BDF Mission and Biographies
Bioethics is just that - the ethics of our conduct toward each human life.
Bioethics is a human rights issue because it impacts the life and death ethics affecting every member of the species homo sapiens.
Bioethics Defense Fund promotes human rights from beginning to end. We put law in the service of life.
President, CEO and General Counsel
Nikolas T. Nikas is co-founder, president and general counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF), a pro-life public-interest legal and educational organization that advocates for the human right to life and the fundamental right of conscience throughout the United States and abroad.
Nikas is known for his expertise in clearly integrating the principles of natural law and political theory with the facts of science and medicine to be used as the foundation for strategic legislation, litigation, education and media. Nikas is consulted across the nation and the world – by legislators, attorneys general and parliamentarians – on issues of abortion, healthcare rights of conscience, human cloning/embryonic stem cell research, and physician assisted suicide.
Among many other cases, Nikas has litigated ballot initiatives regarding human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, healthcare rights of conscience, clinic regulations and state-passed limits on late-term abortion.
In 2000 Nikas organized and participated in the oral argument preparation for Nebraska Attorney General Don Stenberg in the U.S. Supreme Court partial-birth abortion case, Carhart v. Stenberg. Nikas has also consulted with members and legal staff of the President’s Council on Bioethics in Washington, D.C., and has testified before the U.S. Senate on abortion and First Amendment rights.
Nikas is a dynamic speaker, having lectured on the full range of bioethics topics at leading medical schools and law schools, including Stanford, Columbia, Cornell and dozens of others. He has lectured internationally at legal and medical conferences, including the Rome conference of Matercare, and a legal symposium at the University of Warsaw. Nikas received his B.A. (1979) and M.A. (1981) in government and international relations from the University of Notre Dame, with his masters focusing on political theory. He received his Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, in 1986 from Arizona State University College of Law. He and his wife Melinda, the parents of five grown children, live in Phoenix, Arizona.
Dorinda C. Bordlee
Vice President, Senior Counsel
Dorinda C. Bordlee, Esq. is Vice President, Senior Counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund, a bioethics law and policy organization that advocates for human rights from beginning to end. She has dedicated her law practice to sanctity of life constitutional issues since 1994.
Dorinda's expertise is in the public policy realm, having drafted legislation and user friendly education pieces for dozens of States on the full range of bioethics issues including healthcare rights of conscience, abortion and its impact on women's health, human cloning, destructive human embryo research, and end-of-life issues such as physician-assisted suicide and healthcare rationing.
Dorinda also has wide-ranging litigation and appellate advocacy experience defending the constitutionality of life issue laws in U.S. federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. She has consulted with members and legal staff of the President's Council on Bioethics.
Dorinda is the author of a chapter on abortion alternatives in the 2004 book entitled The Cost of Choice, and she has published articles and opinion pieces on topics including authentic feminism, healthcare reform, and human cloning in national publications including National Review Online, the New York Times, and the Washington Times, and has appeared on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, EWTN and C-Span. Her speaking engagements range from university and law schools to national and international legal and medical conferences, including the Rome conferences of Matercare and the International Catholic Medical Association.
Dorinda received her B.A. in Finance, summa cum laude (1987), and Juris Doctor (1990) from Loyola University, New Orleans. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and their four children.
Monique Colon Toso
Education and Administration
An educator by training, Monique Colon Toso has led a successful educational effort called "Proudly Pro-Life Week" in the Archdiocese of New Orleans' elementary and high schools that has been exported to schools around the nation. The educational program is a project of "Parents for Life," which Monique founded in 2000.
Monique also serves as Executive Assistant for the development and administrative operations of Bioethics Defense Fund. Monique also handles event planning, and assists in BDF's liason with public policy organizations, legislators and civic groups seeking bioethics policy advice and briefing seminars.
Monique lives in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband and two daughters.
Cindy M. Northon, Esq.
Legal Counsel & Youth Outreach
Cindy M. Northon, Esq. serves as Legal Counsel and Youth Outreach Specialist. Prior to joining the Bioethics Defense Fund, Cindy worked as a publicist in New York City, New York and Nashville, Tennessee.
