Board of Directors
Joe Kral, M.A., is the President and Founder of the Society of St. Sebastian. He also serves as the Editor in Chief for the Society’s publication, Bioethics in Law & Culture. Mr. Kral has been involved in the pro-life movement since he has been in college. He has served as the Legislative Director for Texas Right to Life, a lobbyist for the Department of Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee, and as a bioethics consultant for the Texas Catholic Conference. In 2006 he was awarded the “Bishop’s Pro-Life Award for Civic Action” from the Respect Life Ministry in the Diocese of Dallas. Mr. Kral has testified on numerous pro-life issues before the Texas Legislature such as human cloning, abortion-related issues, and end-of-life issues. He was a regular contributor to the Truth and Charity Forum, an online publication for Human Life International where he primarily focused on the relationship between morality and pro-life legislative initiatives. He also serves as a voluntary legislative advisor to Texas Alliance for Life and is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. He has also taught as an adjunct at the University of St. Thomas. His MA in Theology was completed at the University of St. Thomas where he specialized in bioethics and is currently pursuing doctoral studies at Harrison Middleton University where he is specializing in the ethical and legal theory of St. Thomas Aquinas. He has been married to his wife, Melissa since 2004 and they have 2 children together.
Ana Brennan, J.D., is the Vice President of the Society of St. Sebastian. She also serves as the Senior Editor for the Society’s publication, Bioethics in Law & Culture. Ms. Brennan began her pro-life activism in college, continued through law school, and ultimately worked at the national level in Washington, D.C. As a State Legislative Associate for the National Right to Life Committee, working closely with grassroots lobbyists, state attorney generals, and governors she helped state affiliates pass pro-life legislation. Additionally, Ms. Brennan participated in educational activities including being a regular speaker for the Washington Semester Program at American University, debates, TV interviews, and educational workshops for other pro-life activists. She also has researched and written about end of life issues, including researching and drafting life-affirming advanced directives for health care, as well as writing her law school graduation writing requirement about medical futility as applied to elder care. Her work also includes editing online columns on a variety of issues, practicing immigration law, and teaching English to foreign nationals. Ms. Brennan received her Bachelors in History from Northern Arizona University and her Juris Doctor from Widener University School of Law.
Jacqueline C. Abernathy, Ph.D., is a member of the Board of Directors for the Society of St. Sebastian. She is a bioethicist, public policy scholar, and an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Tarleton State University in the Master of Public Administration Program. She is also the Director of the Mortality Policy Project at TSU, a research initiative that studies laws that govern end-of-life decision-making. She is also an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Dr. Abernathy’s research primarily focuses on end-of-life legislation, particularly state policies that allow the forced removal of life-sustaining medical treatment against patient wishes. Her training includes a Ph.D. in Public Administration and an M.S. in Social Work. Dr. Abernathy currently works as a policy analyst and independent evaluator, analyzing the effectiveness of government social welfare grants and human service programs for non-profit organizations. She recently testified in and provided support for key life-issue legal cases pending in the federal courts.
Julie H. Mikel, MBA, CPA is the Treasurer for the Society of St. Sebastian. She is a Tax Accountant and studied at the University of St. Thomas where she received her Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration in Accounting. She received her license as a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Texas in 2003. She has been involved in the pro-life movement since college, serving as the Pro-Life College Coordinator at Texas Right to Life organizing their Pro-Life College Conference and facilitating pro-life college activism. She also served as Treasurer for Texas Right to Life. She has been married to her husband since 2004 with whom she shares 4 children.
Michael New, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Social Research at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. Previously he was a Visiting Associate Professor of Economics at Ave Maria University in Florida, as well as an Associate Scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Additionally, he is a Fellow with the Witherspoon Institute, Princeton, New Jersey. Dr. New has both a Ph.D. in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Statistics from Stanford University. He has served as a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard-MIT data center and a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. His articles have appeared in various peer-reviewed journals, three of which have examined the impact of state-level abortion legislation.
Deanna Fortin, J.D. is currently Assistant Attorney General for the Louisiana Attorney General's Office. Prior to this position, she worked for Americans United for Life legal team as Staff Counsel, working directly with legislators to assist their efforts to protect mothers and their unborn infants from abortion industry abuses. Deanna consulted with state and federal legislators, provides testimony in favor of life-affirming legislation, and creates strategic legal tools to advance life in the law. Deanna was also an editor for AUL’s premier publication Defending Life, often called “the pro-life playbook” and contributed to AUL’s December 2016 Report, Unsafe: How the Public Health Crisis in America’s Abortion Clinics Endangers Women. Prior to joining AUL’s team, Deanna was Legislative Director for Louisiana Right to Life, where she helped pass legislation establishing Louisiana as one of the most pro-life states in America, consulted with legislators and policy directors on the state level, and provided pro-bono legal assistance to the Attorney General’s office with litigation efforts to defend Louisiana’s life-affirming laws. Deanna has been published and interviewed by a variety of news sources including The Federalist, The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post, Fox News, CBN, AP, and NPR. Deanna earned her BA in Speech Communications from Louisiana State University- Shreveport. A member of the State Bar of Louisiana, she earned her Juris Doctor and a Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law from LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center.
Steven Meyer, S.T.D., holds a Sacred Theological Doctorate in Dogmatic Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy. He has a Sacred Theological Licentiate (S.T.L.) from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. He also has a Master and Bachelor of Arts in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Dr. Meyer currently serves as an assistant professor in theology for the University of St. Thomas School of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary.