2018 Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life Panel Discussion

2018 Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life Panel Discussion


(bell tolling) – Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome back to Gaston Hall. My name is Amelia Irvine and I am the director of sponsorship for the conference this year. I hope you all enjoy the
breakout sessions and your lunch. I now have the pleasure
of welcoming to the stage Dr. John J. DeGiogia, the
president of Georgetown University who will present the
Reverend Thomas King Award. (audience applauding) – Wish you the very best. Well, thank you very much, Amelia, for your introduction and for your service on the Cardinal O’Connor
Conference board of directors. Good afternoon, everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here to welcome so many of you to Georgetown
and to Gaston Hall, one of our most beautiful and
historic places on our campus and I wish to express my appreciation to all the student volunteers on the Cardinal O’Connor Conference board especially co-directors Michael
Kahn and Julia Greenwood for their many efforts to
organize this year’s conference which is now in its 18th year. I wish also to express my appreciation to all the sponsors of the conference especially our Georgetown
Right to Life organization, the Knights of Columbus, and the Catholic
Daughters of the Americas. We’re so grateful for all that you’ve done to make today possible and to honor the legacy of his eminence John Cardinal O’Connor, a member of the Georgetown class of 1970 for whom this conference is named. It’s a special pleasure
to be here with you today to present the 9th Annual
Reverend Thomas M. King, SJ Award. This award has special resonance for me. Father King was the very first Jesuit and first faculty member I met when I came to Georgetown
more than 40 years ago as a first year student. He helped introduce me to the
way of life of our community and to the kind of academic
work that was possible. I remember being right
here in this room in 1981 when I was in graduate school and at that time he convened
an international conference on Teilhard and the Unity of Knowledge, that brought together some of
the most extraordinary leaders in the academy and beyond. It was my first real exposure to the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin of whom Father King was a devoted scholar. More importantly, it was the
first truly academic conference I had ever attended and it was an example for me of the caliber and
quality of academic work that an institution can do. During his time in our
community which spanned 41 years and many generations
of Georgetown students, Father King served as
professor of theology, was a scholar, a distinguished
author, a mentor, and friend. He had a special relationship with our student Right
to Life organization, played a significant role in their efforts to host this conference each other and shared a deep understanding of the dignity of every human life. His dedication was recognized in 2005 when he received the Rupert
and Timothy Smith Award for Distinguished Contributions
to Pro-Life Scholarship from the University Faculty for Life, an organization that he co-founded
16 years earlier in 1989. Father King was a comforting presence who played an enduring role in
the lives of so many members of our Georgetown community especially those who joined
him at his daily 11:15 mass in Dahlgren Chapel in our quadrangle. For 40 years, six evenings a week, during both moments of
celebration and sadness, he presided and offered guidance to all who sought peace in
the presence of the lord. In 1999, our student newspaper, the Hoya, named Father King as
Georgetown’s Man of the Century, sharing that quote, no one had had a more significant presence on campus and effect on students than
Father King, close quote. There are so many images and
memories that I have of him, but I always think of the
way that he ended every mass in a quiet prayer from the Gospel of John. In the beginning was the
word and the word was God and the word was with God. When I think of Father King, I think of his gift of
providing the opportunity in countless ways but
especially every evening at our 11:15 mass for our
community to come together and to experience the presence of God. Father King had a wonderful
spirit and patience. He was a person of extraordinary integrity and a model of what it
means to be a man for others and a man for God, so it’s wonderful to be
with you this afternoon and to have this opportunity
to remember his contributions and I have the honor of announcing this year’s Reverend
Thomas M. King, SJ awardee. And it’s the Holy Cross Students for Life at the College of the Holy Cross. (people clapping) And Elinor Reilly who serves
as the group’s president will be accepting the award on behalf of the Students for Life and will be joined by her colleagues Juliana Holcomb and Stephanie Raymond. So, Elinor, Juliana, and Stephanie, please join me on stage. You have our most sincere congratulations. – Thank you, President DeGiogia, and congratulations to Students
for Life at Holy Cross. Now, that you’ve all
have had the opportunity to hear Lila Rose as well as
hear our breakout speakers discuss a variety of arguments articulated by the pro-life movement, we turn to the highly anticipated conference panel discussion. Our panel discussion this year will directly address the
theme of the conference, Irreligiously Pro-Life: The Future of the Movement
in a Secular World. Before we move into the panel discussion, we would like to remind
all of you yet again of our speech and expression policy. Georgetown University is committed to standards promoting
speech and expression that foster the exchange
of ideas and opinions. While it is recognize that not everyone may share the same views as the speakers, it is expected that everyone
in attendance at this event respect the right of the speakers and of our conference board to share their perspectives and ideas by not causing a disruption
to the event’s activities. At the conclusion of the panel, there will be a question
and answer session during which you may ask
questions and engage in dialogue. Please be sure to phrase your comments in the form of a question. In the interest of time, we ask that each person be concise and ask only one question. It is now my distinct honor to introduce to you the
members of today’s panel. We want to first welcome to
the stage Richard Doerflinger. He is the former associate
director of pro-life activities at the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops where for 36 years he researched and drafted policy statements and delivered congressional testimony on abortion, euthanasia, and
other medical moral issues for the bishops conference. His syndicated column,
A More Human Society, is distributed to Catholic
periodicals twice a month by the National Catholic News Service. He is a public policy fellow
at the University of Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture and was the first recipient
of the university’s Evangelium Vitae Medal, awarded by Notre Dame’s
Fund to Protect Life for his work defending the
sanctity of human life. Our next panelist is Mary Eberstadt. She serves as a senior research fellow at the Faith and Reason
Institute in Washington DC and is the author of several books including It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies and How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization. Her essays and reviews have
appeared in many publications including the Wall Street
Journal, Time, and First Things. Center stage will be our
panel’s moderator John Carr. He serves as the director
of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life here at Georgetown which is an initiative that seeks to share
Catholic social thought more broadly and deeply and reach out to a new
generation of leaders. Carr previously served as
correspondent of America and wrote the Washington
Front column for the magazine. Additionally, he has
served for over 20 years as the director of the
Department of Justice Peace and Human Development at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
where he assisted the bishops in sharing Catholic social teaching and directing their public
policy and advocacy efforts on major domestic and
international issues. Our third panelist is Kelsey Hazzard. She’s serves as the founder and president of Secular Pro-Life which
brings together people of every faith and no faith in defense of the human right to life. She was raised in the pro-choice
United Methodist Church and is now an atheist. She has appeared in media outlets from Slate to the Weekly Standard and you might recognize her, too, from the pro-life
documentary film entitled 40. She holds a law degree from the University of
Virginia School of Law. Last but certainly not least,
we have Dr. Marguerite Duane. Dr. Duane is a board
certified family physician and is co-founder and
executive director of FACTS, the Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science which is a project of the Family Medicine
Education Consortium. She also serves as an
adjunct associate professor here at Georgetown where she
directs an introductory course on natural methods of family planning. Dr. Duane also works with
Modern Mobile Medicine, a direct primary care
house-calls based practice serving patients in DC. In the past, she has also served as the medical director of
the Spanish Catholic Center of Catholic Charities. She received her medical degree from the state university
of New York at Stony Brook. Let’s have a round of applause for all of our panelists today. (audience applauding) And now, without any further ado, John Carr, if you would
like to start us off. – Oh, great. It’s great to be here this
afternoon, what a great day. Julia has introduced us and I just wanna thank her and
Michael and their colleagues for the remarkable work. There are a lot of wonderful things that happen in Georgetown, but I think the Cardinal
O’Connor Conference is one of the most amazing. I mean, student-run,
student-led, paid for, it’s just a stunning
example of faith in action and principled leadership,
so it’s just stunning. Julia, in addition to being a leader in the Cardinal O’Connor
conference, has been a leader in our Initiative on Catholic
