Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Upcoming Talks I'll Be Giving & a Quick Report on the Boots on the Ground Do No Harm Conference

I'm dropping this quick post to let you know that I'll be speaking at Texas A&M - Commerce next week about TADA, perhaps other pro-life topics, and legislative updates on all things pro-life. It is open to the public, so please RSVP here.

I'll also be speaking on March 12 at the University of North Texas in Denton. I'll post more details closer to time. 

I'm very excited about these opportunities that come in the wake of the Texas Right to Life Do No Harm conference which focused on euthanasia this year. I had a great time!

Let me tell you, that was a fantastic event and so well done in every way. It was a roaring success. While Texas Right to Life hosts a conference like this every year, this was my first time to attend. While I was there to speak, I enjoyed being an attendee just as much. 

I learned a great deal from every speaker there, including my friends John Seago and Emily Cook. It's one thing to hear people speak during their testimony before legislative committees and in meetings or casually. This audience and purpose was a different and I enjoyed their style of presenting in this context as much as I did what they had to say. 

As I mentioned in my last post, I was excited to hear Bobby Schindler speak in person which I had not had the opportunity to do before. He always has great, poignant insight into things and more and more stories of how people are being involuntarily euthanized all over the place. He talked a little about his sister's case and other cases his organization, the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, is working on. His work is so vital and so few do it. 

The biggest surprise to me was Stephanie Gray, who I had not heard of before, but who is really an excellent speaker with so much substance to offer. Her talk addressed many of the common misconceptions about euthanasia and support for it. She took each argument for euthanasia and discussed how we can agree about that particular problem in principle but how we can take a pro-life approach to it. For example, one argument for euthanasia is that people are suffering and we should do something about that. Yes, that is a problem. But the solution is not to kill them. Perhaps we offer better pain management and so forth. It was very practical, but also delved into the philosophy of euthanasia as well. It can seem very compassionate until you start really looking at it. A number of those in attendance told me that they didn't see the problem with euthanasia until it was presented in a way to really think it through and see the consequences of it. Indeed. 

Stephanie also explained how nothing we do is in a vacuum and that what is promoted as one's individual choice that only affects them is far from the truth. She explained how very often people who "choose" assisted suicide or euthanasia really aren't doing so voluntarily. Rather, with each case that happens, it makes it more accepted and those who might not otherwise choose it do because they feel obligated to and not "be a burden" to anyone. (What a tragedy that people would think that of themselves and others rather people see what a blessing it is to help someone at the end of their lives and through sickness and show love and compassion and help that person prepare for death spiritually and otherwise. What a tragedy we don't offer more support to caregivers.) She said so much more. I highly recommend you grab one of her books or try to see her speak somewhere.

The panel I was on was full of really great, impactful experiences and education. But it contained exceptionally tragic experiences and I confess to struggling to maintain my composure until it was my turn to speak. Two persons on the panel, Sandra Hollier and Ebelechukwu Agu, had been victimized by this heinous law that they did not know existed until their loved one was in the crosshairs. It was powerful testimony. 

Another panelist, Dr. Sheila Page, is a doctor very experienced in difficult cases and medical ethics. It was interesting to hear what she had to say and discuss outcomes that defied expectations and challenged one's thinking and analysis about the initial prognosis (including recommendations to withdraw care) given when that person was sick. It was also interesting to consider how hospitals make decisions often based on a snapshot of one's life at it's worst without any context that affects the accuracy of those decisions. That has been my experience attending hospital ethics committee hearings as well.

My talk was about my experiences at ethics committee hearings, the effect on the families, and how little there is in the law for us to use to protect people given that there is a total lack of due process in the statute. I also addressed what we can do to fight this law in the current legislative session and education efforts so that others know of this law and can work against it. I encouraged those in attendance not to listen to any pro-life activist that tells them not to take up euthanasia and to focus only on abortion. That is wrong. It is all important. This is increasingly important even if it is the more difficult end of the pro-life spectrum. 

I very much regretted that I was unable to stay for Chet McDoniel's talk. I am sure that was an excellent presentation as well. I think being the last speaker at an event like this can be tough and I always hate to leave early. However, I'd been traveling much of that week and my youngest FaceTimed me to ask me to come home early. That was the most pro-life thing for me to do at that point and I made it home in time to meet him at the park with my beloved husband.

More very soon!

Thanks for reading!