Friday morning kicked off early with the prayer breakfast at 7:30 a.m., featuring the music of Jaime Thietten. One convention-goer left the session and said of Jaime’s rendition of You Raise Me Up: “She has unbelievable pipes!”
Couple Mark and LaRee Pickup spoke at the breakfast about learning to value life after Mark was diagnosed with degenerative multiple sclerosis. Their journey through physical degeneration and disability caused trials and grief, but they remained strongly committed to life, when others in the same situation have chosen assisted suicide.
Later Friday morning, in a humorous and powerful session with Steven Zielinski, M.D., J.D., attendees learned the physiology of prenatal development, and how Zielinski’s research proved that babies can feel intense pain as early as 18 weeks gestation. Zielinski’s best quotes from the session:
“In 1978 we had this weird reality about the unborn child – a concerted effort to hide the development of an unborn child.”
“The normal method of anesthesia for babies in 1978? Adhesive tape. You’d tape them down and just do [the surgery].”
“Pain in unborn children has been demonstrated to be 3 to 5 times worse. It ends up not just being significant, but more significant that in adults. The pain is worse.”
“The most basic function an organism can have is a response to painful stimuli. You will never see an unborn child in the womb that harms themselves. Pushing, thumping, moving, yes, but never to the point of pain, always seeking comfort.”
Zielinski produced a paper in 1984 that proved the pain an unborn child feels during abortion is long and agonizing. To the critics who claim a cerebral cortex or myelin must be present to feel pain, Zielinski had several responses, including this:
“People shot in the brain have had their cerebral cortex removed or damaged but still respond to pain. People who have had myelin eliminated still feel pain.”
While Zielinski was speaking the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released an article disputing the overwhelming body of evidence that unborn children can feel pain in utero. You can read NRLC’s response to RCOG’s article here. It’s almost as though they were in the room.
After the morning general sessions, there were 24 adult workshops and 4 teen workshops held throughout the afternoon. Pro-lifers had a free evening afterward to network and digest the workshop information.