Social Thought and Public Life and we’re very grateful to that. Hope some of you might
have an interest in that. We do major dialogue similar
to this, we do convenings, and in particular, we reach out to young
leaders in Washington. If that describes you,
we’d like to hear from you. We’re doing something on the
29th of June in the capital about practicing civility
and pursuing the common good in a divided nation. Given the circumstances, it outta be a very interesting discussion, so if you’re interested,
please get in touch with you. I had the great honor to
work with Cardinal O’Connor. He was one of a kind,
he was larger than life. He had a passion for the poor. He defended the rights of workers, but he began with the defense of the most vulnerable
in our midst, the unborn, and he was just tenacious, and I think he would be so proud of what has gone on for almost 20 years. I’m sure you’re tired of old people telling you how inspiring it is to have so many young people. (audience laughing) Some of us used to say you are the future of the pro-life movement or you’re the future of the church or you’re the future of this nation. No, you are the pro-life movement and you’re why we’re gaining ground, so one more old person,
me, wants to say thank you for being here yesterday and today. Richard and I, we were talking, we worked together for more than 25 years at the bishops conference. I came shortly after Roe
v. Wade to Washington. I was not at the first March for Life, but I think of the 45, I’ve
probably been to about 40. What Nellie Gray created is just stunning and a tribute in every way, but I have to admit that in the beginning, I went more out of a sense of obligation, our cause was right, but to be honest, the spirit was pretty down. We seemed beleaguered in some ways and it grew and grew and grew and it mostly grew because
of young people coming and because of a sense of inclusion. What Jeanne Mancini and
her colleagues have done. The slogan used to be, I think
Richard would remember this, was No Exceptions, No Compromise which was sort of an internal
dispute within the pro-life and yesterday we marched under the banner of Love Saves Lives and everyone was welcome. And it seems to me our movement is now the inclusive movement. Our movement is the
forward-looking movement. Our movement is the movement of love, and others are left to
complain about how things are and I think we’ll see tonight,
this afternoon why that is. You know some of the facts, young people are more pro-life
and they’re less religious. Young people who care about the unborn are more engaged and active than those who are on the other side, but this movement which in
many ways for many of us, for me to do an irreligious panel, my faith is at the core
of what I do and why, without my faith I’m a
really selfish person. I really admire people who do
the right thing without faith, so I may not be the right guy, but how do we keep moving forward I think in very difficult
political circumstances, not everything was great
yesterday, at least in my mind, but how do we engage, how do we persuade in an increasingly secular environment? So, I’m gonna begin with a very general question to our panel. How does the pro-life
movement move forward or adapt to an increasingly secular world? How do we promote a commitment
to human life and dignity among both believers and non-believers? And let’s begin with Kelsey. – Thank you so much for
that lovely introduction. This may sound a little cliche, but I think in order to understand
where we’re going forward we first have to understand
where we have been and Lila made a really interesting point in her keynote this morning that abortion is not inherently a religious issue. It’s not enough to say that abortion is considered a religious issue just because Catholics
talk about it a lot. Catholics talk about any number of things, immigration, capital punishment, and yet reporters on those
issues don’t automatically think to stick it in the religion section. So, what is it about
abortion that is different? What has led abortion to be ghettoized as a religious issue exclusively? And it turns out the
answer to that question is really interesting. It was a historical tactic used by the early abortion movement. I’m willing to bet that many
of the people in this room are familiar with the
name Bernard Nathanson, but for those who are not, he was an abortion activist in the early days of that movement, in the late 60s, early 70s. He was an abortionist himself. He was an atheist and he committed many
abortions after legalization and then wound up coming over to our side thanks to ultrasound technology and decided to reveal
some interesting tidbits about the way the
abortion movement operated and what their strategy was to
get Roe v. Wade handed down. So, I’m gonna read a short quote from him. I hope you’ll forgive me
for reading it off my phone, but this is what he had to say, one of the early abortion
movement’s strategies. He said, “We systematically
vilified the Catholic church “and its socially backward ideas “and picked on the Catholic hierarchy “as the villain in opposing abortion. “This theme was played endlessly. “We fed the media such lies as, “‘We all know that opposition to abortion “comes from the hierarchy
and not most Catholics’ “and polls proved time and time again “that most Catholics
want abortion law reform “and the media drum fired all of this “into the American people, “persuading them that anyone
opposing permissive abortion “must be under the influence
of the Catholic hierarchy “and that Catholics in favor of abortion “are enlightened and forward-thinking. “An inference of this tactic was that “there were no non-Catholic
groups opposing abortion. “The fact that other Christian “and as well as non-Christian religions “were and still are
monolithically opposed to abortion “was constantly suppressed “along with pro-life atheist opinions.” That wasn’t their sole dirty trick, but it’s one that’s of
particular interest to me as a pro-life atheist whose opinions is constantly suppressed. Understanding the source of the stereotype and how we got to the point that we are, I think these changing
religious demographics and generational changes really give us an opportunity to punch a
big whole in that stereotype and take away one of the
abortion industry’s weapons. If a political conversation
relies on stereotypes it’s very easy for people
to dismiss something without giving it another thought. When we break through those stereotypes and as I say we have a great
opportunity to do so now, that’s when people actually
start having to think about it and start to really dive in and decide what is the value of an unborn child, what are we prepared to do as a society to protect those who
can’t protect themselves. – Kelsey, I read how you came
to found your organization and had to do with your fifth
visit to the March for Life and can you just share quickly that story? – Certainly, I came to the March for Life as a college student and I loved it, but I also saw far more
crucifixes and Virgin Marys than I had ever seen before in my life. As I said, I grew up in a
mainline Protestant denomination, so it was all very foreign to me, and I just thought, “Wow, an
observer who came into this “not really knowing anything about it, “would probably think that
this was a Catholic gathering,” and it just sort of
put the seed in my mind of starting an explicitly
secular organization. Relatedly, I was running a
pro-life student group on campus and it was difficult for
us to find good literature. We would have a pamphlet with really great descriptions
of prenatal development and then there’d be like that verse from Jeremiah on the back, I’m like, “Ah, you ruined it.” So, it started really as just like, “Okay, we’re gonna put a
little ragtag group together, “make our own brochures and stuff,” and it was one of those built
it and they will come things, it’s really exploded. – That’s fascinating. Doctor, on this general question, of how do we make our case in
an increasingly secular world, is a big tent pro-life movement going to alienate some of
our most faithful people or will a broader approach help us? You’re on the front lines in several ways. – Yes, great question. I do think we need a broader approach and to a certain degree, we really need to let the
science speak for itself. The good news is that we
have the science on our side. We know science shows us that a genetically unique human being comes into existence at
that moment of conception and that occurs in the
woman’s fallopian tubes and it takes seven to 10 days for that newly formed human embryo to implant into the uterine lining and at 18 days that heart starts beating. In about five to six weeks, you can begin to detect
signs of life on ultrasound and ultrasound has open
up a window into the womb, so we can see this living human being sucking its thumb, moving, acting, the science is on our side
which is why the other side is trying to suppress the science. The other side is trying
to ban ultrasounds and make that something
that we shouldn’t have, but we have to stay true to the science. The organization that I founded, although it’s not a pro-life organization, FACTS is an organization
that is rooted in the science and I spoke earlier this morning. I talked about the greatest gift that every one of us has been given, is the gift of our life. Without life, we have nothing,
but what gave us this life? And that’s the gift of our fertility, that is the gift of our ability to co-create a new human life, and the FACTS organization is dedicated to educating our medical professionals about the science of fertility and fertility awareness-based methods. The term natural family
planning is much more familiar especially among a Catholic audience, but our goal is to show it’s about much more than family planning, it’s about appreciating
the gift of fertility. Along the lines of the other
side attacking Catholics from the Catholic perspective, that happens from the birth
control perspective as well. They suppress anybody that
believes in fertility awareness or natural family planning as well, that’s just the Catholic
hierarchy, the patriarchal society when in reality when a woman and a man understands their fertility, that’s what’s truly empowering them. A pill designed to shut down
the reproductive health system, that’s controlling you,