While in law school, Cindy served as Vice President of the Moot Court Board, Publicist for Lex Vitae and Secretary of the Women's Law Association. Cindy competed as part of the Michigan Moot Court Championship team in 2003, and was awarded the St. Catherine of Alexandria Award for excellence in oral advocacy. She was on the Law School Dean's List and was a recipient of a Dean's Scholarship.
Ms. Northon worked as an extern with the in-house counsel of IMG Sports Management, Cleveland, Ohio and as a summer associate with the law firm of Miller, Johnson, Snell and Cummisky, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Cindy is a graduate of Boston College (B.S. 1995) and of Ave Maria School of Law (J.D 2004). She lives in Florida, Michigan with her husband and three children.
Nikolas T. Nikas
President, CEO and General Counsel
Nikolas T. Nikas is president and general counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF), a public-interest legal and educational organization that advocates for the human right to life and the fundamental right of conscience throughout the United States and abroad.
Nikas is known for his expertise in clearly integrating the principles of natural law and political theory with the facts of science and medicine to be used as the foundation for strategic legislation, litigation, education and media. Nikas is consulted across the nation and the world – by legislators, attorneys general and parliamentarians – on issues of abortion, healthcare rights of conscience, human cloning/embryonic stem cell research, and physician assisted suicide. He is a dynamic speaker, having lectured at leading medical schools and law schools, including Stanford, Columbia, Cornell and dozens of others, and at legal and medical conferences, including the Rome conference of Matercare, and a legal symposium at the University of Warsaw.
Nikas received his B.A. (1979) and M.A. (1981) in government and international relations from the University of Notre Dame, with his masters focusing on political theory. He received his Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, in 1986 from Arizona State University College of Law. He and his wife Melinda, the parents of five grown children, live in Phoenix, Arizona.
Dr. Condic is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, with an adjunct appointment in the department of Pediatrics. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota.
Since her appointment at the University of Utah in 1997, Dr. Condic's primary research focus has been the development and regeneration of the nervous system. In 1999, she was awarded the Basil O'Connor Young Investigator Award for her studies of peripheral nervous system development. In 2002, she was named a McKnight Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Investigator, in recognition of her research in the field of adult spinal cord regeneration.
In addition to her scientific research, Dr. Condic teaches both graduate and medical students. Her teaching focuses primarily on embryonic development, and she directed the University of Utah School of Medicine's course in Human Embryology. Dr. Condic has a strong commitment to public education and science literacy. She has published and presented seminars nationally and internationally on science policy and bioethics, focusing on issues regarding various forms of stem cell research. Dr. Condic currently resides in Salt Lake City with her husband and four children.
Rev. Thomas Berg, Ph.D.
Ethics and Moral Philosophy Advisor
Fr. Thomas Berg, Ph.D., is a priest in the Archdiocese of New York who serves as the Chair of the Moral Theology Department at St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie). In 2007, he was appointed to the ethics committee of New York’s Empire State Stem Cell Board, and in 2010 he was named to the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law. He holds a Ph.D. in moral philosophy from Rome's Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum. In addition to moral theology, his areas of specialization include natural law theory, medical ethics, and philosophical and theological anthropology. In 1998 he founded the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, a Catholic think-tank dedicated to fundamental research on the Western moral tradition. He has published or been quoted in Crisis Magazine, the National Catholic Register, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He has co-authored a white paper entitled: Emergency Contraceptives & Catholic Healthcare: A New Look at the Science and the Moral Question. He has co-edited a volume of essays on the topic of human embryo adoption entitled: Human Embryo Adoption: Biotechnology, Marriage, and the Right to Life.
James Hirsen, Esq.
New Media Advisor
James Hirsen is a New York Times best selling author, commentator, news analyst and law professor.
Sought after for his expertise on current events and cultural matters, and most recently his experience in bioethics policy involving California’s Prop 71, Hirsen has appeared on the O’Reilly Factor, Weekend Live with Tony Snow, Scarborough Country, CNN’s People in the News, Fox and Friends, Hardball with Chris Matthews, the BBC, ABC’s Politically Incorrect, CNN's Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff and numerous other television programs.
