By Patrick B. Craine: OTTAWA, Ontario, October 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The upcoming international pro-life conference, set to take place in Ottawa at the end of this month, is “one you won’t want to miss,” says Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition, who emphasized the impressive line-up of international speakers.
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“Anytime you can hold a conference in the nation’s capital and bring international speakers to it, it offers the opportunity for all the local pro-lifers to be inspired and to see what’s going on everywhere, and to know that they’re not alone,” he said.
The conference will be the first of its kind to take place in Ottawa in 20 years. Of particular note, Dr. Jack Willke, president of the International Right to Life Federation and revered North American pro-life leader, will speak in what is likely his last appearance outside of the U.S.
Brad Mattes, executive director of the U.S.-based Life Issues Institute, said the conference, with its great list of “highly-esteemed” international speakers, presents a critical opportunity to build and motivate the grassroots pro-life movement. “The people attending this conference in Ottawa have a splendid opportunity to educate themselves and get motivated with some top-core pro-life individuals,” he said.
Mattes, whose TV show Facing Life Head-On won a regional Emmy award this year, will be speaking about the importance of mainstreaming the pro-life message on TV. His talk aims to show pro-lifers “how they can use the principles of what we’ve done to further their work in their communities,” he said.
John Smeaton, head of the U.K.’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), hopes the conference will empower pro-lifers to “shout from the rooftops” about the need for the Church to engage in the pro-life battle.
Smeaton will speak on the efforts to promote the pro-life cause in the U.K. and Western Europe.
“Not only have we got a major worldwide crisis with hundreds of millions of abortions having taken place over so many years, but we’ve got a major of crisis within the Church in terms of witness, in terms of the actual scandal of cooperation of Church leaders with abortion,” he said.
Smeaton says he hopes the conference will inspire a commitment “to take the message back to ensure that the Church recognizes its responsibility. … We have got to get the Catholic Church behind this fight.”
Rebecca Richmond, executive director of Canada’s National Campus Life Network (NCLN), says she is hoping the conference will “build some momentum in our movement” and bring “new energy and new hope.”
“In our culture we’re facing … a true degradation of the human body and the human person,” she said. “The pro-life movement is essential to affirm the dignity of all human persons. … Only when we have that as our foundation will we really be able to experience what human community is supposed to be, what a country is supposed to be.”
Richmond will be speaking about the impressive pro-life advances being made on Canada’s university campuses, and about the discrimination and censorship pro-life students are coming up against.
The list of dynamic speakers also includes, among others, Bill Saunders of Americans United for Life, John-Henry Westen of LifeSiteNews.com, Youtube teen sensation Lia Mills, as well as a panel of international speakers from Poland and the Pacific Rim.
There are also two special, ticketed events with Rev. Johnny Hunter of the Life Education And Resource Network and internationally-renowned author and artist Michael O’Brien.
The conference is sponsored by Campaign Life Coalition, LifeCanada, LifeSiteNews, and the International Right to Life Federation. It will run from Thursday, October 28 to Saturday, October 30 and will be held at the Hampton Inn Hotel & Conference Centre, 100 Coventry Rd, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.