you’re not in control. So, at FACTS, we try to speak
the truth from the science, what the science shows us about fertility and what the science shows us about the beginning of human life and through science, this
is how we can make our case, but we really need a
consistent life ethic. It’s not enough to be pro-life
from implantation to birth. We need to be pro-life from
conception or fertilization until natural death. So, as a pro-life movement, much of the focus has
been on ending abortion, but as a family physician, I chose to go into family medicine and I made the commitment and
I took the Hippocratic oath at the Temple of Aesculapius in Greece to care for people from
conception until natural death and we need to make sure
we’re following through with that consistent pro-life ethic from conception to natural death and again, the science is on our side. So, we need to lead with the
science and FACTS, we do that. Our organization is unique
in that our advisory council, some of you may be shocked by some of the people
on our advisory council because we’ve got somebody from the National
Catholic Bioethics Center and somebody on the board
of Planned Parenthood and we bring them all
together in a room and say, “We’re gonna talk about
the science of fertility “and fertility awareness-based methods,” and what we’re seeing is we’re
changing hearts and minds by leading with the science. – Thank you very much. If you haven’t seen it, there’s a remarkable
piece that was published by the Atlantic a couple
of days ago by Emma Green who is doing tremendous
journalism in this area, She’s actually a Georgetown alum, called Science is Giving the
Pro-Life Movement a Boost and you might wanna take a look at it. Mary, you have taken a
somewhat different approach. You’ve been thinking
about this a long time. I have here an article from First Things, the Zealous Faith of Secularism. While we’re dealing with
a more secularist society, you have been awfully clear about the dangers of
that society to faith, but also to fundamental values. How do we make our case
in a secular society and not end up abandoning our values? – There is a lot to worry
about in secularization, but the one thing I
don’t worry about, John, is the future of the pro-life movement and that’s for three reasons. First, there’s the fact
that the logic of Roe itself and the movement that has embraced it is so inhuman and unnatural that human reason and the human heart continue to overrule it, even quite apart from the churches. Thanks to Roe, the US has one of the most extreme abortion regimens in the world and abortion on demand
unleashes just too many things that too many people can
intuitively know are wrong. It permits gendercide for example, the fact that millions more unborn girls are killed than boys,
how feminist is that. It permits prejudice,
it licenses prejudice against people with Downs
or people with clubbed feet or people with other disabilities. It empowers the strong and predatory and again, the human heart
rebels against these things and rebellion comes in
pretty unlikely guises. How many of you have
heard Eminem’s new album which was released last month? The track River is about a male narrator expressing his regret, his
angry remorse over an abortion. I happen to be a long
time admirer of Eminem. He uses language very carefully and in that song, you
will not see the narrator talking in incoherent
excuse-making vague language about reproductive freedom. It uses the word baby, it
uses the words unborn child, and I’m not saying that this makes Eminem a poster boy for the pro-life movement, but he’s not the only example of where the popular
culture you find resistance to the idea of the blob
of tissue theology holds. So, for that reason, I think we can expect continuing rebellion again
with the aid of science from places far outside
of organized religion. And the second reason why I’m optimistic about the pro-life movement
is one that many older people don’t resonate to, but I
think many younger people do, and that is the fact
that we live in a time of increasing moral awareness about animal life, its preciousness, and its testimony to the
magnificence of creation. More and more people now realize that our fellow creatures
shouldn’t be treated as a blob of tissues either. Think of the outrage a few years ago when Cecil the lion was killed for sport or how elephants are now widely understood as stupendous creatures made for something apart from human entertainment or think of how many of us
have become mindful eaters or vegetarians or vegans out of this new respect for animal life. Well, I think that rising
moral consciousness is a great thing and in my writing, I try
sometimes to build a bridge between the people concerned
about animal welfare and the people concerned
about human animal welfare. I think a lot more of that could be done and again this is all work that can take place outside the churches. The third reason for optimism
has been there all along ever since Roe was decided and it gets more apparent
with every passing year. I thought of this a lot down at the March for Life yesterday. Everyone knows the pro-life
movement has a youthful face as John jokingly alluded
to in the opening, but there’s a deeper point
about that connection between youthfulness and abortion. If you attend rallies by the other side, you will see that they are
the reverse mirror image of the March for Life. There is no joy on the pro-choice side. There’s grim determination, steely drive, and quasi-religious fervor, but there is no youthful
energy and no happiness. If you didn’t know what
those two rallies were about, you would instinctively know
which one you wanted to go to. (audience applauding) In a minute. That contrast in the end may spell goodbye to the embrace of abortion on demand just as much as a future
Supreme Court might. In the matter of the human heart as oppose to the Constitution, there has always been something pitiable in the spectacle of
austere humorless adults, many of them barren,
instructing boisterous youth in the dictum that babies are bad. The position of those elders is unnatural and this, too, is something that even an unchurched child can spy. So, in sum, 2,000 years of moral teaching by the Catholic church do indeed explain all the reasons why life is
good and why killing is wrong, but that these truths exist
can be determined by reason including very youthful reason alone and that like life itself is a good thing. – That’s great. I’ve heard Mary before and
she’s always been eloquent, that’s the first time
I’ve ever heard her say she’s a fan of Eminem. I didn’t expect that. Richard Doerflinger and
I are great friends, allies, colleagues for many years. At the US Bishops Conference, the social justice people
and the pro-life folks shared the floor and outsiders often assume
that we were probably at each other’s throats and there were differences on occasion about priorities or tactics
or the wording of a letter or the wording of another letter, but we had more in common than
anybody else in the building. We had a shared mission. We really wanted to accomplish things and lots of people talked theoretically about a consistent life ethic, I think we’ve lived it. I told the story in the green room that when Richard and I
tag-teamed up on the hill during the Affordable Care Act, they’re incredible stories and if you have a couple of hours, I’ll be happy to share them, but one story is we were meeting with a particularly unhappy fellow and we took it on and made the case and when it was all over, he said, “I would like to meet with your boss.” He felt that we had not
been as civil and wonderful as he thought we should’ve been and Nancy Wisdo, our boss came out, and he said, what was it? He said, “A fat bald guy with
a beard pushed me too hard,” and I said, “What did you say?” And she said, “Which one?” – Well, I lost weight later. Thanks a lot. – Richard was there longer,
but I had a better title. Richard was head of? – Well, associate director of– – Associate director, I was secretary of social development and world peace. And I’ve told this story often, but I was on an elevator
and I had a name tag and they could see and a
gentleman turned to his spouse and said, “He’s in charge “of social development and world peace.” And she looked at me and said, “You need to do a better job.” Well, in fact, we need to do a better job despite the optimism we’ve described. One thing, Richard, that
always struck me about you, is you work for the religious group that Dr. Nathanson went after, but you always insisted this
is not a religious issue. I would write a letter and I’d quote the Old
Testament, choose life, and Richard would say, “This
is not the place for that. “It’s going to the Congress.” You have thought a lot
about how we make the case for human life from its
beginning to its end to a secular society based on our faith that doesn’t require the faith of others, what are some of the
lessons you’ve learned? What are some of the
things we outta remember as the society sadly, in my
mind, because more secular? – Well, I think it’s
very easy for a Catholic to make secular arguments,
that’s our tradition. Faith and reason do not
contradict each other. We embrace, we endorse
the secular sciences. We’ll take all their
findings and make use of them and then there’s additional insight that sort of puts all of
them in a different context, but you don’t always have to talk about that different context because you need to start with premises that you know your audience shares. There are times when I’ve
gone making secular arguments and it’s a member of Congress who starts talking about religion and it’s kind of interesting and they feel free to do that with someone they know is a Catholic. Once I was talking about conscience rights and this congressman said, “Well, I’m a Catholic, I go to church. “As an individual, I have faith, “but I don’t think an
institution has a conscience,” and I said, “When you go
to church every Sunday “don’t you pray with me, “‘Look not on our sins, but
on the faith of our church?'” So, then I can make a churchy argument, but the other reason is that, especially in the public policy arena that John and I worked in,
both of us for so many years, is that of course if you do say this law or this effort is based on an
entirely religious argument, it’s unconstitutional, it’s
