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Posts Tagged ‘Burke Balch’

asst suicideKansas pro-lifers have become acutely aware of how legislation they support is under threat from courts acting like legislatures. Kansas has a host of excellent pro-life laws (see here) and that includes assisted suicide as a felony crime.

In the National Right to Life News Today, the role of the 2016 elections and the next nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court is examined  with respect to assisted suicide and even, involuntary euthanasia. Jennifer Popik, J.D. and Burke Balch, J.D. are the experts at the National Right to Life’s medical ethics division and they have authored a sobering look at the issue. Here are some excerpts:

-While the Supreme Court does indeed exercise judicial functions in a number of cases with low-ideological content – settling contract and patent issues, for example—when it comes to making “constitutional” rulings the body has gradually come to act more and more like a “Supreme Legislature.”

-Whereas in past decades presidential candidates often eschewed so-called “litmus tests” [for the U.S. Supreme Court] for how their appointees would vote on specific issues, instead talking generally about “judicial philosophy,” today those in both parties talk openly about a laundry list of positions anyone they’d nominate would have to take.

-For example, it is clear as daylight that if the Scalia vacancy is filled by a President Obama, Clinton or Sanders, there will be five votes on the 9-member body to strike down essentially all limits on or regulations of abortion, ranging from the Hyde Amendment through informed consent and parental involvement laws to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg contends that any law touching abortion differently than, say, prostate surgery invalidly constitutes “sex discrimination.”

-Less widely discussed is that the issue of assisting suicide will almost inevitably again come before the High Court. So while you might not live in one of the states where doctor-prescribed suicide is legal, if more states join the ranks of California, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont—and above all if 2016 sees the election of a president and Senate likely to use the next Supreme Court vacancy to nominate and confirm a justice sympathetic to euthanasia–there is the real risk the U.S. Supreme Court might well follow the Supreme Court of Canada recent decision holding there is a federal constitutional right to assist suicide.

-Whether in one sweeping decision or through a carefully paced step-by-step series, an ideologically committed Supreme Court majority might well echo the Canadian court in ultimately stripping states of their legislative discretion. They would no longer be able to protect those with Alzheimer’s disease or other judgment-impairing mental disabilities from being killed at the direction of their relatives, guardians, or perhaps “ethics committees” at health care facilities presently often empowered to cut off treatment and assisted feeding for those under their care who have no one to speak for them.”

Please read –and forward–the entire article!

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Teens at workshop

Rapt Teens for Life audience at KFL convention workshop

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.

close in teens

Teens at KFL convention

“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.

Gov. Brownback, NRLC's Mary & Burke Balch, Lt. Gov. Colyer

Gov. Sam Brownback, Mary & Burke Balch, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer

The audience was enthralled with the amount of stem cell 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.

Latinos for Life workshop

Latinos for Life workshop

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 Myers, KFL’s Director of Hispanic Outreach.  The entire Latinos for Life track was in Spanish and attendees came from the far west to east end of the state.

It was Myers’ inspiration to close the convention with a highly successful Rondalla concert/rally featuring a variety of stringed musicians, and gospel singers.convention, Latinos for Life rondalla

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!”

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