Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life

The largest collegiate pro-life conference in the nation

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Our Twentieth Annual Conference

Theme: “Pro-Life Priorities: Advancing a Culture of Life”

[SOLD OUT]

We have sold out tickets for our 2019 Conference. If you are interested in attending, please add yourself to our waitlist HERE.

Special guest Speaker

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Serrin foster

Speaking on: “End the Feminization of Poverty that Drives women to abortion!”

Feminists for Life President Serrin M. Foster is the creator of the Women Deserve Better® campaign. Her landmark speech, “The Feminist Case Against Abortion,” has been recognized as one of the “great speeches in history” in an anthology called Women’s Rights. She has focused on developing on-campus resources and support for underserved pregnant and parenting students and is an outspoken opponent of pregnancy discrimination.

Serrin has led Feminists for Life since 1994. Under her leadership, FFL successfully advocated benefits for poor and pregnant women through the State Child Health Insurance Program, worked in coalition with other women’s organizations to defeat the mandatory “family cap” and other punitive child exclusion provisions in welfare reform, and helped to prevent poverty and coerced abortions due to threats to withhold child support through passage of the Enhanced Child Support Act. Serrin also served on the National Taskforce Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, which worked to pass the Violence Against Women Act, and she also testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in support of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as “Laci and Conner’s Law.”

In January 1997, Serrin moderated the first-ever FFL Pregnancy Resource Forum at Georgetown University, which became a model for the country and in 2010 became the basis for Pregnancy Assistance Fund grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Serrin’s efforts earned her an honorary doctorate from Belmont Abbey College in 2008. Today, Serrin serves as editor-in-chief of The American Feminist and FFL’s resource website, WomenDeserveBetter.com.

Breakout Session Speakers

Archbishop Anthony Fisher

Archbishop Anthony fisher, OP

Speaking on: “Choosing Life for the Dying”

Born in Sydney in 1960, Archbishop Fisher received degrees in history and law from the University of Sydney, and practised law for a year at Clayton Utz, before joining the Dominican Order in 1985, and became a priest in 1991. Since then he has achieved a Doctorate from Oxford, lectured at several universities including the Australian Catholic University, the University of Notre Dame Australia, and the John-Paul II Institute in Melbourne, Australia, where he was also founding Director. During this time he was also Master of Students (seminarians) in the Dominican Order and Socius (deputy) to the Provincial. His community involvements included being Chaplain to the Parliament of Victoria; member of the Infertility Treatment Authority of Victoria; chair or member of several hospital ethics committees; and chaplain to various organisations such as the Order of Malta. Since then he has been Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, Bishop of Parramatta and, since 2014, Archbishop of Sydney. He has published over 100 academic articles on ethical, biethical, legal and theological subjects, and nine books on topics ranging from his first book, A History of Solicitors in NSW (1984), to his most recent book, My Dear Young Friend (2018), a collection of letters to young people. He has published numerous works on the immigration debate, abortion, bioethics, healthcare, and suffering. His interests include cooking, reading, watching movies, and tennis.

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Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei

Speaking on: “The Sacredness of Life”

The Sisters of Life are consecrated to protect and enhance a sense of the sacredness of human life.

Immersed in contemplative Eucharistic prayer, within a vibrant community life, the Sisters act in imitation of the Blessed Mother, bringing the consoling presence of Jesus Christ, conceived beneath their hearts to every person they meet, especially those whose lives are hidden, weak, or wounded. Their missions include caring for vulnerable pregnant women and their unborn children; inviting those wounded by abortion into the healing mercy of Jesus; fostering a Culture of Life through evangelization; retreat works; and upholding the beauty of marriage and family life.

Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei graduated from the Catholic University of America with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After working in intensive care, she entered the Sisters of Life in 2007. She professed her final vows in 2015. Sister currently serves as the local superior of St. Frances de Chantal Convent in the Bronx in the work of formation as the director of postulants for the community.

