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Right to Life event coming to Mitchell

A local legislator and two nationally recognized figures in the anti-abortion movement will be among the participants in the 2010 South Dakota Right to Life convention Saturday in Mitchell.

The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Highland Conference Center, is open to the public. Tickets cost $40 and include lunch, dinner, snacks and teaching materials. Sign-in begins at 8:30 a.m.

Valerie Johnson, Mitchell area vice president, described Right to Life as a grassroots group that is nonpartisan, nonprofit and non-denominational. She predicts the event will draw 150 to 200 participants.

"Right to Life only has one issue," she said, "which is to educate people about the right to life for all human beings."

Speakers slated for the event include state Rep. Noel Hamiel, R-Mitchell; Stephen Wagner, director of training for the Wichita, Kan.-based Justice For All; and Olivia Gans, director of American Victims of Abortion, an outreach project of the National Right to Life Committee.

"Olivia will address the post-abortive syndrome and what to say to a person when they tell you they've had an abortion," Johnson said. "People often don't know what to do or what to say to a person who has experienced an abortion."

Wagner, meanwhile, "is going to give us tools for effective communication with anyone and everyone about rightto-life issues," Johnson said.

Wagner, 34, regularly speaks on college campuses. "He will teach on how to listen and how to dialogue with others about pro-life issues," Johnson said.

Hamiel said he was asked to speak on the legislative process.

"They want me to visit with them about the process of lawmaking, how a bill becomes law," he said. "It will be more of an informal discussion on the typical path a bill takes, from conception through the various twists and turns it may take on its way to passage."

Hamiel said he ran for the Legislature as a pro-life candidate, and he believes his position is reflective of mainstream South Dakota views on the topic. He has chosen not to run for re-election this year.

For more information, or to pre-register, call (605) 990-3828.