Monday, July 11, 2016

NRLC convention recap

Your president, Kelsey Hazzard, here. On Saturday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) convention in northern Virginia.

The convention was actually three days long, but I only made it for the third and final day, so I'm not fully qualified to recap the event. That said, what little I did have the opportunity to see makes me hope that I'll be able to catch the full event next time. (The convention moves each year, and I'm told 2017 will be in Milwaukee.)

Saturday morning kicked off with a panel highlighting NRLC's "Will to Live" program. The Will to Live is a free, customizable document which you can use to make your health care wishes known in the event that you become incapacitated. Its language makes it clear that the patient does not buy into the idea that it's better to be dead than disabled, and that the patient desires nutrition, hydration, and treatment for the condition. Two panelists offered emotional stories involving their elderly fathers; one father had a living will and survived, while the other did not and died after denial of care.

The panel concluded with a plea to pro-life advocates, which I did not record verbatim, but was along the lines of: "You do so much every day to save the lives of babies who you don't know and will probably never meet. Your selflessness is admirable, but don't forget about yourself and your family. Use the Will to Live and you could save your own life and the lives of your loved ones."

Next, we went into breakout sessions, where I spoke about making the case against abortion from a secular point of view and how NRLC state affiliates can make their organizations more inclusive. It went well; the session was well-attended and very interactive. Several individuals approached me afterward to say that they would be changing their approach in light of what they'd learned from me. We did not videotape the presentation, but NRLC created an audio recording. We'll let you know when that's available.

During the lunch hour, I networked with friends old and new, and specifically promoted a new campaign that we'll launch next Monday, July 18. Stay tuned.

I attended a handful of afternoon sessions (on federal legislative updates, press relations, and electoral campaigning) and then it was off to the airport. My schedule has been a bit of a whirlwind lately; I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't exhausted, but it's all been 100% worth it.

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