Catherine Glenn Foster

Catherine Glenn Foster

speaking on: “Regaining the Democratic Ideal: Strategically Building a New Culture of Human Life State by State”

Catherine Glenn Foster, M.A., J.D., is President and CEO of Americans United for Life, America's first national pro-life organization and the nation's premier pro-life legal team. AUL’s legal strategists have been involved in every pro-life case before the U.S. Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade. AUL is the pioneer of the state-based model legislative strategy, which works to save lives today and protect mothers and children from abortion industry abuses while undermining the so-called “reliance” interest adopted by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: the false idea that women “rely” on abortion to succeed in American society. Foster has litigated precedent-setting § 1983 and other constitutional questions, abortion and maternal health, health and safety regulations, False Claims Act healthcare and Medicaid fraud, euthanasia and assisted suicide, denial of medical care, First Amendment rights, genetic engineering issues, Freedom of Information Act and open records issues, and healthcare and corporate conscience protections. She has testified before and advised the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Select Investigative Panel and other federal, state, and international bodies and representatives. Previously, Foster was Litigation Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, founder of a law practice focusing on respect for the sanctity of human life, and Executive Director of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA. Foster serves as President of the Board of Directors of Rockville Women’s Center and on the boards of And Then There Were None, Christian Legal Society D.C. Metro Chapter, and the Family Policy Alliance, as well as on the advisory board of the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity. She earned her J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center, M.A. in French from the University of South Florida, and B.A. in History and French from Berry College, and is admitted to the bar in Virginia and Washington D.C., as well as the U.S. Supreme Court; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st, 5th, 8th, and 9th Circuits; and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

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Star Parker

speaking on: “The Effect of Abortion on the African American Community

Star Parker is the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a Washington D.C. based Public Policy Institute that fights poverty and restores dignity through messages of faith, freedom and personal responsibility.  

Star consulted on federal Welfare Reform in the mid-90s and then founded UrbanCure to bring new ideas to policy discussions on how to transition America's poor from government dependency.

In 1996, she was a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention.

Today, Star regularly consults with both federal and state legislators on market-based strategies to fight poverty.

Her organization UrbanCure has three programs:

A Policy Program that works directly with the White House and the Congress on Welfare Policy ideas;

A Media Program that includes rapid response and the daily news blog, blackcommunitynews.com;

And a Clergy Program that umbrellas a national network of more than 850 clergy who serve in various hard-hit zip codes around the country.

In 2017, Star joined the White House Opportunity Initiative advisory team to share ideas on how to best fix our nation’s most distressed zip codes.

In 2018, she was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission.

Star has a bachelor's degree in Marketing and International Business from Woodbury University and has received numerous awards and commendations for her work on public policy issues.

Many of national acclaim would agree that Star Parker has established herself as a thoughtful and energetic leader in Washington D.C. - and her CURE advisory board includes folks of note such as Generals John Ashcroft and Ed Meese; Drs. Marvin Olasky, George Gilder and Walter E. Williams.  

In 2016, CPAC honored her with the “Ronald Reagan Foot Soldier of the Year”.

In 2017, Star was the recipient of the Groundswell Impact Award; and in 2018,  Bott Radio Network presented Star with its prestigious Queen Esther Award, and nominated her to the National Religious Broadcaster Board of Directors.  

To date, Star Parker has spoken on more than 225 college campuses, including Harvard, Berkeley, Emory, Liberty, Franciscan, UCLA, and UVA.  

She has authored several books; is a regular commentator on national television and radio networks including the BBC, EWTN, and FOX News; and is a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators, which carries in some of the largest newspapers and news websites in the country, reaching 7 million readers weekly.

Aimee Murphy

Aimee Murphy

Speaking on: “Embracing the ‘F’ Word: Learning to Love (Pro-Life) Feminism

Aimee Murphy is the Executive Director and founder of Rehumanize International, a non-partisan, secular organization dedicated to bringing an end to all aggressive violence against human beings through education, discourse, and action. After a personal conversion to the cause against abortion as a teen due to a pregnancy scare and pursuant death threats from her then-partner who insisted that she get an abortion, she was able to name and defend a holistic ethic of non-violence during her time in university: the Consistent Life Ethic. During the time of her undergraduate studies, she successfully helped the pro-life organization on campus to facilitate fruitful dialogue surrounding abortion by addressing the ethical foundation of pro-life belief and holistic care for all human beings. Through her work with Rehumanize International, Aimee is reaching people all over the globe with the consistent message of human rights and is creating and engaging in effective dialogue to change hearts and minds.

Aimee Murphy was the recipient of the Susan B. Anthony List Young Leader Award in 2014, for her trailblazing pro-life leadership. She currently resides in Pittsburgh with her profoundly supportive husband, their two dogs, and whichever friends wander into the Murphy household.

Herb Geraghty

Herb Geraghty

Speaking on: “Embracing the ‘F’ Word: Learning to Love (Pro-Life) Feminism

Herb Geraghty is the Director of Communications of Rehumanize International, a non-partisan, secular organization dedicated to bringing an end to all aggressive violence against human beings through education, discourse, and action. Herb is a passionate and engaging advocate for the Consistent Life Ethic with an academic background in rhetoric and politics. Through his work with Rehumanize International, he has found that his unique position as a politically independent, atheist, pro-life feminist has broken down barriers to reach demographics that are often untapped by the mainstream pro-life movement. Herb has a passion for building bridges and finding common ground with people across the political spectrum to call everyone to a greater consistency in the fight for human rights.

