What is the Vita et Veritas Conference?
The Vita et Veritas Conference was founded in 2013 by a team of students in Choose Life at Yale (CLAY) led by Courtney McEachon ('15). The original team wanted to bring the pro-life message to Yale in a bigger way than the group's weekly meetings would allow. The conference has grown every year to include more students, supporters, and speakers. We are thankful for the support the conference has received in these early years, and we hope it will continue to provide a voice for the voiceless on the Yale campus for many years to come.
Why Should I Attend?
Hear Powerful Talks
Meet Other Pro-Life Students
The Vita et Veritas Conference, now in its eighth year, aims to bring pro-life thought to Yale and to engage the pro-life communities of other universities. We believe the right to life is fundamental, and we design our conference to help and inspire others to advocate for the lives of the unborn.
Yale’s involvement with the legalization and proliferation of abortion began most prominently in 1965. In that year, the Dean of the Yale Law School argued in favor of Griswold v. Connecticut, a case that had been spurred by Planned Parenthood’s New Haven chapter. The reasoning in the Griswold case would be used to justify the Roe v. Wade decision eight years later. Today, some Yale labs use fetal stem cell tissue, the Yale-New Haven Hospital performs abortions, and Yale tuition dollars fund the provision of abortions on our health plan.
Abortion is difficult to discuss. Nonetheless, the Vita et Veritas team believes that our culture's reliance upon abortion must be addressed. We seek to share our views with understanding and alacrity. We are pro-life, but we invite you, whatever experiences, background, or beliefs you have, to join us this fall to think more about this issue and whether there might be a better solution for women facing the difficulties of an unplanned pregnancy.
Countdown to This Year's Conference
2020 Speaker Lineup
KEYNOTE: Scott Klusendorf
Scott Klusendorf travels throughout the United States and Canada training pro-life advocates to persuasively defend their views in the public square. He contends that the pro-life message can compete in the marketplace of ideas if properly understood and properly articulated.
Nationally, Scott has participated in numerous debates at the collegiate level. His debate opponents have included Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU (1991-2008) – Kathryn Kolbert, an attorney that has argued for abortion rights in a United States Supreme Court case – and Kathy Kneer, President of Planned Parenthood of California.
Scott is the author of The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture, released in March 2009 by Crossway Books and co-author of Stand for Lifereleased in December 2012 by Hendrickson Publishers. Scott has also published articles on pro-life apologetics in The Christian Research Journal,Clear Thinking, Focus on the Family Citizen, and The Conservative Theological Journal.
Saturday Speaker: Dr. Christopher Kaczor
Dr. Christopher Kaczor (rhymes with razor) is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University. He graduated from the Honors Program of Boston College and earned a Ph.D. four years later from the University of Notre Dame. A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Kaczor did post-doctoral work as a Federal Chancellor Fellow at the University of Cologne and as William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He was appointed a Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life of Vatican City, a fellow of the Word on Fire Institute, and winner of a Templeton Grant. He has written more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters. An award winning author, his fifteen books include Disputes in Bioethics, Thomas Aquinas on the Cardinal Virtues, Abortion Rights: For and Against, 365 Days to Deeper Faith, The Gospel of Happiness, The Seven Big Myths about Marriage, A Defense of Dignity, The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church, The Ethics of Abortion, O Rare Ralph McInerny: Stories and Reflections on a Legendary Notre Dame Professor, Life Issues-Medical Choices; Thomas Aquinas on Faith, Hope, and Love; The Edge of Life, and Proportionalism and the Natural Law Tradition. Dr. Kaczor’s views have been in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, National Review, NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, TEDx, and The Today Show.
Saturday Speaker: Rabbi Menashe Bovit
Rabbi Menashe Bovit was born in Chicago into a traditional Conservative Jewish home. His father was a Holocaust survivor who frequently shared the stories of his suffering and survival during those dark days. These stories greatly impacted Rabbi Bovit and still inspire and guide him today. Rabbi Bovit’s diversity of experiences include an apprentice commercial artist, folk singer, improvisational theater director, underground newspaper editor, anti-Vietnam War protestor, and environmental activist. Rabbi Bovit is, since his college days, an advocate for the State of Israel.
While attending the University of Arizona Rabbi Bovit met the late, great Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach who eventually became his rebbe and later gave him his personal smicha (ordination). Rabbi Bovit also studied at Yeshiva University of Los Angeles; Yeshivat Ohr Yaacov in Zichron Yaacov, Israel; The Kollel of the Bostoner Rebbe in Jerusalem, and the ordination program of Yeshivas Toras Chaim in Jerusalem where he earned both a Bachelor and Master’s of Hebrew Letters. Rabbi Bovit also holds a certificate from the Ohr Lagolah Institute in Jerusalem and has been certified by the Supreme Court of the State of Florida as a Family Mediator.
After serving a number of congregations throughout the country Rabbi Bovit is in his tenth year as the spiritual leader of Bellerose Jewish Center. Rabbi Bovit educates throughout Shabbat services by sharing insights into the prayers and Torah portion from his broad knowledge of traditional texts, history, anthropology, archaeology, and modern academic Biblical studies. Rabbi Bovit continues to be a strong advocate for the State of Israel, is active in interfaith activities and is the president of the Eastern Queens Interfaith Council.
Saturday Speaker: Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
Hamza Yusuf serves as president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, the first accredited Muslim liberal arts college in the United States. He was ranked by The Muslim 500 as the 23rd most-influential Muslim worldwide. A leading proponent of classical learning, the traditional liberal arts, and great books education in both the Western and Muslim traditions, he has translated, authored, and coauthored numerous publications, including scholarly books and articles as well as papers on major current areas of ethical concern. He serves as vice president of the UAE-based Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies. He is a co-president of Religions for Peace and served on the Ethics in Action for Sustainable and Integral Development initiative, a collaboration between Religions for Peace, the Vatican, the United Nations, and other organizations. He is a member of the Jordanian Royal Academy for Islamic Studies and has worked with Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad on key initiatives promoting peace between Muslims and Christians. He holds traditional advanced degrees (ijazaat) in Islamic law and theology, as well as a BA in Religious Studies (San Jose State University) and a PhD from UC Berkeley (Graduate Theological Union).
Founder of Women's Rights Without Frontiers
Students for Life President
Down Syndrome Activist
2020 Conference Schedule
Eastern Daylight Time
Friday October 2
Scott Klusendorf: Keynote - Asynchronous
Saturday October 3
11:00am - Dr. Christopher Kaczor: "Christianity and The Pro-life Movement"
12:00am - Break
12:15am - Shayk Hamza Yusuf: "Sanctity of the Fetal Sac: Abortion and the Violation of Our First Sanctuary"
1:15pm - Break
3:00pm - Rabbi Menashe Bovit: "God, Life and Torah: A Jewish ProLife Perspective"
4:00pm - Break
4:15pm - Panel Discussion
5:00pm - Break
8:00pm - Cocktail and Networking Hour
The Vita et Veritas conference is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. Reach out to our director at for information about how you can help support the 2020 conference.
Meet the Vita Team
Meet the current members of Choose Life at Yale at work on this year's conference.