an establishment of religion, but the Supreme Court has
been really good about that. When the Supreme Court upheld the ban on public funding of abortion and ACLU was making the argument that it was based on an establishment of the Catholic religion
because it was against abortion, and the Court said, “Look, just because “one of the ten commandments
is thou shalt not steal “that doesn’t invalidate
all the laws against larceny “and as long as you also have
a legitimate secular purpose, “that’s fine,” and they said it’s a
legitimate secular purpose in encouraging childbirth over abortion. Abortion, this is a quote. This is one of my favorite
quotes of the Supreme Court, “Abortion is inherently different “from other medical procedures “because no other procedure involves “the purposeful termination
of a potential life.” The only thing the Court got wrong was that incoherent phrase potential life which is actually unscientific, but the Court in later
years, later decisions, has actually said laws can be based on respect for unborn life. So, let’s go with that. You guys think the Roe v. Wade ’cause whatever the
Supreme Court says is fine, well, here you go. Well, here are some challenges. One is sometimes it doesn’t even matter how secular your argument is because if they know you are a believer, they will go after you on that. It’s all about identity
politics these days, it’s not about what you
say, it’s who you are. I went once to a very high level symposium on embryonic stem cell research and I knew these guys were mostly secular and I did the embryology
textbooks about the embryo and the statements even
by advisory commissions that advise pro-abortion
presidents saying, “Yes, this is human life,
we admit that,” and so on, and at the end of it all, I made this very basic ethical argument that didn’t have anything
to do with religion. At the end of it, another ethicist gets up and says, “Well, Mr. Doerflinger has
presented a very pretty facade, “but we know where he’s
really coming from.” The problem is not so much secularism as bigotry against anyone
who also has a belief and that is an enormous challenge. Congressional committees sometimes say, “Who do you wanna have testify “on this embryonic stem cell stuff?” You know, in the ethics and the science, I say, “Some of our best people, “one of them is right here in Georgetown, “Kevin Fitzgerald has a PhD
in bioethics and in genetics.” He said, “Oh, we can’t have a priest. “No matter how good a scientist he is, “they’ll just assume it’s
just Catholic science.” So, that’s an enormous challenge. You’re not going to hide
who you are or what you are, but even if you make the
best secular argument, you still may face a
kind of discrimination. Another challenge is I don’t
think that religious arguments are on the decline, I think arguments are on the decline. Bishop Aaron actually has this nice talk that he gave to the
staff at Facebook about, it’s called How to Argue About Religion, and what he meant by
that is how to achieve actually arguing about it instead of just yelling at each other and dismissing each other. That’s an enormous problem. Nowadays it’s all about emotion and it’s about this identity politics and the emotion is usually anger. And so you have to get through that in order to get to
actually making arguments. And that gets me to my final point which is the role of
faith, the role of religion may be not in presenting the arguments, but in getting you to the point where someone might listen to an argument and where you might be able
to stick around long enough to be willing to survive
and make those arguments. I’m reminded of Dr. Bernard Nathanson who turned against abortion
after 60,000 abortions. When he was still an atheist one of his favorite lines was, “Even if God doesn’t
exist, the fetus does.” And he used to tell us, “I’m
more used to use as an atheist “than if I were to become a believer.” He became a Catholic eventually anyway, not because of the teaching, he already got it right
about the moral issue. He joined the Catholic church because he needed to find
somebody who could tell him he could be forgiven. There are three things
I think faith can add, value added additions to
the pro-life argument. Particularly, I’m thinking
of the Catholic tradition, others, too, though,
is comprehensive vision of how all the issues fit together in a way that is not found
in either political party and that frees you from being beholden to coalitions and alignments that don’t make a lot of intellectual sense and that can entrap
you in being associated with issues you don’t
wanna be associated with. Secondly is a sense of
broader perspective, looking at things from the
viewpoints of eternity. The way that I stayed
working in DC on these issues for 36 years without burning
out or becoming bitter and I saw other people become bitter was I kept remembering two phrases, Mother Teresa’s, “God doesn’t
need you to be successful, “just faithful,” and the reminder that the ultimate victory over death has already been won and I’m just kinda catching up. And that put my own successes
and my failures in perspective and finally, this attitude
that everything you do is out of love and especially
love for your opponents, love for people involved in abortion, not only hate the sin,
but love the sinner, but hate the sin because
you love the sinner and you want what’s best for them. I think what was said about
the marches is correct, joy and love and eventually people say, “Wow, look at those Christians,
how they love one another, “that’s odd, maybe I should
find out more about that,” but I think that’s what
faith adds, is a perspective. It adds faith, hope, and love, and those might be more
effective than any argument. – Richard talked about
how to have an argument without having an argument, there’s one dimension that was implicit in everybody’s comment
and that was relationship and I think that’s particularly where young leaders in
the pro-life movement taught the best of us a lot. You don’t have some of the baggage, some of the wounds or the scars. I taught a seminar up at Harvard, academics brag about that stuff, how I got to Harvard, I’ll never know. We told our kids that I was
going to be a fellow at Harvard, our youngest son Tim said, “Are we talking the real Harvard?” Turns out what a fellow does
is a fellow eats and talks and Richard will tell you
I’m good at those things, but at one of our seminars,
I had a young Jewish kid who said, “I don’t like
pro-lifers, I like you, “what’s wrong with this? “Tell me, why do you believe what you do,” and I took out my phone and I
said, “I have a new grandson. “I have a picture of him, he
has a name, he has a room. “We know his sex. “He has clothes. “He has godparents. “The only thing he doesn’t have “is the right to be born in this country,” and I showed him a
picture of the sonogram. Getting to the doctor’s
point about science and he said, “I never
thought about it that way,” but the most important
part of that conversation was, “I like you,” the
relationship matters. Richard also talked about politics, how we get trapped in the
places we don’t wanna go. We’ve been talking about
the cultural context, I’m gonna talk for a minute
about the political context and as you can imagine, there
might be two questions here. Yesterday, for the first time, the president of the United
States addressed the march. Some people thought
that was just wonderful, about time, look at what he’s done. Other people were very unhappy. It was the same day he had rejected an agreement that would’ve
given legal status to DREAMers. We’re reading headlines
about payoffs to porn stars. What does it mean to stand
up for what we believe in a republican party led by Donald Trump? Let’s focus on that and then I’m gonna ask a question about a democratic party
that is increasingly secular. And I know there are a variety of views, I hope there are a variety of views. Kelsey, I’ve heard you talk
a little bit about that, why don’t we start with you? – Yes, you have. I am not a fan of our commander-in-chief and that’s not really a secret and probably not surprising
to anybody in this room. I think other presidents have
addressed the March for Life, but through prerecorded messages. I think he was supposed to do it live. Okay, by phone. He was the first video livestream, high-tech, there at the March for Life, and it terrified me that
he was gonna be live. It wound up not being as disastrous as I thought it would be in my nightmares. It’s a real weight around
the pro-life movement’s neck to have someone who clearly
sees women as sexual objects which is pretty starkly against
our values as a movement, but of course, Hillary
Clinton would have posed extreme problems for our, particularly, you mentioned earlier, the issue for public funding for abortion. I have friends who are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment which is the prohibition
on that public funding. Hillary Clinton expressed
her desire to repeal that, so I was really faced
with an impossible choice and I know a lot of people were. When you’re faced with
a dilemma like that, I can’t judge somebody
who voted for Clinton and I can’t judge somebody
who voted for Trump because I know it was not, I mean, really in a nation
of over 300 million people, I can’t believe those were
the two best candidates we could come up with. Wow, thank you all. I think the real lesson here may be that we needed to get
involved a lot sooner, that we needed to be involved
in the primary process more than we were. If you’re interested and willing to take on
all the burdens of it, maybe consider running
for office yourselves. Taking more control over the situation because the fall of 2016 saw us in a situation that was
just out of control. – Doctor, you’re involved not only in our movement in science, you’re on the front lines. You were a leader in the
Spanish Catholic Center which provides essential
healthcare to immigrants, what’s your take on the relationship of the pro-life movement
to a part led by this man? – It is a great question to address and all I have to say
is one of the benefits of living in Washington DC, as much as I’m a fan of
the democratic process, really my vote didn’t matter
which way I chose to vote, but as it was, as Kelsey pointed out, a very, very difficult decision. I will say first and foremost, we’re all sinners and I really work very hard
