By Kathy Ostrowski
For a long time, Kansas was on the map as an abortion-friendly state. But the persistence of pro-life Kansans reversed that, and that indomitable spirit was on display Saturday at Kansans for Life’s state convention.
A big turnout at the Wichita Hyatt Regency began with a prayer breakfast and closed with a concert. In between, convention goers were the beneficiaries of intense tutorials, workshops, panel discussions, and camaraderie.
There were three different program tracks throughout the day—General Audience, Latinos for Life, and Teens for Life.
“Latinos and Teens,” said Convention organizer, KFL’s Development Director David Gittrich, “were especially energized to get equipped to educate and involve their peers in the effort to defend innocent human life.”
Comments from participants in all three tracks were extremely positive and many expressed their gratitude for the event.
The opening general session featured two of NRLC’s top talents: Burke Balch, director of the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics, and Mary Spaulding Balch, director of state legislation. The husband and wife team offered a joint exposition on “Pro-Life Lessons from Lincoln.”
This was a riveting explanation of the role the courts played in the civil rights movement, and how we can match those successes in the courts today using NRLC-supported legislation. One attendee said, “This is an absolutely remarkable defense of a strategy that will succeed!”
The afternoon general session featured international stem cell expert, Dr. David Prentice, now at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, presenting an update on the successes of ethical stem-cell therapies. Dr. Prentice is a founding member of the first-of-its-kind Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center, now in its third year of operation.
The audience was enthralled with the amount of clinical trials that are helping patients, including Kansans, and the medical marvels now occurring.
There was a broad selection of workshops available, including The Unborn Child’s Pain Capability, Why Judicial Reform is a Pro-life Issue, Threats to Receiving Life-sustaining Care in Kansas, and An Obamacare Alternative.
Latino and Teen tracks included topics tailored to their viewpoints and strengths.
Kate Gruver, from Pure and Simple, was a convention presenter and facilitated the Teens for Life track. She said she was gratified to have so many people — including attendees from another state! “The teens were full of passion in their ‘standing for life,’ and enjoyed learning from new perspectives,” she said.
Mary Spaulding Balch, did the “lifeboat” rationing exercise with the Teen track, and was very impressed to see so many young people who are passionate about protecting the lives of unborn children and the medically dependent. “Their zeal is contagious,” she said. “Their participation is encouraging. The future looks bright.”
The Latinos for Life events “were very well received, with enthusiastic interaction,” reported Anna Myer, KFL’s Director of Hispanic Outreach. The entire Latinos for Life track was in Spanish and attendees came from the far west to the east end of the state.
It was Myer’s inspiration to close the convention with a highly successful Rondalla concert/rally featuring a variety of stringed musicians, and gospel singers.
Closing remarks for the day were delivered by Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, and Gov. Sam Brownback. The Governor detailed 15 pro-life measures he had signed into law and told the happy crowd, “Kansas is pro-life and we are not going back!”