Dana Rene Bowler/The Catholic University of America

Dana Rene Bowler/The Catholic University of America

Lucia A. Silecchia

Speaking on: "Death, Dignity, Despair and Deceit:  Fighting the Danger of Assisted Suicide"

Lucia A. Silecchia is a Professor of Law at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, where she has taught since 1991.  She has also served as the law school's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and as Catholic University's Vice Provost for Policy.  She directs Catholic University's Summer Law Program in Rome.  She is also a Faculty Fellow and Academic Advisory Group Member of Catholic University’s Institute for Human Ecology.

She received her B.A. degree summa cum laude from Queens College and her J.D. from Yale Law School where she was a Teaching Fellow, senior editor of The Yale Law Journal, and current topics editor of The Yale Law & Policy Review.   She returned to Yale as a Visiting Scholar for the fall 2000 term.   

Since December, 2016, she has served as an expert to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, assisting on matters concerning the elderly, people with disabilities and ecology. 

Professor Silecchia writes and speaks in the areas of environmental law and ethics, elder law, Catholic social thought, legal education, and law and literature. (Her publications are available through https://www.law.edu/fac-staff/silecchial/index.cfm). 

In April 2007, Prof. Silecchia was one of nine Americans to participate in a Vatican conference on Climate Change and Development, organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. She has participated in the Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, and hosted the 2008-2009 Conference on Catholic Legal Thought.  She has participated in projects of the USCCB; assisted the American Bar Association's CEELI Project; taught in Catholic University's cooperative programs at Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland; and lectured in Portugal as part of Catholic University's U.S. - Portuguese Law Initiative at the University of Lisbon.

She provides frequent commentary to television, radio and print media outlets on matters related to religion, environmental ethics, elder law, and Catholic social thought.

Prof. Silecchia received the 2015 Distinguished Alumna Award from the Queens College Political Science Department for teaching that "prepares your own students to combine faith with a passion for justice."

Professor Silecchia is admitted to the bars of New York, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, and the Supreme Court of the United States.   Before coming to Catholic University, she was a litigation associate at Rogers & Wells (now Clifford, Chance) in New York City.

Mary Hasson

Mary RIce hasson

Speaking on: "Sexual Consent, #MeToo, and the Throwaway Culture

Mary Rice Hasson is the Kate O’Beirne Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where she also directs the Catholic Women’s Forum, a network of Catholic professional women and scholars seeking to amplify the voice of Catholic women in support of human dignity, authentic freedom, and Catholic social teaching. An expert on culture, faith, sexual morality, and gender ideology, Mary was the keynote speaker for the Holy See during the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in both 2017 and 2018. She speaks frequently at national and regional conferences and her writing appears in a variety of scholarly publications, policy journals, and websites including First Things, Public Discourse, Our Sunday VisitorThe National Catholic Register, and The Federalist. She is co-author of a recent book on public education and the editor of Promise and Challenge: Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complementarity, and the Church. Mary is also a frequent commentator in global media on issues pertaining to Catholicism and women.

Before joining EPPC, Mary worked as an attorney and writer and served the Church for over twenty years in leadership positions in Catholic marriage preparation, diocesan education efforts, and Catholic ministries to women and families. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Notre Dame Law School, Mary is married to a fellow Domer, Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson, and they have seven grown children and one grandchild.

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O. Carter snead

Speaking on: "A World Without Justice Kennedy: The Future of American Abortion Jurisprudence"

Professor Carter Snead is the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, Professor of Law in the Law School, and Concurrent Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Snead is one of the world’s leading experts on public bioethics – the governance of science, medicine, and technology in the name of ethical goods. He has published over forty journal articles, book chapters, and essays on abortion, embryo research, neuroethics, assisted reproduction, end of life decision-making, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. His articles have appeared in such publications as the New York University Law Review, the Harvard Law Review Forum, the Vanderbilt Law ReviewConstitutional Commentary, the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics, the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, and Political Science Quarterly. He is the editor of two book series with the University of Notre Dame Press, including “Catholic Ideas for a Secular World” and "Notre Dame Studies in Medical Ethics."

