Spirits high as National Right to Life’s 52nd annual convention open in Pittsburgh

By Dave Andrusko

This is being composed in the early afternoon of Friday, June 23 as I try to write some stories even as I attend as many of the great workshops and superb General Sessions as I can. Today is Day One of National Right to Life’s 52nd annual convention and spirits were high and the caliber of the presentations even higher.

As a bonus for early arrivals, last night there was a challenging presentation featuring Olivia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life and founder of American Victims of Abortion. The title of this post-Dobbs address was “When the Shouting Stops: Understanding why some women and men feel the need to defend.” Olivia explored in depth “What Helps Heal a Wounded nation.”

Erik Rosales was the Prayer Breakfast speaker. Mr. Rosales is the Capital Hill Correspondent for EWTN News Nightly. In a very moving speech, he explored “A personal relationship with Christ.”

One thing, among many, Prayer Breakfast attendees will take away from his talk is something a baseball coach once taught his players: “Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome.” To this sound advice Mr. Rosales added the most important one of all: “God first.”

Wesley J. Smith, a great pro-life bioethicist, and Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the influential Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, addressed “Assisted Suicide: It’s even worse than you ever imaged.”

To the delight of the audience, they conversed back and forth while sitting in comfortable chairs. Alas, in Canada, where Schadenberg hails from, it’s assisted suicide on steroids. The United States, Smith warned, is not far behind. Smith drove home the point that the reason assisted suicide has not made the same inroads in the United States is the breadth and depth of the coalition fighting it, and particularly the opposition of the Disability Rights community.

The last general session of the afternoon featured Amy Ford, the co-founder and President of “Embrace Grace,” and Thomas Glessner, Founder and President of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). Embrace Grace was formed to provide curriculum and leadership support for churches national wide to open their arms to young women with unexpected pregnancies and it is utilized by over a thousand churches. She offered the audience moving examples of what churches have done with and fot these young women.

In 2018 NIFLA won a major free speech case before the Supreme Courts. California had tried to force pro-life pregnancy help centers to advertise for abortion.