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Vita et Veritas 2023
Post-Dobbs Reflections: Pro-Life Successes and Setbacks One Year Later

November 10-11, 2023


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
Be Inspired

     The Vita et Veritas Conference, now in its tenth 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. 

The Conference

2022 Conference Countdown!

2022 Speaker Lineup

KEYNOTE: Kristan Hawkins 

     Kristan Hawkins graduated from Bethany College in 2005, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor’s in Political Science having already jumped into the pro-life community by founding pro-life groups in both her high school and college campuses. Before launching Students for Life, she served at the Republican National Committee and as a presidential appointee in the George W. Bush administration at the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2016 and 2020, she served on then-candidate Donald Trump’s Pro-Life Advisory Council.

     Hawkins hosts a weekly podcast “Explicitly Pro-Life” found on iTunes and YouTube and published Courageous: Students Abolishing Abortion in this Lifetime. She has interviewed on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, the Today Show, CBS, ABC, and HBO and has recently received the title, “One of the 4 worst anti-abortion mis-informers,” by Media Matters, a title of which she is very proud. Kristan regularly speaks at pro-life conventions and events across the United States including leading college campuses such as Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, and UC-Berkeley. 

Saturday Speaker: Michael New

     Michael J. New, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Social Research at the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Dartmouth College, Dr. New received a master’s degree in statistics and a doctorate in political science from Stanford University in 2002.

     Before coming to the Washington, DC area, Dr. New worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-MIT Data Center. He later taught at The University of Alabama, the University of Michigan -- Dearborn, and Ave Maria University.

     Dr. New has given multiple presentations at the annual convention of the National Right to Life Committee. He has also spoken at Harvard University, Notre Dame University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, the College of the Holy Cross, and The University of Alabama Law School.

     His writings have appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, National Review Online, Catholic Social Science Review, State Politics, and Policy Quarterly, The Weekly Standard, National Review, and the New York Post.

Saturday Speaker: Elizabeth Bruenig

      Elizabeth Bruenig is an opinion columnist at The Atlantic, where she writes on Christianity, politics, and public life. 

     Bruenig was born and raised in Arlington, Texas. She received her MPhil in Christian theology at the University of Cambridge, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar.

     Previously, she was an editor for the Post’s Outlook and PostEverything sections, and a staff writer at The New Republic. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The Post, The Nation, The Washington Post, The Boston Review, Jacobin Magazine, First Things, and many more. She lives with her husband and daughter in Washington D.C. 

Saturday Speaker: Emily Berning

     Emily Berning is the President and Co-Founder for Let Them Live, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to saving lives from abortion by financially helping women in crisis pregnancies.


     After graduating from Colorado State University in 2017 with a bachelor’s in biology, Emily went to work for the Leadership Institute as the Northeast Field Representative. Emily met her husband, Nathan, at an LI training and they soon started Let Them Live.

Guest Speaker: Ross Douthat

     Ross Douthat joined The New York Times as an Opinion columnist in April 2009. His column appears every Tuesday and Sunday. Previously, he was a senior editor at The Atlantic and a blogger on its website.

     He is the author of “The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery,” which was published in October 2021. His other books include "To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism,” published in 2018; “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics” (2012); “Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class” (2005); “The Decadent Society” (2020); and, with Reihan Salam, “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream” (2008). He is the film critic for National Review.

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Guest Speaker: Steven H. Aden

     Steven H. Aden serves as Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel at Americans United for Life. Aden joined Americans United for Life in August 2017, overseeing all legal operations of America’s most effective pro-life organization. Aden is a highly experienced litigator, having appeared in court against Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry dozens of times and appointed by the attorneys general of six states to defend prolife laws. Mr. Aden secured court victories that upheld an Arizona law that resulted in six abortion businesses ceasing to offer abortion, applied Missouri’s abortion laws to chemical abortion and upheld the right of Louisiana regulators to shut down dangerous abortion facilities. A prolific author and analyst on sanctity of life issues and constitutional jurisprudence, Aden is admitted to the bars of the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Hawaii (inactive), and is a member of the bars of the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal circuit and district courts. He has practiced law since 1990 and earned his J.D. (cum laude) from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. from the University of Hawaii.


Past Speakers

Abby Johnson
Former Director, Planned Parenthood
Scott Klusendorff
President, Life Training Institute
Karen Gaffney
Down Syndrome Activist
Jannique Stewart
Director, First Care’s Boca Raton Pregnancy Care Center
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Serrin M. Foster
President, Feminists for Life
Reggie Littlejohn
Founder, Women's Rights Without Frontiers
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
President, Zaytuna College
American Islamic Scholar, Author
Dr. Haywood Robinson
Former Abortionist

2022 Conference Schedule
Eastern Daylight Time

Friday, October 14

  • 5:00 pm - Check-in at St. Thomas More Center

  • 6:00 pm - Opening Banquet

  • 6:25 pm - Opening Remarks

  • 6:30 pm - Keynote Address by Kristan Hawkins

  • 7:30 pm - Social Hour 

  • 8:35 pm - Evening Dismissal

Saturday, October 15

  • 9:00 am - Breakfast in St. Thomas More Dining Hall

  • 9:30 am - "Post-Roe Legal and Political Strategies" with Michael New and Steve Aden

  • 11:00 am - "Pro-Life Cultural Approaches Past, Present, and Future" with Liz Bruenig, Ross Douthat and Trenee McGee

  • 12:15 pm - Lunch

  • 1:00 pm - "Fearlessly Supporting Women" with Emily Berning

  • 2:15 pm - Strategizing and Socializing Hour

  • 3:20 pm - Concluding Remarks

  • 3:30 pm - Final Dismissal



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The Vita et Veritas conference is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors.  Reach out to for information about how you can help support the 2022 conference.

Past Events

Past Conferences

Marjorie Dannenfelser's Talk 2021

Peter Wolfgang's Talk 2021

Professor Carter Snead's Talk 2021

Photos from the 2018 conference

Register for the 2022 Conference

Registration for the 2022 conference is here! If you have any questions regarding the conference, please direct them to We hope to see you in October!
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