He has advised officials in all three branches of the federal government on matters of public bioethics. He served as General Counsel to President Bush’s Council on Bioethics (chaired by Leon R. Kass). He led the U.S. delegation to UNESCO and was its chief negotiator for bioethics-related treaties and conventions from 2003-2005. He also served as the U.S. Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Bioethics from 2006-08. From 2008-12, the Director General of UNESCO appointed him to a four-year term on the International Bioethics Committee. He regularly provides expert testimony in Congress, state legislatures, and federal courts.  In 2016, Pope Francis appointed him to the Pontifical Academy for Life, which advises the Vatican on culture of life issues.  In 2018, he was named a Fellow of The Hastings Center, the world's oldest and most prestigious independent bioethics institute.

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Fr. Stephen Fields, S.J.

Speaking on: "Abortion and the natural Law"

Father Stephen Fields, S.J., is a Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Systematic Theology at Georgetown University, serving in the Department of Theology. He has served as an Assistant Professor from 1993 to 2000. He entered the Jesuit order in 1977, and was ordained as a priest in 1986. He has been the Bannan professor at Santa Clara and has held the Maclean Chair at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and the Loyola Chair at Fordham University. He is also the former president of the Jesuit Philosophical Association.

Fr. Fields received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale University, and his B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford. He also holds degrees from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Fordham University, and Loyola College in Maryland.

Fr. Fields is an expert in philosophical theology and the history of Christian thought. He is the author of Analogies of Transcendence: An Essay on Nature, Grace and Modernity (2016), Being as Symbol: On the Origins and Development of Karl Rahner’s Metaphysics (2000), and numerous scholarly articles. He teaches classes on Christian thought, John Henry Newman, Thomas Aquinas, Christian mysticism, the Catholic vision of love, and the Natural Law at Georgetown University. He also serves as the Faculty Moderator and Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus at Georgetown. He has received the Dorothy M. Brown Award, the Main Campus's highest undergraduate-elected teaching recognition.

Mary O'Callaghan

Mary O’callaghan, Ph.d.

Speaking on: "Mad Science: Taking Stock and Moving Forward After a Half-Century of Prenatal Diagnosis and Selective Abortion"

Mary O’Callaghan completed a B.A. in Psychology at Creighton University in 1987 before receiving her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in 1997 from the University of Notre Dame.  Her doctoral work was funded by an NIH grant for the study of developmental disabilities. She is currently a Public Policy Fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture where she works on ethical issues related to disabilities, with a focus on prenatal diagnosis and selective abortion. Her work for the Center for Ethics and Culture includes teaching at the Center’s Vita Institute, an intensive interdisciplinary training program for leaders in the national and international pro-life movement.    She has been an advocate for individuals with disabilities at the local, national, and international levels, and her policy work has included testimony before the Indiana State Senate and the United Nations on behalf of unborn children with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

Dr. O’Callaghan has also developed materials on disability for the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. She is currently a University Life Fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute, where she is developing curriculum materials on prenatal diagnosis and selective abortion for use in high school and college classrooms. She has served on the Disabilities Advisory Board for the Diocese of Fort Wayne/South Bend, has supported expectant parents as part of the prenatal outreach of her local Down syndrome family support group, and is the cofounder of Miriam’s Blessing, a diocesan perinatal hospice program.   She and her husband John have 5 children, including her son, Tommy, who has Down syndrome.

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Emma Tacke

Speaking on: "#HopeOverDeath: Building a Culture of Life in our Criminal Justice System"

Emma Tacke is the Associate Director of Community Engagement for Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN). After obtaining a bachelor's degree in Political Science and Gender Studies from the College of Saint Benedict, Emma moved to Seattle, Washington for a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Upon completing JVC NW Emma spent a year with NETWORK Lobby in Washington D.C. working for social and economic issues as a Grassroots Mobilization Associate. As a lifelong Catholic and believer in the sanctity of human life, Emma is thrilled to work for CMN, an organization that promotes the Church's pro-life teachings and prepares Catholics for informed involvement in the public debate to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice.

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Caitlin Morneau

Speaking on: "#HopeOverDeath: Building a Culture of Life in our Criminal Justice System"

Caitlin Morneau is the Restorative Justice Consultant for Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), a national organization working to end the use of the death penalty and promote restorative justice. After early formation in immersive Catholic service experiences during her undergraduate studies at the University of New Hampshire, Caitlin spent a year as an AmeriCorps Caseworker with Catholic Charities of Baltimore. Since then she has worked in administrative and programmatic capacities with DC area non-profits including Catholic Volunteer Network, Youth Service Opportunities Project and Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Caitlin is currently an MA candidate in Conflict Transformation at Eastern Mennonite University and serves on the Board of Directors at Bethlehem Farm in Alderson, West Virginia.