(Des Moines, IA) Iowa pro-life activists gathered in Des Moines yesterday for training and lobbying at the Iowa State Capitol. Rally for Life 2014 was co-hosted by Iowa Right-to-Life, Iowans For L.I.F.E., Mercy Medical Center, Iowa Catholic Conference, Teen Pact, Council of Catholic Women, Catholic Charities, Knights of Columbus, Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, Saint Jude Hospice, and The FAMiLY LEADER.
The day started with a pro-life education seminar at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Des Moines. J. Wesley Smith keynoted the event. Smith Smith is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. He is also a lawyer and consultant for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture. His speech was followed by a pro-life panel that consists of Wesley Smith, Deacon Dave O’Brien, Tom Moreland, and Laura Wenman.
Activists also received training about lobbying and were invited to lobby their legislators prior to the rally in the Rotunda of the State Capitol. Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds spoke at the rally. Branstad pledged continued support.
“We are pleased to stand with you for the life movement,” Branstad told the group that had fewer numbers due to inclement weather in the morning. He mentioned the webcam abortion ban that passed in the Iowa House. He said that the bill assured that women who planned to undergo a webcam abortion will now have “an appropriate standard of care.” He said that was the least they could do to protect unborn babies and mothers.
Iowa Senate Democrats have promised not to take up the bill that passed in the Iowa House on a 55 to 42 vote.
“We are here to share with Iowans that all life is precious,” Reynolds told the group. “We want to help educate Iowans on the importance of protecting those who are unable to protect themselves.”
Smith, who also keynoted the rally at the Capitol, spoke about the issue of assisted suicide. The topic was a departure from what is typically discussed during pro-life events at the Capitol. Smith said it was important to address the topic before legislation ever becomes filed. He pointed out assisted suicide expanded in countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland including euthanasia of those who are mentally ill and children.
He pointed out that people 100 years ago died in agony without a discussion on “dying with dignity” or euthanasia. He pointed out that the driving force for those who choose to end their life is the desire not to be a burden. “How did we make it so that our mothers and fathers and our aunts and our uncles think that they could possibly be a burden upon us?” Smith asked.
He cautioned how healthcare rationing, like what has been seen in Oregon, will drive many of these decisions.
You can watch his speech below: