.C., doing legal research and writing for them as they chip away at Roe‘s legacy.

What is your favorite tool to communicate the pro-life stance?

I really enjoy writing. I started my blog, One Girl Revolution, in 2008 as a general political blog, but the last few years it has become almost exclusively about pro-life issues.

I was on the debate team in undergrad, so I also really enjoy one-on-one discussions, and also larger debates.

What are some ways students can be active in their pro-life work during school breaks?

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Deanna, outside Supreme Court before Hobby Lobby with her friend, Erin Stoyell-Mulholl.

Internships are really great – go donate some time to a pro-life organization you support! They can utilize people in so many different areas, and it will benefit you both!

I also do a lot of training programs, like the Vita Institute at Notre Dame university, the Collegiate Academy with ADF, and the Wilberforce Fellowship with Students for Life of America. There are so many other opportunities out there, where you can learn more about the movement and how to make yourself the best advocate you can possibly be.

Share with us an encouraging event or a success story from your work.

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Deanna with Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest and Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser after receiving Susan B. Anthony List’s Young Leader Award this spring.

Last semester I had the privilege to work with the Bioethics Defense Fund to pass a bill requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their abortion facilities.

When the House of Representatives had their final vote to send the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act to Governor Bobby Jindal for signature, the vote was a bipartisan 88-5! Rep. Katrina Jackson called for cosponsors to come stand with her just before passage, and the response was overwhelming, with almost the entire House floor empty! Tears came to my eyes as she urged for final passage of the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act while surrounded by her fellow legislators.

Now, women in Louisiana are protected from abortionists who cannot meet the standards required to gain admitting privileges, and knowing I played a small part in that is my biggest accomplishment so far!

Share with us an encounter with pro-abortion opposition and how you faced it.

The most difficult encounter I’ve had with pro-abortion opposition was definitely last summer, when I traveled to Austin, Texas for the final passage of HB2. The people were rude and even downright scary. It was very difficult to keep my composure as I was yelled at and mocked while praying peacefully, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I tried my best to show Christ’s love to everyone there, despite the vitriol that was hurled my way.

What keeps you going through the tough times?

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Deanna, protesting in Austin, TX during the special session to pass House Bill 2.

My family is the best – they love me unconditionally and are always there for me when I need them.

My faith is also extremely important to me. I don’t think I could get through this life without knowing that God has a plan to give me hope and a future.

What advice would you give to your peers?

Don’t give up.  Being pro-life isn’t popular – you’ll get yelled at, made fun of, and even dropped by people you thought were your friends. But ultimately, you’re saving lives, and those people’s opinions of you count for very little when compared to the innocent lives that may be spared because of your work!

Name a hero or role model of yours and explain why he or she inspires you.

My heroes are Saints Thomas More and Thomas Becket. Both of these men studied the law, and both of them stood up to a government that was trying to force them to violate their religious beliefs. They didn’t just suffer a loss of favor; they sacrificed their very lives to preserve what they knew was right. Standing up for what is right isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.

What is your favorite pro-life quote?

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Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), founder of the Missionaries of Charity.

“We are fighting abortion by adoption, we have saved thousands of lives, we have sent words to all the clinics, to the hospitals, police stations – please don’t destroy the child, we will take the child.” —Mother Teresa, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

To me, this should be the attitude of all pro-lifers: “we will take the child.”  It’s extremely important to me to adopt one day.

Given a large sum of money and any connections you need, what would you do for the pro-life cause?

My ultimate goal is to help overturn Roe v. Wade! From a legal standpoint, I think the pro-life movement is making great strides in that direction!

If I could do something more immediate, I’d want to fund maternity homes for unwed women facing crisis pregnancies. I’ve seen what amazing mothers these women can make if they are just given hope for themselves and their children through our support!

Connect with Deanna via Twitter at @legally_de. You can also follow her blog here.

Do you know a student whose pro-life work should be recognized? Nominate him or her for a Live Action Student spotlight here.

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