Over the past few months, the McGrath Institute for Church Life’s Office of Life and Human Dignity has been hosting a series of webinars entitled “Conversations that Matter.” The goal of this series is to spark authentic dialogue that deepens our commitment to our fellow sisters and brothers without the polarization and vitriol that currently characterize these conversations. This semester’s focus is the “Intersection of Justice and Pregnancy.” These particular webinars are structured to widen the scope of understanding about the work of the pro-life movement, societal structures that impact women, and supporting women who are in crisis. In learning more about these topics, we hope that conversations will move beyond the categories of pro-life and pro-choice to empathy and creativity in support of both moms and their unborn children.
Our first webinar, “When Liberals Were Pro-Life” by Daniel Williams, professor of history at the University of West Georgia and author of Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement before Roe v. Wade, traces the history of the pro-life movement in an effort to answer the question: Is there something in those early pro-life voices we can learn from for today? In light of the movement's history, Williams ultimately asks us to question the current pro-life strategy. He claims that a pro-life strategy linked to the early years of the movement would likely be one that has as its goal a holistic view. Such a strategy would ask: what can we do to create a society that values life at every level—certainly the unborn, but every life—from conception to natural death?
Our second webinar, “Women, Pregnancy, and Authentic Reproductive Justice” by Erika Bachiochi, J.D., a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a Senior Fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute, focuses on the impact of policy on the lives of individual women. She argues that easy abortion access increases sexual risk-taking, relieves men of the responsibilities that accompany sex, and creates disincentives for employers to accommodate caregiving.
Tonight, we welcome Jenny Hunsberger, Vice President of Women’s Care Center to discuss “Radical Hospitality.” This session will provide practical pastoral guidance for accompanying women who, for whatever reason, find themselves facing crisis pregnancy. In particular, Ms. Hunsberger will explore the concept of radical hospitality as a mode of communication that emphasizes compassion and non-judgmentalism when encountering and walking with women.
It is our hope that these conversations widen our horizons so that we can see past narrow solutions to more creative responses, that they may inspire us all to bridge the divide, work collaboratively on common ground, and provide support and love to those in crisis and in pain. It is our hope that these conversations help us learn to see the humanity in every single individual, including those with different political affiliations or ideological beliefs, for if we can not recognize the humanity of the person right in front of us, how we can argue for the humanity of anyone else?
To register for tonight’s webinar, access videos of the previous talks, or suggest possible human dignity topics for future sessions, please visit mcgrath.nd.edu/conversations.