There is hope: Meet the young Catholic lawmaker who went viral as a champion for life 

Kelsey Wicks   By Kelsey Wicks for CNA

 

Julie Slama, 25, who became the youngest female Nebraska senator ever three years ago, is a champion for life and a Catholic convert. / Courtesy of Julie Slama

Denver Newsroom, Apr 29, 2022 / 12:58 pm (CNA).

Twenty-five year-old Julie Slama, a Catholic and the youngest woman serving in the Nebraska state senate by 10 years, made waves on the internet in early April when she took to the Nebraska senate floor to support the Human Life Protection Act.

“As the only young woman under the age of 35 in this legislature, I am proud to stand in support of women, both born and preborn, by supporting Senator Albright’s pro-life LB 933,” Slama said on April 6.

“See, I’m 25. I’m 10 years younger than any other woman on the floor, and I’m proud to be pro-life,” the Republican lawmaker said. “My generation, which has suffered the greatest losses from abortion, is the pro-life generation.”

A recent convert to Catholicism, Slama told CNA she has drawn inspiration from the 19-year-old French commander St. Joan of Arc.

“My patron saint is St. Joan of Arc,” she said. “She was able to do incredible things as a young woman, fearlessly.”

She recommends the example of her patron to anyone considering a mission in the pro-life movement.

“If you feel called, whether you’re sitting in Maine or Florida or you’re 19 or 25 and you’re just not sure how, pray on it. Look for ways to get involved and make your voice heard, and just be open to the opportunities that God puts in front of you,” she said.

22-year-old trailblazer

Appointed in 2019 at the age of 22, making her the youngest female state senator ever, the Peru, Nebraska, native won re-election in 2020 and has now served four years in the Nebraska state senate. Pro-life positions are central to her service.

Earlier this year, Slama introduced the Heartbeat bill, a bill to ban abortion after a baby’s heartbeat is detected. As a result of her sponsorship of the bill, Slama was targeted with death threats, threats which she referred to the Nebraska State Patrol.

“No public official, or any person regardless of their stance on any issue, deserves to have their human dignity degraded and disrespected in such a way,” the Nebraska Family Alliance, the Nebraska Catholic Conference, and Nebraska Right to Life said in a joint statement in response to the threats.

“It’s threats like that that just have a chilling effect on pro-life senators,” Slama said, noting that they will not silence her.

But Slama is no stranger to standing up for her beliefs. As an undergrad at Yale University, she says she had to learn to defend her pro-life views.

“If you’re a conservative student, you have three options,” she said. “You can: one, either choose to be indoctrinated and just go along with the crowd; two, sit in the back of the classroom, or three, stand up and defend your beliefs … and understand why you believe in the things that you do.”

Her time at Yale helped her to defend the pro-life worldview she was given at age four, when a discussion of late-term abortion featured on the national news prompted an emotional reaction from her mother.

“I just remember my mom right as we were getting set up for dinner, just bursting into tears going ‘That’s a baby,’” she recalled. “So that’s that’s the first thing I can remember, and since then it has just been a real core value within me on a basic level that life is sacred.”

Now, when Slama has to defend her pro-life views she begins with a simple question: “If we as a government cannot protect the most innocent among us, then what is the point of government in the first place?”

She also criticizes straw man arguments about abortion that claim nothing can be done because it will always exist (the same is true for murder and rape, she says, but we still move to outlaw those acts), and the denial that life begins at conception.

Slama’s passion and tenacity have impressed her pro-life colleagues in the Nebraska legislature.

In an interview with CNA, Sen. Joni Albrecht, a fellow Republican who sits next to Slama in the legislative chamber, called her a “trailblazer” on pro-life issues.

“She’s a very bright young lady that is very resourceful and just does an excellent job,” said Albrecht, who has been in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature since 2017.

“She’s always on top of her game and always on top of every issue and definitely has a burning desire for the unborn, just as I do. And I can see that I can easily pass the torch to her to take it after I leave,” she added. “There is no doubt about it. She’d be my pick.”

While Slama and other pro-life senators failed by two votes to break the filibuster against the Human Life Protection Act, one of several pro-life defeats this legislative session, she says there is much to feel encouraged about in the pro-life movement.

Slama is hopeful that the June ruling on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the case currently before the Supreme Court that could limit abortion to 15 weeks or overturn Roe v. Wade entirely and move abortion politics to the state level, will spur a special session for pro-life legislation to be passed.

“Sixty-two million babies have been killed in abortion since Roe v. Wade,” Slama said on the senate floor on April 6. “We can’t get those 62 million lives back, or even the tens of thousands of lives we’ve lost to abortion here in Nebraska.

“But here in 2022,” she continued, “heaven have mercy on us if we know the science decisively proves life begins at conception, and we fail to take action.”


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1 Comment

  1. This article describes St. Joan of Arc as a “commander”, which has been disputed by historians: she herself said at her trial that she didn’t call herself that; and the Royal military records show the actual command structure (all noblemen), which tends to be confirmed by eyewitness accounts. Some of the commanders said they eventually asked her for advice after seeing her accurately predict the future, and she sometimes took matters into her own hands, but she didn’t have direct formal command.

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