Even our opponents know about and recognize the importance of NRLC’s convention next week in Milwaukee

By Dave Andrusko

While I can draw no earth-shattering conclusions, because I do not know Thaddeus Mason Pope personally, I found it utterly fascinating what he wrote yesterday (which I first saw today) on his influential “Medical Futility” blog.

Quick background. Prof. Pope is Director, Health Law Institute, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a major player in the field of bioethics and a fervent believer in (as the title of the blog suggests) medical “futility,” as elastic (and deadly) a term as you could imagine. His perspective is a long, long ways from National Right to Life’s.

Without comment [but with a link to the convention page], Pope wrote the following: “Several sessions at next week’s National Right to Life Conference address end-of-life medicine, including the general session: How to Prevent an Assisted Suicide Roe v. Wade.”

He then cited five different sessions, along with NRLC’s quick synopsis of the authors and content…

Assisted Suicide Battles Rage in Nearly Every State: Is Your State Next?

Mary Hahn Beerworth, Scott Fischbach

The threat of doctor-prescribed suicide is advancing in the states. Moreover, the next Supreme Court nomination could lead to legalization of euthanasia nationwide. Assisting suicide is now legal in California, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and, via the courts in Montana. With battles raging in states across the country, the ongoing battle in Vermont will be discussed as will other battles nationwide. This workshop will give background and break open the myths surrounding doctor-prescribed suicide. The speakers will cover the current legal and legislative landscape, describe some different kinds of successful winning (and losing strategies), and talk about what you can do in your own state. In the wake of massive state legislative push and upcoming Supreme Court nominations, it is more important than ever that doctor-prescribed suicide be stopped in its tracks.

The Battle Against Simon’s Law: How Dirty Tricks Lost To Smart Negotiations

Kathy Ostrowski

When hospitals choose to fight against parental decision-making rights – the battle for life can take two paths, and only one leads to life. This workshop will provide a firsthand account of those who fought for Simon’s Law in Kansas. Simon’s Law is a very significant pro-life measure that combats selectively “rationed” care and medical discrimination against children with life-limiting diagnoses. Kathy Ostrowski will share how the triumph of artful dialogue beat back bullying tactics and whisper campaigns. She will delve into the frontal attacks on Simon’s Law and reveal a hidden battle plan, offering an explanation of how negotiations with a Catholic hospital chain led to a pro-life win.

Terri’s Legacy: Building a Network that Will Save Lives

Bobby Schindler

It’s every family’s worst nightmare: a loved one is desperately ill and doctors refuse treatment on the grounds that the care is “futile.” Where do you turn? Whom do you call? Hospital ethics committees, family members who stand to gain financially, and promoters of the euthanasia movement are working together to end the lives of the medically vulnerable every day. It is time for the pro-life movement to stand in the gap and do what it does best: advocate for life. Find out how you can help the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network build a nationwide network of medical and legal professionals willing to step in and advocate for the lives of those who are at risk. The time to act is now — the lives you save could be closer to home than you ever thought possible.

Advance Care Planning” — Helping You to Enforce Your Wishes or Nudging You to Accept Premature Death?

Jennifer Popik, J.D. [and Wesley J. Smith–the General Session]

Learn how “advance care planning” mavens are using wily methods to “nudge” people into agreeing to sign away their right to live — and how to resist.

Beyond Assisted Suicide: Are We Prepared?

Brian Johnston

How far is the culture of death planning to go? How far are civilized individuals willing to go to stop it? The right to life movement draws its name from the founding documents of the United States of America, a nation which boldly asserted the distillation of Western civilization’s hopes and dreams and values. Without the right to life the foundations of Western society have nothing on which to rest. The self-evident truth of a human being’s unique stature in the eyes of the law, and a just government’s duty toward life, is the foundation of all our other laws.


What can we say? First, kudos to Prof. Pope for giving a heads-up to a convention whose driving theme about vulnerable patients is diametrically opposed to his. As Wesley once wrote, “Futile Care Theory claims that doctors and hospital bioethics committees should be empowered to refuse wanted life-sustaining treatment based on their beliefs that the patient’s life is not worth living or too expensive to maintain (or both).”

Second, I have no idea if Prof. Pope reads NRL News Today or just periodically checks National Right to Life’s homepage. What I do know, for a fact, is that many of our opposite numbers–on abortion, on treatment (or, in their perspective, non-treatment] of babies born with significant disabilities, and assisted suicide–do read and/or subscribe to our Monday through Saturday NRL News Today blog.

Just as people like me keep a very close eye on what they are saying, they are returning the favor. One more…

Third, if Prof. Pope bothers to tell his audience that “end-of-life medicine” is a key component of our three-day convention, it is a recognition that NRLC and its state affiliates are major players in fighting off euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the embrace of “futile care” theory.

All the more reason for you to be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin June 29-July 1. Register today at nrlconvention.com/register.

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