not to judge other people, although there’s a lot that could be said about our current commander-in-chief. What I give thanks for is that in the administration he’s put together and the people he’s chosen
to surround himself with, that has given me confidence that the right people
are being put in place to help move our cause forward and I think that that highlights that this isn’t about any one individual, this is a movement, it
is a much greater cause than just the president. And the fact is that he
has, through his actions, through the administrations put together, I think it has helped
the pro-life movement, but I wouldn’t necessarily
give him the credit. It’s much bigger than
him as an individual. He may not like to think about it ’cause he likes to think
it is all about him as narcicisstic as he is, but I think I take comfort in the fact that he’s put together
a strong administration. I mean, for the first time ever, I mean, the Title X Family Planning Office is about providing funding
for family planning options. Fertility awareness-based methods is a family planning
option, it is not offered. I’m actually gonna be
testifying in a couple of weeks on legislation in the state of
Maryland for health insurance to fund fertility awareness-based methods. This should be a part of the
Title X Family Planning Office and there was somebody in place that was actually working towards that and reaching out to me and saying, “Hey, how can you help us train “doctors about these methods,” and I thought, “Finally,
it’s not just about “becoming a drug dispensary
for the birth control pill “through the Title X
Family Planning Office.” There are actually people in place that are looking towards
bringing real authentic truly female empowering
healthcare options. The administration is what it is, President Trump is who he is, I just take comfort in the fact, in that the movement is so
much larger than the president and will continue to grow in strength regardless of who he is. – Mary and Richard,
obviously in the short term, some bad things are not happening and some important things are, what are the longer term implications of this identification? – Gee, I hope they’re minimal. Do you wanna start first? It is a problem that because
of the president’s rudeness and personal characteristics and so on, there’s a danger he discredits
even the good issues that he associates himself with. I think that’s a challenge to us to identify those issues with other people and to make it clear that when he does something good, it’s because he finally
listened to somebody who is very decent and good
and was pushing him into it. I do think that the
polarization is such now that it is radicalizing both parties. I was ashamed yesterday
when I found that only, I’m a pro-life democrat and I was ashamed that only
six democrats in the House voted for a bill to make
sure that you can get care for a child who’s already born alive, a constitutional person who was born because of that abortion and the leader of the pro-life
democrats in the House being targeted by other democrats for being killed off in his primary next time he’s up for reelection. It’s now a poison that is in both parties. But it gives groups like
the pro-life groups, the bishops conference, an
enormous opportunity, too, because we’ll work with anybody if they’ll agree with us on
pressing forward with an issue. We had Orrin Hatch and Ted
Kennedy co-sponsor a bill to provide more support and care and more positive counseling for parents who expect a child with Down syndrome. When I first came on board
at the bishops conference, the director of government
relations was Jim Robinson. Remember Jim Robinson? Between drags on his cigarette, initiating me by saying, “Richard, our police
is no permanent friends “and no permanent enemies,” and after a couple of months on the job, I said, “The first one’s working.” – On that note, we’ll turn to Mary. – Just two quick points. One, I signed, although I’m not
much of a political activist being a lowly writer type, but I did sign what I think was the very first Never Trump letter which gives me street cred
to offer the following. I don’t think as Christians
we should rule out the possibility that he changed his mind somewhere on this issues as many other people have had occasion to change their minds on this issue. And then the second thing is of the three arguments I made initially for optimism about the
pro-life movement itself, I don’t think that this
current commander-in-chief or any commander-in-chief
will be the fulcrum on which any of those arguments turn, so in that sense, I’m unconcerned. – On a panel that is
irreligious and secular, it may be that Trump is an
irreligious and secular man who for whatever reason was
converted on this issue, I worry a lot about the long term damage, I know I’m not a panelist. On the year of the 25th anniversary of the march on Washington
that Dr. Martin Luther King, we in the Archdiocese of Washington decided we were gonna make a big effort around the march on Washington
and the March for Life, particularly in involving
African-American parishes and getting white folks to
come to the march on Washington and black folks to come
to the March on Life and it was terrific, it
was a great experience. We had a special mass at,
what’s the one, St. Patrick’s. We marched down to the march. The march is a lot of things, it isn’t nearly as diverse
enough as it needs to be, but there we were. We arrived at quite precisely the moment that the crowd was
chanting, “Run, Jesse, Run.” And it was not Jesse
Jackson, it was Jesse Helms. At that was not the Jesse Helms at the end of his career when he was working on AIDS patients, it was Jesse Helms who was still very much characterized
by racial intolerance and there were people who never again were gonna be part of any pro-life thing, so these associations can hurt. Talking about associations,
the democratic party, in many ways, in my
judgment, have lost power because it’s lost its
pro-life members of Congress, but is somebody said even
more polarized than ever. Used to be safe, legal,
and rare, can’t say rare. Can’t say unfortunate. You have a democratic party chairman who, they used to lecture us about
you can’t be single issue, well, this is a single issue. What do we do to try and keep our movement from being used in a partisan way when an increasingly
secular democratic party seems to barely tolerate
a discussion of this? Let’s go down the row again. – Starting with me? It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next few years because clearly there is
a major internal fight within the democratic party about whether or not to
basically excommunicate all of the pro-life
democrats from the party, I think they do so at their peril. As we began this conversation with the trendlines are in our favor in terms of the demography, they’re taking a big risk I think particularly in states
that lean more pro-life. I’m very jealous of the
pro-life movement in Louisiana which seems to have
wonderful robust bipartisan stage going on. I wish I had the magic solution,
I don’t, clearly I don’t, but I think that if you are a democrat, the party needs to hear from you. We can’t afford to just curl up in a ball and say, “Oh, it’s
politics, that’s too bad.” the only way to solve it is to speak. – Other comments, doctor? Mary, Richard? – Well, one thing, taking
off from what Mary said about street cred, that’s one thing the churches have on care for the poor, the disenfranchised, the marginalized. The democrats have to recognize that you have this enormous
community of caring. The Catholic Church is very
prominent in it, others too, there are all these studies showing that, for example, that religiously
affiliated hospitals provide better care at lower cost than secular hospitals, public hospitals. Same is true of helping
victims of human trafficking and yet the Catholic
Migration and Refugee Services got kicked out of a major grant on that because they wouldn’t
do abortion referrals, so at some point, some
democrats may realize that they’re choosing between
the best possible care for the people they claim
to care the most about and this obsession with abortion and I would hope that we would constantly press them on that. Do you really want to throw out not only the baby with the bathwater, but the poor with the bathwater and the people who can get
all these wonderful services by saying that nobody’s
allowed to be pro-life. – I’m sorry. – Go ahead. – I think one thing that’s needed is for the democratic party to walk
away from a number of things and abortion absolutism
isn’t the only one. There’s also the fact that the
progressive wing of the party is responsible for attacks on Christian and other religious charities
and these are manifold. I’m talking about attacks
by the state of California for example trying to shut down every emergency pregnancy center, places where women can
get diapers and sonograms and advice and material aid and all of this hurting of the poor is being done in the name
of progressive ideology. So, what’s needed is for a new generation of democratic leaders to grow a spine and to say no to that, no to abortion, no to the stigmatization of Christianity, and no to pornography money because the alignment between Hollywood and democratic fortunes is very strong. Hillary Clinton had huge
fundraisers in Hollywood, pornography money does not to my knowledge flow into the republican party. What’s needed are
leaders who are democrats who can say no to those things because I think people like
that could get a real hearing. – So, what I was gonna mention is in addition to the issue of abortion, democrats tout themselves as
they are the party of women, they are for the feminists, but the reality is there’s a
whole new wave of feminists rising up that recognize destroying the life within us
does not make us better women, shutting down our
reproductive health system is not what empower us, what empowers us is embracing… Embracing our god-given gifts as women, our ability to procreate,
to gestate, to lactate, to nurture and raise children and by focusing on abortion, they’re gonna lose so many women who see themselves as feminists, but realize to be a feminist, does that mean I need
to be just like a man? That’s not what makes us unique and strong and powerful as women, it’s how we’ve been created as women and so I think the democratic
