In defense of being pro-life, Dr. Peter Kreeft did not need to reference the Bible. He needed no quotation from the Catholic Church. In fact, he did not consider abortion a religious issue.
Kreeft was one of the speakers for the “Reverence for Life and Informed Voter Conference.” Sponsored by VITA, Quinnipiac’s pro-life organization, and the QU chapter of the Knights of Columbus, the Saturday conference was held in the Grand Court Room of the QU Law School.
The conference welcomed Kreeft, a Boston College philosophy professor, author Edward Mechmann from the Archdiocese of New York, and Jamila Evans, a director of youth ministry in Bridgeport, CT. The speeches of the day focused both on assessing abortion in America and making an informed decision in the 2008 presidential election.
Kreeft, the first speaker of the day, considered abortion “a moral issue.”
“Everything depends on the right to life,” he said. “And the issue is simple: do all human beings have the right to live, or just some of them?”
Kreeft proceeded to discuss abortion by dissecting 15 objections people often have to being pro-life, from “You can’t prove abortion is wrong,” to “My private conscience is my guide.”
“Truth, not conscience, should be your guide,” he said. “Conscience is fallible–it’s human. Everyone has a conscience, but that doesn’t mean everyone lives correctly.”
Kreeft felt that abortion was one of the key issues in the campaign–with Barack Obama being fully for abortion rights and John McCain against them.
“Abortion is the elephant in the living room,” he said. “It is one of the few topics where the two candidates are completely distinguishable. One has a 100 percent record voting pro-life, while another voted for the Freedom of Choice Act and partial-birth abortions.”
And for Kreeft, no issue was more important in this election: “It is quite literally life and death.”
Edward Mechmann, a graduate of Columbia and Harvard Law school, was the second speaker on tap. Mechmann spoke of forming conscience and making the “prudential” decision when voting.
“I don’t like using the term ‘lesser of two evils,’ because we should never be choosing evil,” he said. “But sometimes each of the candidates carry some sort of intrinsic evil in their campaign. At that point, we are mitigating damage, and it is really a sobering decision.”
In determining one’s vote, Mechmann asked students to consider “what sort of person (they) are,” relating the question to the parable of the Good Samaritan.
“Which person who passed by the man from Jerusalem would you vote for?” he asked.
The third and final speaker of the day was Jamila Evans, an occasional participant in Campus Ministry’s weekly Icthus meetings. Evans, who recently gave birth to a son, spoke of the connection between feminism and abortion.
She recalled a story from her college days at the University of Colorado when she asked a feminist speaker if one could be a feminist who was also pro-life. She received a resounding “No,” and used this anecdote to discuss how feminism has grown more focused on abortion and disconnected from feminist roots.
“It is almost as if women’s rights have superseded child’s rights,” Evans said. “All of the original feminists stressed the importance of children and family. Feminism lost that somewhere.”
Evans stressed the importance of winning “the little battles” against abortion, including making more accommodations for pregnant college students.
The day concluded as Catholic chaplain Jonathan Kalisch led the conference in a closing prayer.
For Laura Ferretti, president of VITA, the day could not have run more smoothly.
“It was great to finally have an event like this,” Ferretti, a sophomore, said. “It was a good turnout from both students and people outside of Quinnipiac, and I really hope we can make this an annual event.”