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At the Atchison, Kansas, March for Life organized by Benedictine College Jan. 29, President Stephen D. Minnis told the story of how the college’s students influenced a key pro-life vote in the state of Kansas. His words follow.
A couple of years ago the Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling that said that the Kansas Constitution guarantees a right to an abortion — in the section which states that Kansans have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ironically. Yes, you can’t make this stuff up.
What this means then is if Roe v. Wade gets overturned and abortion legislation is returned to the states that Kansas would deem a Kansas Constitutional right to abortion and would automatically be considered the most pro-abortion state in the union.
Of course, this had to change. Archbishop Joseph Naumann immediately commissioned a new amendment to the Kansas Constitution be drafted and asked pro-life House and Senate representatives to try to get it passed.
Any state constitutional amendment has to pass the Kansas Senate and the Kansas House by 2/3 vote and then put on the ballot for Kansans to decide.
Last year, it passed the Senate, but not the House — and after that vote Ravens worked to get those negative votes out of the legislature — which they did.
But this year was a different story. The Amendment passed the House—carried by the Speaker of the House Ron Rykman whose son Christian is a freshman here at Benedictine.
But when it went to the Senate it appeared to be one short on votes. So what did Benedictine College students do? They didn’t believe that they have no influence, that no one will listen to them.
Instead, they stormed the dorms and received 400 separate petitions signed by Benedictine College students and presented this big stack of petitions on Saturday imploring support for the Amendment.
Did it work?
You should be happy to know that on Jan. 28, the Senate voted in favor of the “Value Them Both” Kansas Constitutional Amendment — putting Kansas back on track to being a pro-life state.
I was told last night after the vote by a person close to the debate that everyone in Topeka is talking about the Benedictine College students who helped get this Amendment passed.
Thank you to Vincent Schiffiano; Jack Kuckelman; Christopher Ullrich; Thomas Doyle; Alejandro Calderon; Abby Walterscheid; Molly Rowles and Zach Zimmer for your work on this.
And thank you students because without your help this doesn’t get done.
You should be proud of yourselves and walk away from this event knowing that you do make a difference and your support for the pro-life cause is and will save lives.
This is why we march.
And even though not in Washington, D.C. — your voices, your actions are being heard and seen far beyond this place.
Thank you for your witness. Thank you for marching.
And know that my proudest moments as president of this college is walking along side of you — the pro-life generation — to stand up for life. Thank you.