April 13, 2019 – WYA North America partnered with the Pro-Life Club at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) to host its third Emerging Leaders Conference of 2019. Entitled “The Person and Bioethics: Defending the Dignity of the Human Person in Modern Medicine,” the conference explored bioethical and medical issues through the lens of human dignity. It featured three outstanding speakers coming from the fields of philosophy and medicine.
To start off the day, Philosophy Professor Paul McNellis, SJ PhD (Boston College) offered remarks about treating the patient as a person first and foremost. Fr. McNellis highlighted how medicine cannot just be about technical efficiency, but must also operate within a holistic anthropology of the person. Afterwards, Sarah Byers, PhD (Boston College) added onto Fr. McNellis’ insights with a talk on when human life begins. Dr. Byers went through a series of arguments and objections about the beginning of human life, and ultimately demonstrated how conception is the only consistent point in time it can be said that life begins. Finally, Dr. Felix Di Bie, MD (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) drew from his experience in the medical field to share about recent advancements and challenges in fetal surgery.
The conference engaged participants from various institutions and universities throughout the Boston area and beyond, including Boston College, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, St Mary’s College, Clark University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard University. WYA is grateful to all conference speakers, partner organizations, and participants for their contribution to the conference. It was a great pleasure for WYA to engage the Harvard community in these important discussions that pertain to the dignity of the human person.