WYA Experiences Life/Peace/Justice Conference in Pittsburgh

The World Youth Alliance attended Rehumanize International’s 5th annual Life/Peace/Justice Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from October 21-22, 2017.   The conference was hosted by Consistent Ethic of Life (CEL) at Duquesne University and Choose Life at Pitt at the University of Pittsburgh, and centered around the consistent life ethic—the idea that, if you promote peace and life in one context, a pro-life view should be maintained towards other life-or-death issues.

Part of the mission of Rehumanize International is to “ensure that each and every human being’s life is respected, valued, and protected. As such, we oppose all forms of aggressive violence, including but not limited to: abortion, unjust war, capital punishment, euthanasia, torture, embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide, abuse, human trafficking, etc.” (source).

Many excellent speakers shared their own personal experiences and expertise on topics like police brutality, rape culture, peace psychology, pro-life feminism, the refugee crisis, racism, poverty, and many others. Representatives of groups such as Secular Pro-Life, New Wave Feminists, Consistent Life Network, and Students for Life of America were present. Director of Advocacy Nadja Wolfe and the two full-time fall interns, Hélène Blanchut and Taylor Walsh, joined the diverse crowd that attended the conference, and each of them were inspired in different ways.

Hélène came out of the feminism talk with a huge smile and a refreshed motivation to continue to work in her home country of Switzerland: “Many organizations came from different parts of the country to give very excited and interesting talks about all life issues, from abortion to euthanasia or death penalty. All were welcome, no exceptions! I came out of the talk on feminism totally changed. I come from Switzerland, and the pro-life movement and feminism are enemies. In this talk, I finally found what I was searching for! Yes, we can be pro-life and feminist and we need to be pro-life and feminists! Feminism is pro-woman, is for the true equality of men and women, the pre-born included. The future of the pro-life movement needs to be feminist to defend women, to support them and their babies. So I can be proud to call myself a pro-life feminist!”

Taylor shares her highlights as well: “I really loved the Create | Encounter release party on Saturday evening. It was an art show exhibiting paintings, sculptures, poetry, songs, and films all centering around pro-life. Every piece shared was very personal. The courage and creative abilities of others never cease to amaze and inspire me, and it was also nice to continue that sort of discussion in a small-group forum session on Sunday, where we talked about creativity in the pro-life movement.”

Nadja says of her experience at the conference:  “I really enjoyed the presentation on assisted suicide and euthanasia by Diane Coleman, president of Not Dead Yet, a disability rights group focused on opposing assisted suicide. She made a compelling argument for how assisted suicide is intertwined with ableism (disability prejudice) and can quickly become coercive. We need to affirm the dignity of all people, and provide good quality care. Death is not a medical treatment.”