party does need a reawakening and as Mary said their
leadership needs to grow a spine. Certainly working with the
immigrant population as I did as the head of the Catholic
Charities Health Centers, it was about caring for the
poor and the underserved, that’s very much a democratic issue, but they’ve lost focus on that. I testified against the HHS mandate before it was the HHS mandate and my boss said, “Well,
that’s not important to us “for our health center,” and I thought, “They could shut us down “because as a Catholic health center, “we’re not gonna dispense birth control “like it’s a pez candy.” If they’re gonna shut us down, so I can’t care for my diabetics who have high blood
pressure and heart disease because I’m not gonna
hand out birth control to every woman that walks in the door, it’s very discriminatory
against a larger population because they’re so narrowly-focused
on the abortion issue. – It seems to me as an observer here, there’s a shortage of spine
throughout Washington. I talked about Martin Luther King. One of the great things about
yesterday’s march and mass was to hear Cardinal Dolan
talked about Dr. King and that his dream and our dream, and a young woman from Alabama
whose name I don’t know from Montgomery talked about
Rosa Parks and whatever. When a president says there
are good people on both sides, we need people to stand up and say no and we need people in
the pro-life movement to stand up and say no. I come from a bipartisan political family, both my parents are Catholics, but my mother’s from St. Paul and my dad from Minneapolis, big deal. My republican mother started the pro-life pregnancy
center in our hometown, very conservative woman. Food stamps, WIC, and Medicaid were not the sources of
all evil in our town, they were lifelines for
the babies we tried to help and the mothers we tried to help and so we got democrats
in their cul-de-sac, we got republicans who give us
lip service and some policy, but we’re not where we wanna be. Sometimes we describe
that as homelessness. I have two thoughts on that
and then I’ll ask a question. One is if you’re homeless,
you need to build a shelter. We need to build a sanity
caucus in both parties that will stand up for
human life and dignity and secondly, when I was young, I wanted to either be a priest or senator and I fell in love, that took
care of the priest thing, although, some of you outta
become priests or sisters, and I ran for office, state
legislature, and I lost, and that took care of the senator thing. Each of you outta think about running. There are worst things than standing up for what you believe, running for office. I lost, you might win. I’m checking on time here. Let me ask one quick question
and then we’ll turn to you. There’s people in
streets all over America, women especially, part of the impetus for
that is the Me Too movement. What is the overlap between
what doctor was talking about and the Me Too movement? Women who have been treated badly in a society that essentially says, “We have the solution for
you and that’s abortion,” is there an overlap? – That’s a good question. I think definitely, when you look at who has been accused credibly of sexual assault and harassment, you do have some conservatives
and some liberals and some abortion donors, people who are very much
entrenched in that sort of, we were saying earlier
the Hollywood fortunes, so will that ultimately result in maybe more skepticism toward people who are funding the abortion industry, perhaps more sort of connecting those dots that these abortion
centers are being funded by people with really
sketchy sexual histories and oh, look, now they’re
turning a blind eye to sexual abuse when people
come into the clinic. I would love to see
those dots be connected, but as you said, when we’re tied to Trump, that becomes more difficult. – Mary, you’ve thought about this. – A little. I have said to my husband
Nick several times, just when you think God’s
not paying any attention to the way we’re slugging
it out down here, come something like the
Harvey Weinstein scandals because that is how perfectly
those unfolding scandals prove so much that’s true, so much that’s been ignored and denigrated in a secularizing world, those scandals could not have happened on the scale that they happened without abortion on demand
as an implied backup and without the idea that
women are available 24/7, so in a way that was a gift that we are only beginning
to exploit I think. – Geez, Harvey Weinstein is a
gift and Eminem is a teacher. – I think it goes back to the nature of the sexual relationship, right? I mean, our society teach sex
as a recreational activity. The sexual relationship,
the marital relationship is the greatest gift that we’ve given ’cause it allows us to
join with one another to potentially create a new human being. We have completely separated this out and this year marks the 50th
anniversary of Humanae vitae which I know, although
I wasn’t around then, I wasn’t alive then, I
know created a major schism within the Catholic church, with Pope Paul VI
teaching’s on birth control. Humanae vitae is one of
the shortest encyclicals that is out there and if you have not read it, I would encourage you to read it and it will frighten you how prophetic this old white guy was about the freedom quote unquote that birth
control would allow, what that would lead
to, and the destruction. Everything that that man predicted in Humanae vitae has come
true and it is frightening and what we need to do
is we need to restore the value and the sanctity and the beauty of that sexual relationship. It’s not a game or an activity
or a recreational thing to be had at will by men
whenever they want it. And through fertility
awareness-based methods and natural family planning, the research has shown over and over again that couples who use those methods develop a healthy respect
and a greater respect for the dignity of the person with whom they’re in relationship. It all gets back to relationship and valuing the sacredness
of the human relationship. – We have a few minutes for questions. There’s a microphone in
the middle of the program, middle of the auditorium there. If you could come forward,
identify yourself, and please put your question
in the form of a question. – What’s the directionality on that? Is it a matter of… – Okay. We have trouble seeing up
here ’cause of the spotlight, so go ahead. – [Boy] Hello, thank you for coming. Mr. Doerflinger, I really appreciate what you said about identity politics. I think it’s becoming
really prevalent today with intersectionality and all this stuff that somehow I’m the oppressor because of my gender and my race, I’m somehow the oppressor in society, how should we approach
this in the secular word? How should we approach
dealing with these issues of identity politics? – I identify as a child of
God and that’s all I need, but I’m not really sure ’cause it’s– (audience clapping) For example, what Marguerite
was just talking about in terms of the real problem here is this distorted notion
of what sex is for, that it’s for recreation
and exploitation of others for your own enjoyment, but I’m afraid of that turning into yet another identity politics issue where the Me Too movement becomes empower women and denigrate men in general and it’s not about just men in general, most men are heterosexual
so they exploit women. George Takei and Kevin Spacey are gay, so they were oppressing men apparently and there are female teachers who are oppressing their
minor male students and seducing them, so
it’s across the board a distorted notion of sex, but the Me Too movement and its rise is now in my home state, my adopted home state of Washington, be giving rise to an agenda
of pro-woman legislation which will include a mandate requiring every man, woman, and
child in Washington state to buy abortion coverage
whether they want it or not. There are dangers in letting a real issue, a real very serious issue become just another identity politics where this person is up
and this person is down and I think we just have
to call attention to that and say this is not productive. This just divides the society further and it puts some people in
the ascended seat temporarily, puts other people down, neither one of them is gonna be willing to work with the other and so you never get a solution. The question is how are we
gonna solve the real problem and saying what’s your identity
is not gonna solve that, what’s gonna solve that is figuring out what the deeper issue is
and then working on it, and maybe we can convince a few
people that that’s the case. – Mary? – I think we need to understand some of where identity
politics is coming from and have compassion about it and I speak as a detractor
of identity politics, but I think what’s happened
is that the sexual revolution has so upended the world
that people don’t have, in many cases, the primal
attachments they used to have. They don’t identify as son, cousin, boyfriend, brother, father, they identify with a group
because the home front has been so ruptured for so many people that they can’t get a
grappling hook into it and so that’s why there’s this passion to find the right group. Again, getting back to
the Weinstein scandal, just to clear my name, so I don’t go down in history for praising Harvey Weinstein as you said. – No, oh, no, no. We understood. – In what kind of world
could those scandals happen with the Me Too movement, in what kind of world could that happen? It’s happening in a
world where a lot of men don’t know what it is to be a protector because they don’t have a wife,
they don’t have daughters. A lot of women don’t know what it’s like to know men as protectors because they think of them as predators because they don’t have a
father or cousins or a brother. I mean, the way the sexual
revolution has shrunk the family as well as upended it is what’s going on at the subterranean level here and I think we have to really have fellow feeling about that. We’re gonna move on to the next question. – Oh, I– – No, I’m sorry. – There’s two sides. I don’t think identity
politics is all bad. Prior to the march yesterday, we had a gathering with a few speakers, one of whom happened to
touch on identity politics and she was saying, “When I talk about “the fact that I come from this background “and I’m this ethnicity,
