Pro-Life Scholars Discuss Euthanasia, Abortion

A group of prominent pro-life scholars convened for the 15th annual Faculty for Life conference to share their work and experiences regarding life issues

A group of prominent pro-life scholars convened for their 15th annual conference on June 3-5.

Hosted by Ave Maria School of Law of the Catholic intellectual tradition, the University Faculty for Life's (UFL) Annual Conference took place on the Ann Arbor, MI.-campus for the second time, according to Robert Falls & Co. Public Relations.

The conference provided an opportunity for dozens of faculty members from a various disciplines to share their work and experiences regarding life issues – abortion and euthanasia - and to strengthen the right to life movement.

The founding president of UFL who served until 2004, Father Thomas M. King, a Professor of Theology at Georgetown University, received the Rupert and Timothy Smith Award for Distinguished Contributions to Pro-Life Scholarship.

In his banquet address, King called on UFL scholars to “remain steadfast in their devotion to truth and to devote their work to building the civilization of life and love.”

King, who joined Georgetown faculty since 1968, still edits the UFL Newsletter and serves on the UFL Board of Directors.

The Conference featured two plenary talks given by Professor John Keown - who holds the Rose F. Kennedy Chair in Christian Ethics in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University - and Richard Wilkins, the Managing Director of the World Family Policy Center.

Keown, a specialist on euthanasia, delivered a plenary address on assisted suicide in Europe. He also gave insight about euthanasia's possible entrance to America.

Wilkins meanwhile gave a plenary talk on the relationship between international law and the right to life. He explored the growing importance and influence of international law and described the efforts of some to create a right to abortion as a matter of international law. He closed his talk with a plea for "coordinated and coherent pro-life academic involvement in the international policymaking arena."

Other noteworthy Conference sessions included a panel discussion on the Terri Schiavo case featuring Father Rob Johansen of the Kalamazoo Diocese, who has written extensively about the case.

Professor Mark Latkovic, a moral theologian from Sacred Heart Major Seminary, also spoke on similar moral issues involving patients in a persistent vegetative state.

Other notable speakers present at the conference were Teresa Collett, UFL's Vice President and a Professor at University of St. Thomas School of Law; Rachel MacNair, former President of Feminists for Life; Clarke Forsythe of Americans United For Life; and Father John Conley, S. J. of Fordham University.

The papers from the Annual Conference will be published in Life & Learning, an annual volume that is published by UFL.

Since its founding in 1989, UFL has promoted multi-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration among professors on abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. One of UFL's principal purposes is to educate the community about life issues and the reasons behind pro-life positions.

This year's Annual Conference, which was funded in part by a grant from the Our Sunday Visitor Institute, included more than 25 presentations by scholars of law, political science, theology, philosophy, history, nursing, and communications.