Thursday 1 April 2010

SPUC International Student Conference goes from strength to strength

Joe Lee, the SPUC Scotland branch development officer, has sent me a report on SPUC's international student conference, held last month in Clydebank. 
The 160 young delegates left the 3rd International Youth Pro-Life Conference on Sunday 21st March with the hope that a change in our culture towards respecting all human life is a real possibility.

Lucy McCully, event organiser and SPUC Scotland’s Education Officer, said “This year’s conference really has set the benchmark for future youth pro-life conferences, not only in Scotland but world-wide. The event has gone from strength to strength since 2008 and we are sure that it will continue to do so. Planning has already started on the 4th International Youth Pro-Life Conference, scheduled for March 2011.”

The Conference was held at the Beardmore Hotel, Clydebank, last weekend and brought together speakers and young people from all over the world to explore the theme "I exist, therefore I am". Delegates from Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, the US, Canada, Portugal, Germany, France, Australia and the Congo listened to an in-depth exploration of the concept of personhood in relation to embryo experimentation, abortion and euthanasia.

The two keynote speakers at the conference were the Rev. Arnold Culbreath, director of Protecting Black Life in the US, and Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Rev. Arnold said that “abortion is the leading killer of Black Americans, more than all major diseases, crime and accidents put together,”…[a total of] 37 per cent of all abortions in America are performed on African American women, yet African American women represent only 13 per cent of the population… abortion is literally destroying the African American population.”

In spite of the serious nature of his subject matter, he left the delegates with a sense of hope that the situation can and will change, as more young people educate themselves.

Mr Schadenberg, focused on examples of how euthanasia and assisted suicide are practised in Oregon and Holland. He said that “these laws specialise in using vague language to hide exactly what their intentions are.”

He also addressed the threat of euthanasia in Scotland with regards to Margo MacDonald’s End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill. “This bill is a recipe for the abuse of elderly people,” he said. “We’ve seen it in other countries and it will happen in Scotland too [should] assisted suicide and euthanasia become legal.” He urged all of the young Scottish delegates to write to their MSPs to register their opposition to these proposals.

Another speaker, Mattei Radu, from Philadelphia, USA, offered an excellent analysis of the links between abortion, the holocaust and the slave trade. Mr Radu said, “to claim to uphold the rights of all citizens, yet deny the unborn any legal protection is an act dripping with hypocrisy”.

Sr. Roseann Reddy of the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative in Glasgow and Eileen Reilly, a consultant obstetrician, were also among the extensive list of speakers that addressed the conference.

Delegates also enjoyed light relief with the Saturday night ‘Salsa Fiesta’ encouraging everyone to dance.
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