that’s information for you, “so that you can understand
how I view the world,” and I think it’s important
to have that information and be able to freely
share that information, so that people don’t just
have these hidden assumptions and then you wind up in a debate and everything is falling flat. If I came onto the stage and all of you just assumed
that I was Catholic, this would’ve been a
really weird conversation. I think identity politics,
it’s gotten a bad name, but it has at least contributed a greater openness to acknowledging differences in perspective and hopefully that can be a good bases for going forward in a civil manner rather than just a club to wield that, “Your life was better than mine, “so you don’t get to say anything.” I don’t think that we have
to go to that extreme, that identity politics does
have something to offer us. – Well, and discrimination is real. – Yes, yes, discrimination
is real, to be clear. – If you’re a DREAMer, you’re at risk. If the people who put in the floor in our home the other day, if temporary protected status goes away, so do they and their families. So, I don’t know if that’s
identity politics or reality, but we can find a balance
somewhere, next question. – [Connor] Well, thank you
for receiving my question. My name is Connor Cummings. I am a student at SUNY Potsdam and the thing I’d like to
kinda ask you guys about is Martin Luther King. There seems to be a lot of divisiveness between pro-choice and pro-life people regarding what his
views would probably be. Some people look at the
Margaret Sanger Award that he received, but pro-lifers sometimes look at how Margaret Sanger might’ve
been racist or antisemitic as well as his religious views that would probably
lead him to be pro-life, what are your opinions on him and what stance he might’ve taken today, if he were alive today? – I might take that. I had the great honor of working for Dr. King’s widow Coretta
Scott King for several years and to be honest, I don’t know where she would’ve come down in that. Very much identified with
progressive politics, deeply religious, the family. I’ll be honest, here’s one where money, we outta worry a lot about
campaign finance reform. The pro-choice movement invested heavily in African-American and
Latino organizations and we have not. And the way things work is
they get at least a hearing and in some cases they get a vote and so increasingly the
civil rights community has been defining
reproductive rights as a right I would like to think
that Coretta and Martin would’ve resisted that, but it would’ve taken a lot. For me, the test of this, imagine that the Supreme Court took a major step against abortion rights, what would happen on the left? What would happen in the democratic party? The Supreme Court gutted
the Voting Rights Act a year and a half ago, what has happened? Where is that as a priority
on the left in the Congress? Anybody shutting down
the government for that? So, I think we can take our
inspiration for Dr. King, his deep faith, and his
ability to put those values in a way that reached everybody, and the idea of nonviolence
and a beloved community that includes the unborn child
is a great metaphor for us. I think the other
metaphor that works for us is Pope Francis warning
against the throwaway society. So, I don’t think we can claim
for sure where Dr. King was, but we can say our
understanding of his dream includes the unborn child. – [Connor] Thank you. – Okay, next question. – [Mike] My name is Mike
and I have a question about a statement that
was proclaimed earlier. I believe it was said that more females are aborted than males and I’m curious, why is that? Is there a biological reasons,
just more females in the womb or is it like something
to do with culture? I’m just really curious about that. – It is cultural and I think she was, I think it was you who said it. There’s some evidence of it
happening in the United States, but relatively little, it’s
mostly internationally, particularly in India and China where there’s a strong
cultural preference for sons. Particularly in China, during the period of the one child policy which
has been somewhat relaxed, but still a massive
human rights violation, that if a family is told,
“You can only have one child,” they want to carry on the family name, they wanna have a son, and as a result, girls
are selectively aborted. – We’re gonna ask the last three people and we’ll finally have
gotten to a young woman. If you could ask each of your questions and then I’ll ask the panel to respond to one or all of them. – [Dylan] Okay, I’m Dylan
from the University of Dayton, I have questions directed
mainly toward Ms. Hazzard. So, we kinda ended our whole discussion around like the primary root for us being the sexual revolution
and our sex culture in general and I wonder how you sort
of see these arguments coming from a secular sense, that is the root of our problem and like how abortion
is the way it is today. How do you see those arguments
and how do you take them and use them in your own
towards more secular? – That’s a great question, thank you. – Okay, I’m gonna let the other two and then you’ll respond. Come ahead and give us our question. – [Man] So, my question is, so I was not a fan of the president during the primaries, I
worked hard against him, but I was shocked at how
pro-life he has become and all the accomplishments he’s done and Neil Gorsuch and all the
judges that he’s appointed and all the pro-life policies, I mean, he’s probably the
most pro-life president that we’ve ever had and so it just shocks me to
come to this pro-life conference and instead of talking
about those accomplishments, there’s a bunch of
Trump-bashing on the panel, especially after eight years of a radical pro-abortion administration, completely anti-religious liberty, now we have religious
liberty, we have pro-life, and I hear bashing at
a pro-life conference, and so my question is just
kind of to the organizers, can’t we get some diversity on the panel, so we can talk about the accomplishments of this administration? Thank you. – You got to the question and Mary clearly talked about
her skepticism beforehand and her appreciation
for the accomplishments of this administration as did doctor, I think you need to listen. Question. – [Victoria] Hi, my
name is Victoria Caruse and I’m from the University of Dayton. I know we touched light on it when you talked about pornography, but what would you all have to say about pornography’s effect on our pro-life message and mission? – Okay, so I think you
might have something to say on the first question. – From my point of view,
it seems to me that there was never a time when human rights of children in particular were
universally always honored. You can look back into ancient cultures and see unwanted children being
killed through infanticide where today they might be
killed through abortion, it’s simply a matter
of improved technology, if you can call it that, so I don’t know that the
problem really arose in the 60s. I think that the core
issue is simply selfishness and putting your own immediate needs over those of a helpless child or in many cases women being coerced into these kinds of situations, whether that’s an individual
partner pushing for it or broader economic circumstances leading women to think that
abortion is their only option, so that’s what I generally see
as the root of the problem, that being said, I do think that fertility awareness-based
methods have a lot to offer for secular people. I’m certainly in favor of
not having the side effects of hormonal contraception and whatever we can do to give women more understanding of their
own bodies and healthcare is good in my book. – I think Kelsey is right that the lack of respect for
the human life of the child extends back centuries and I think to a certain degree the sexual revolution almost
poured gasoline on the fire by exploiting the idea of risk-free sex. I wanna address the second speaker, I think I felt similar to your thoughts when you were speaking about working against Trump during the primaries and having very, very low expectations and I would agree, I have
been pleasantly surprised by how much he has done
for the pro-life movement and I am very grateful for that. For me as a mother with
four small children, it makes it really hard
sometimes to talk about looking at him as a moral leader. There was a difference with
the former president Obama, I mean, I thought his
policies were abhorrent, what he did to the Little
Sisters of the Poor, what he could’ve done to
us at Catholic Charities, what he did do to us
at Catholic Charities. I mean, we had to stop offering adoption services in Washington DC because of the policies of
the previous administration, but I could at least comment a little, he seemed to have good morals and seemed to be a good father, so it’s kind of ironic,
I mean, the catch-22, I mean, in terms of their
respect or lack of respect for life and for being a role model, but I do hear your point
and I think it was well-made and I would say that I don’t think that you are alone out
there with people that may not appreciate who he
is and the role model he is, but do very much value and appreciate what he has done for the pro-life cause. – Any comment? – I only said he was crude not
that his policies were bad, though I disagree with his
policies on immigration. I don’t like his use of obscenities, just like I didn’t like
the Clintons acting them. I just wanna make a Me Too
about secular arguments and sexual revolution. Our former colleague Helen Alvare has done some wonderful writing about what she calls the immiseration of women and she’s one of the people who can always make me
go to the dictionary, it just means making women more miserable rom the sexual revolution. She has study after study after study about the mentality created
by the sexual revolution has really made things
much worse for women and especially in what’s
called the marriage market because any woman who isn’t
looking for a permanent spouse is now pressured to
engage in sexual activity before marriage that she may not want because otherwise, men who
are, at least at first, are basically looking for sex, just turn aside and go to the
women who will give them that, so I would recommend her
writings on that, too, because she’s done a lot of research on how just from a purely
