Results for Life

Kristina Twitty '97 has turned a passion for applying ethics in the real world into real-world results; protecting, respecting, and honoring the weakest among us.

Gracy Olmstead

 

“You like things to be practically applicable, don’t you?”

That’s the question Alan Crippen asked of Kristina Twitty, during her training with the Witherspoon program back in 1997. When she wasn’t busy with the Witherspoon lectures and readings, or with her Family Research Council internship, Twitty was running across the street to spend time with children at the American Baptist Church’s youth outreach program.

“Yes, I do,” Twitty answered.

Now almost 40, Twitty still describes herself as “a very practical application person.” But with years of advocacy work, youth ministry, and political involvement under her belt, Twitty’s practical work has spread far and wide—from a church basement in Washington, D.C., to the halls of the Capitol, to the front lines of Georgia’s abortion fight.

An aspiring political activist, Twitty has been involved in politics since age 15, when she started giving pro-life speeches at events. She was part of Atlanta’s inaugural TeenPact program in 1994, and began working on congressional campaigns straight out of high school. Through TeenPact she first found out about the fledgling Witherspoon program. The following January, Twitty packed her bags and left her home in South Georgia to participate in the Witherspoon program’s inaugural class.

“What I appreciated the most about the Witherspoon Fellowship was the introduction to deeper thought and reason behind the what—what we do and why we do it, especially for conservatives in politics,” Twitty says.

At the time, funding for the program was scant . The American Baptist Church’s youth director and her husband offered Twitty housing in exchange for her participation in the church’s youth program.

In the midst of her policy work and academic readings, it was this work with D.C. youth that kept Twitty both grounded and inspired. One moment, she was talking about philosophy and politics with her peers. The next, she was walking across the street “to minister to kids who were being raised by their sisters and their boyfriends, whose parents were in prison or dead.”

Twitty remembers one girl in particular. She was in the seventh grade, being raised by an older sister. Her parents had died, and one of her other sisters was in jail. Twitty maintained a friendship with the young girl, and got to bring her to the Capitol later on in her career.

After finishing her Witherspoon fellowship, Twitty spent several years working in various political positions before  moving from Washington to St. Louis in 2005, where she began working with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin and enrolled in a general biblical studies program at Covenant Theological Seminary. Twitty’s work in the congressional office exposed her to the moral and theological questions posed by cloning and implantation. As a church outreach coordinator, Twitty had to study the issue in some depth. She went back to Covenant and asked if she could enroll in their bioethics program.

In many ways, bioethics combined Twitty’s ongoing love of the philosophical and practical. But it married that love to the pro-life passion Twitty had felt since her teen years—and opened doors to the important work she would seek in the future.

“I can’t possibly take this on. Can you come help?”

  Kristina at the capitol in Atlanta Georgia in 2016, lobbying on Senate Bill 308 creating a grant program for life affirming pregnancy support centers (Georgia Life Alliance Bill).

Kristina at the capitol in Atlanta Georgia in 2016, lobbying on Senate Bill 308 creating a grant program for life affirming pregnancy support centers (Georgia Life Alliance Bill).

That’s the question Emily Matson asked of Kristina Twitty in 2014. She was helping start a new pro-life advocacy organization called the Georgia Life Alliance, while also working as a family practice attorney and mother of two. GLA’s work—advocating for the vulnerable, raising awareness on key bioethics issues, and informing policymakers—was a perfect marriage of all Twitty’s interests and expertise. So Twitty moved back to Georgia, and set to work.

In 2007, Twitty had decided to take a break from politics: after working with her mother in real estate in Tennessee, she moved to Montana to help with political advocacy work. But Georgia was her home, and the pro-life movement was her passion.

“This had been home for me, which ended up being providential,” she notes. “People who didn’t know Emily knew me. That’s helped to set us on a good foot.” Twitty started speaking anywhere she could get scheduled, and began doing a lot of pro-life education and awareness work.

“Because of my bioethics degree, it married everything I love about life, faith, and politics in one very focused area,” she says. “And I loved it; I absolutely loved it.”

Twitty started a team at her church to handle life issues, and sought to foster discussion and support on issues related to adoption, foster care, and IVF. “I still, to this day, think I could make a full-time job out of convincing every Christian seminary that they need to require bioethics, at least as an intro for everybody who comes to the school,” says Twitty. “It still keeps me on fire, which I can pour into doing what I do.”

Twitty has also put together a policy briefing for pro-life legislators for the last two years. She pulls news from sources across the world and United States, as well as from Twitter feeds she follows. “Legislators can see things like child euthanasia in Belgium, or pregnancy resource centers in the 9th Circuit Court area being forced to refer to abortions,” she says. “They can see what’s going on, so we don’t repeat the same mistakes here.”

Now, at the beginning of a new year, Twitty is embarking on yet another adventure in pro-life advocacy. At the end of 2016, she began a new lobbying firm: Lobbyists For Life.

“After nearly three years with Georgia Life Alliance, I have stepped into a new role, following a vision God put on my heart years ago and brought to a sharp focus over the past 12 months,” she says. The organization will “provide government relations and political communications consulting for nonprofit organizations with a life-affirming mission.”

Alongside Lobbyists For Life, Twitty is also working on a new project entitled Alliance of Life Advocates (ALA), which will help promote organizations that offer support and services to men and women facing unplanned and difficult pregnancies—including post-abortion counseling, perinatal hospice after a prenatal diagnosis, infant adoption, improved foster care, and others.

“When you get the foundation right, the rest is built straight,” she notes. “For my work, the foundation is a better understanding of human beings, created in God's image and therefore, worth protecting, respecting, and honoring—especially the ‘least’ and ‘weakest’ or ‘smallest’ among us.”

 

If you want to know more about Kristina's work, she can be reached at Kristina@alliancelifeadvocates.com