Hirsen’s ideas have been quoted in major publications including the Washington Times, the Weekly Standard, the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, he hosts his own radio program on the Cable Radio Network, which reaches millions of households via cable television systems, PAX-TV, satellite users, Internet broadcasting and the Langer Broadcasting Network, a 100-station radio network headquartered in Boston.
Hirsen is a pundit for NewsMax.com and author of the popular weekly column, “The Left Coast Report,” where he takes a humorous poke at the politics of Hollywood. He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, Tales from the Left Coast: True Stories of Hollywood Stars and Their Outrageous Politics.
Hirsen teaches law at both Trinity Law School and Biola University in Southern California. He is admitted to practice in the California and Washington, D.C. Bar Associations, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of International Trade.
Before setting his sights on the legal, communications and publishing worlds, Hirsen worked as a professional musician. He participated in numerous studio recordings, film scores and performance events, and for a number of years was keyboardist for one of the most legendary groups of all times, the Temptations.
James Hirsen and his wife currently reside in Newport Beach, California.
Anthony J. Bordlee
David J. Lukinovich
What is Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF)?
BDF is a pro-life public-interest legal and educational organization that works throughout the United States and abroad.
What is BDF’s mission?
The mission of Bioethics Defense Fund is to strategically advocate for the restoration of the fundamental human right to life through litigation, legislation, education and media.
Why is Bioethics Defense Fund unique?
Bioethics Defense Fund advocates for a culture of life by understanding and applying the relevant legal, scientific and medical arguments in light of a philosophical anthropology grounded in the natural law and the compatibility of faith and reason.
BDF attorneys Nikolas T. Nikas and Dorinda C. Bordlee are known for their expertise in translating the profound truths of morality, law, and medicine into easy-to-understand legal and policy arguments that can be used by:
- Legislators, judges, lawyers, and law students;
- Physicians, medical students and other healthcare professionals;
- Journalists and new media; and
- Clergy, seminarians and all men and women of good will.
What are the issues addressed by Bioethics Defense Fund?
BDF’s expertise is in the following areas:
- Abortion & pro-life feminism;
- Biotech threats to human dignity including human cloning, destructive human embryo research, human egg harvesting, in vitro fertilization practices, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, and more;
- Euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, and end-of-life decision making; and
- Rights of conscience for healthcare professionals, and protecting individual religious liberty from coercive government mandates.
What does Bioethics Defense Fund do?
Litigation: BDF files lawsuits, provides strategic legal consultation to other attorneys, files amicus briefs in key federal and state court cases, prepares lawyers for oral arguments in appellate courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court), and initiates legal research to be incorporated in future prolife legal efforts.
Legislation: BDF drafts cutting-edge model laws to be used in various state legislatures; testifies as legal experts before state legislative committees, drafts prolife policy guides to educate legislators, media and the general public; provide ongoing consultation regarding pending legislation; conduct legislator educational seminars.
Education: BDF creates and delivers dynamic lectures and debates at law schools, medical schools, undergraduate colleges, universities and seminaries; and are frequent speakers at professional legal, medical and civic conferences.
Media: BDF attorneys draft timely opinion pieces, prepare compelling articles, offer insightful interviews for television and radio, and provide critical background information for national syndicated columnists and journalists.
Who are the founders of BDF?
Nikolas T. Nikas (Notre Dame, ASU) and Dorinda C. Bordlee (Loyola New Orleans) are the founders of the Bioethics Defense Fund. They are well credentialed and accomplished attorneys who have a combined 37 years experience in the prolife legal and educational arenas. Both Nikas and Bordlee were at the top of their law school graduating classes and each left prestigious legal careers in the early 1990s to dedicate their professional talents to restoring a culture of life.
They collaborate with leading academics, medical doctors, theologians, scientists and journalists, and have worked with the following: Robby George (Princeton), Fr. Thomas Berg (Chair of Moral Theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary and advisor to Cardinal Dolan), Carter Snead (Notre Dame Law School, Center for Ethics & Culture), Former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard Law School), Maureen L. Condic, Ph.D., (embryologist, stem cell researcher), Hadley Arkes (Amhurst), Kathryn Jean Lopez (NRO), and leaders of State Catholic Conferences and Family Policy Councils.
What They’re Saying. . .