secular point of view, this is bad for people and
especially bad for women. – Can I comment on the last
question about pornography, and forgive me if I don’t
remember the exact nature, the exact statement of your question, but how has pornography
affected this movement? Pornography is a very real issue because what happens with pornography, in viewing these erotic images, it actually changes the
brain chemistry of men. It’s like a drug, such that they require
higher and higher doses of the drug, of the visual stimulation, of the physical stimulation, so if they’re addicted to
pornography and it is an addiction or it can become an addiction, that will absolutely
affect the relationship. For the men and women,
it’s not just a male issue, women can become addicted
to pornography, too, and it can be very
degrading and debilitating. It’s a real issue that we
have to get at its core. I don’t let my 11 year old have an iPad unless he is in a public place and I have every parent
tracker thing on the iPad and still he was looking
up something for school and he came out like shaking like, “Mom, I just saw something,”
and I was like, “Ugh.” And thankfully we have a relationship that he could share it with me and I can help him process that, but for so many kids, they’re
exposed to pornography at younger and younger ages and they don’t have a
way to talk about it. So, we need to make
sure we’re addressing it and talking about it and again, it’s about
respecting the dignity of the human person, not
just the unborn person, but the person that is in
this pornographic image that you’re viewing and we need to pray for these people. Or not. I wanna be inclusive. We need to make sure we’re– – We need to support them. – We need to support
them and encourage them to choose a better path, to respect their own
dignity as human beings, so it’s a very real issue
that we need to make sure that we’re not ignoring, so
thank you for that question. – I also wanna thank you for modeling the behavior of our inclusive movement. You’ve done a lot of work in this area. – I was trying to think
of saying something about the light side of pornography and nothing was coming through, but then I remembered a story, so I just wanna answer that
question by way of a story. – A few years ago– – It’s gonna be okay, isn’t it? I mean, we’re on tape. – It’s okay. A few years ago, I was talking
to a couple of young women who were college students, both progressive, neither religious, and I was asking them about
their secular colleges and they both said, “The
biggest problem out there “is pornography because we never know “when we go out with a
guy whether he’s seen it, “what’s the last time he saw it, “what’s the last thing he saw, et cetera,” and so I said flippantly, “Too bad you can’t make a
T-shirt that says porn-free boy,” and hand it out to people who deserve it and I thought it was funny, they didn’t think it was funny at all, and one of these young women said, “If they could do that on my campus, “a boy like that would have “every girl following him around,” students take notes. – What’s your position
on lie detector tests? – They’re not scientifically rigorous. – In order to bring this to a close, it’s been a wonderful conversation, I have asked each of our
panelists to provide a tweet, the pope tweets, the president
tweets, some of us tweet. My colleagues and my family
don’t allow me to tweet, but I have a tweet, so whether it’s actually
140 or 280 characters, but give us a short
succinct piece of advice for these remarkable young
leaders of the pro-life cause. Begin with. – I wrote, “The pro-life movement “has great reasons for hope. “The trendlines are moving
in the right direction “and I would not want to be
Cecile Richards right now, “but that is not an invitation to letup.” – Hear, hear. – I’ll go last. I’ll go last. – Mary. – Can I have two? I have two. I have two. – All right. – To repeat one said before, if you attended both pro-life
and pro-abortion marches without knowing which was which, you would still know instinctively which one you wanted to join. – That’s a great one, #MaryKnowsBest. – And the other, this is for
Julia and fellow travelers, no one would support the abortion
of giraffes or elephants, no one should support the
abortion of human animals either. Thanks. – I didn’t write that out. – This is one of the favorite
things I’ve ever done, Richard in 280 characters. – You can make the pro-life argument simply from biological reality and the basic idea of what it means to have inherent human rights, rights that belong to you simply because you’re a
member of the human family. I think what is important to add to that, it doesn’t have to be a religious faith– – Dot dot dot. – Vision of faith that lines up the issues and a view of the world, hope for the future that
doesn’t let you get down, and approaching everything in love. – Hear, hear. – So, I tweet, but only on my phone, so coming up with a tweet without my phone is a little bit difficult, but I would say remember
the two greatest gifts that you’ve been given, the gift of life and the gift of your
ability to create life. Educate yourself. Understand and grow in
appreciation for those gifts and share that information
and knowledge with others. – Before I give you my tweet, join me in thanking this wonderful panel. And join me in thanking
the wonderful students at Georgetown led by Michael and Julia. And now my tweet. We are called to be
political not partisan, principled not ideological,
civil not soft, engaged not used dot dot dot, we should strive to persuade not condemn, invite not exclude, win hearts not wars, be salt, light, and leaven for all life, every life, #lovesaveslives. Thank you. – Thank you so much to
all of our panelists. If we could just give them
one more round of applause. And Michael and I could think of no one better equip to moderate this panel than Georgetown’s own John Carr. We’re so grateful that
he could be here today, so thank you again. – Good afternoon. My name is Melvin Thomas
and I serve on the board as the director of the Mass for Life. I wanna thank you all
so much for attending the 19th annual Cardinal
O’Connor Conference on Life. However, the days events are not over yet. Please join us at 5 PM in Dahlgren Chapel for the Mass for life
which will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Leonard Paul Blair, the archbishop of Hartford. You can get to Dahlgren
behind this building by leaving from the first floor and walking through the courtyard. Also, before you leave, please be sure to pick
up any of your belongings from the first floor by
the registration tables. Before we close in prayer, I would like to recognize two people without whom this event
would not have been anywhere near as amazing as it has been. For 11 months, our two
conference co-directors, Michael Kahn and Julia Greenwood have put on so much responsibility,
have worked so hard, and have spent so much
time making this conference bigger and better than ever before from keeping our board meetings on track to finding all of our amazing speakers, from Julia’s incredible
artistic creativity that went into our flyers,
our programs, our banners, to Michael’s crazy, incomprehensible
accounting procedures that made our conference stay on budget, they’ve truly really outdone themselves. Any statements of gratitude or praise are doomed to be understatements, but I think I speak for the whole board and all the attendees
when I say thank you, thank you for all of your
hard work, your sacrifices, your innovation, and your
passion for the pro-life cause. And now I would like to ask
them to come to the stage to receive a small token of
our gratitude from the board. (audience clapping) – Well, while we’re doing this though, I just wanna make a
special acknowledgement of this guy here, Melvin Thomas, who served on the conference
board for four years. This is only my second year, so he has the most
experience of all of us, so we’re so thankful for you, Melvin. – At this point, we would like to make a
special acknowledgement of the Sisters for Life who spoke during the breakout sessions and are with us in attendance today. Founded by John Cardinal O’Connor in 1991, the Sisters of Life take
a special fourth vow to protect and promote a sense
of sacredness of human life. Their missions include caring
for vulnerable pregnant women and their unborn children, inviting those wounded by
abortion to the mercy of Christ, and fostering a culture of
life through evangelization. We are honored that they are
able to join us each year at our conference which strives to live up to Cardinal O’Connor’s motto that there can be no love without justice. It is now my distinct pleasure to welcome Sister Jordan Rose of the Sisters of Life to the stage to close our conference in prayer. – Thank you. In gratitude for the gift
of this day, let us pray. In the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, amen. Loving father, lord of life, we thank you for creating
every person as a wonder. Open our eyes to see life
and its deeper meaning, our hearts to receive
its utter gratuitousness, its beauty, and its invitation to freedom and responsibility. Grant us an outlook which does not presume to take possession of reality, but instead receives it as a gift, discovering in all things
the reflection of you, our creator, and seeing in
every person, your living image. Grant us courage when confronted
by sickness or suffering in our lives and in the
lives of those we know. Send your spirit of truth into our hearts that we may find meaning
in these circumstances, perceiving in the face of every person a call to encounter
dialogue and solidarity. Grant us great trust
in your merciful love, that we may know ourselves
and every person, weak or strong, healthy or sick, to be chosen by you, wonderfully made, and a gift to this world. As we go forth from here today, keep your light of life
aflame in our hearts that we may radiate the truth
of the goodness and dignity of every person in our
schools, our workplaces, our families, our communities. Strengthen us in the hope that with you nothing is impossible. We ask al this in the holy
and saving name of Jesus who by his cross makes
all things new, amen. – [Audience] Amen. – In the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, thank you.

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