Friday, 9 March 2012

5th International Pro-Life Youth Conference

Last weekend over one hundred young people took part in the 5th International Youth Pro-Life  Conference which was held near Rotherham in Yorkshire. The conference was organised by SPUC with the assistance of committed local activists from the SPUC Rotherham branch.

The conference provided the young people present with the opportunity to hear highly qualified speakers share their expertise in a wide variety of fields, all of which are connected with defending human life in its most vulnerable states. The conference began with a reminder that grave threats to human life and dignity arise in every generation in the form of the film Sophie Scholl about the heroic resistance offered by the White Rose movement to National Socialism in Germany.

The first speaker on Saturday morning was Rev. Andrew Pinsent, of the Ian Ramsay Centre at the University of Oxford, who spoke about the fundamental dignity possessed by every human person.

Lynette Burrows then addressed the difficult issue of modern sex education methods while keeping the delegates entertained with humorous anecdotes. Dr Phillip Howard and Dr Jacqueline Lang each spoke about the threats to human life faced by those who are disabled, mentally incapacitated, or terminally ill. SPUC's Fiorella Nash's, with her typically engaging style, challenged the audience to see through the propaganda of the abortion industry and see that the real needs of women are very different to those presented by the so-called 'pro-choice' lobby.

Fr Fleming and National Director John Smeaton with delegates

Rev Dr John Fleming, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, explained why the attempted redefinition of marriage to include ‘same sex unions’ will further undermine the struggle for human life and authentic human dignity. (See SPUC's background paper for more information.)

Other speakers included Dr Anne Carus who spoke about her work with the Life Fertility Programme, Anthony Ozimic who discussed the psychological impact of abortion on abortionists, and Joe Lee who spoke about the legal status of the human embryo.

Many of the speakers expressed their joy at seeing so many young people committing themselves to the defence of the unborn and vulnerable in our society.

Professor David Paton
Professor David Paton, who presented to the conference the results of his statistical analysis on issues related to teenage pregnancy and abortion, spoke about his own experiences as a young pro-life activist and urged the young people present to be courageous and to make use of whatever particular talents they possess.

There were individuals and groups from across the British Isles and even from as far afield as Spain and the Faroe Islands. The Spanish group were just one of the many acts that performed at the talent show on Saturday evening and they were delighted to take the trophy back to Barcelona!

The Spanish delegates
The 5th International Youth Pro-life Conference was a great success and demonstrates that the next generation is ready to stand up for human life against the contrary pressures at work in our modern society.

SPUC would like to thank all the delegates both for their enthusiasm and for their many and various contributions to the success of the weekend. We look forward to seeing you all next year at the 6th International Youth Pro-life Conference.

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