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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

National Right to Life Convention Recap

Jennifer Popik addresses the convention

On Saturday, I had the privilege of speaking at the National Right to Life Convention in Milwaukee. The convention is an annual event bringing together pro-life leaders from every state to learn from one another. This year's theme was "Keeping Tomorrow Alive." It was actually a three-day affair, beginning last Thursday, but due to work commitments I was only able to participate on the final day. Still, if the first two days were anything like the third day, it was a stellar convention.

Saturday morning opened with a panel discussion of euthanasia and assisted suicide, with a particular focus on how that's worked out in nations where it is fully legalized, like Belgium and the Netherlands. Short answer: not well. Formal reporting is poor, anecdotal reports indicate widespread abuse, and we now have the phrase "involuntary euthanasia," formerly known as murder. The panelists also discussed scholarly articles floating a "duty to die"—thankfully that is not the law anywhere (yet), but clearly they're testing the waters, and we need to be prepared to defend vulnerable elderly and disabled individuals.

Then we moved to breakout sessions. I attended the presentation by NRLC's Jennifer Popik, JD, on the progress of federal legislation. Obviously NRLC's strategy is confidential, but in broad strokes, she gave us a primer on the various procedural hoops pro-life laws need to jump through.

After lunch, there were more breakout sessions—including mine! My presentation on secular outreach was streamed live on facebook. You can watch the video here

I also had the pleasure of watching the final round of NRLC's oratory contest. This is a program for high school seniors, who each crafted their own short speech on a topic related to the protection of vulnerable human lives. I was thrilled when my favorite contestant won. She was not only persuasive and poised, she also chose one of the most difficult topics: how the pro-life movement can support women who become pregnant as a result of rape.

The convention concluded with a banquet featuring keynote speaker O. Carter Snead, a law professor who brilliantly summed up the equal rights argument against abortion.

I can only hope that next year, I will be able to attend all three days. The 2018 National Right to Life Convention will be held in Kansas. Stay tuned for details!

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