All plenary sessions will be held in McCosh Hall, room 50, and concurrent sessions will also be held in McCosh Hall. For location, please see campus map.

Friday, October 15

11:00 AM
Registration Opens
1:00 PM
McCosh 50
Peter Singer, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University; Jennifer Miller, Bioethics International and Frances Kissling, University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics
1:15 PM
McCosh 50
Setting the Stage.
Charles Camosy, Department of Theology, Fordham University
1:30: PM
McCosh 50
Plenary: Bridging the Abortion Divide: Recurring Challenges, Emerging Opportunities.
This roundtable will explore efforts to increase understanding, reduce conflict and find common ground among those who hold different views on abortion.
Moderator: Laura Chasin, Public Conversations Project
  • David Gushee, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University
  • Mary Jacksteit, Public Conversations Project
  • Frances Kissling, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania
  • Rachel Laser, Recently with Third Way
  • Jennifer Miller, Bioethics International
3:30 PM
4:00 PM
McCosh 50
Plenary: The Moral Status of the Fetus.
Different perspectives on the moral status of the fetus deeply divide those who favor and those who oppose legal abortion. Proponents of different views will present and discuss their perspectives.
Moderator: Arthur Caplan, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania
  • John Finnis, University College, Oxford
  • Maggie Little, Philosophy Department, Georgetown University
  • Peter Singer, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University
5:45 PM
6:15: PM
McCosh 50
Plenary: A Woman’s Moral Duty to the Fetus?
This panel will bypass the moral status of the fetus and instead ask the following question: if we were to grant that the fetus has moral status, typically accorded to persons, does it follow that there is a moral obligation on the part of a woman to bring her pregnancy to term?
Moderator: Jennifer Miller, Bioethics International
  • Charles Camosy, Department of Theology, Fordham University
  • Ruth Macklin, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University
7:15 PM

Saturday, October 16

8:30 AM
Coffee and Tea
9:00 AM
McCosh 50
Plenary: From Morality to Public Policy.
This panel will discuss the complex and important public policy and legal questions that emerge from a consideration of the morality of abortion. Panelists' contributions might take up such questions as: Given disagreement about the morality of abortion, what are the available public policy and legal options? Is it legally or practically possible to significantly restrict abortion? What is the relation between the moral question of abortion and the public policy or legal questions about abortion?
Moderator: Michael Moreland, Villanova Law School
  • Helen Alvare, George Mason University School of Law
  • David Garrow, Homerton College, University of Cambridge
  • Cathleen Kaveny, University of Notre Dame Law School
  • Dorothy Roberts, School of Law, Northwestern University
10:30 AM
11:00 AM
McCosh 50
Concurrent Session 1: Do Some Reasons for Abortion Exacerbate Discrimination against Persons?
Advances in prenatal diagnoses as well as human rights theory have raised new questions about some reasons for abortion. Are sex selective abortions discriminatory against women? Does choosing abortion because the fetus is disabled threaten the value and dignity of people with disabilities? Do certain forms of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and the possibility of designer babies undermine human diversity and the structure of society? What additional related issues are raised by new and developing technologies?  Both those opposed to and those in favor of abortion share concerns regarding these issues. Do they have common ground on how to respond to these concerns?
Moderator: Jennifer Miller, Bioethics International
  • Bernard Dickens, University of Toronto Faculty of Law
  • William Hurlbut, Stanford University School of Medicine, Neuroscience Institute
  • Eva Kittay, Department of Philosophy, SUNY Stony Brook
  • Elizabeth R. Schiltz, Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy, University of St. Thomas

McCosh 10
Concurrent Session 2: Preventing Unintended Pregnancies.
While there is no consensus on the legal and ethical parameters of access to abortion, there is consensus on the desirability of reducing the need for abortion, for example by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. This panel will discuss the demographic data regarding the effects of methods aimed at reducing unintended pregnancies as well as the cultural and values issues around contraception and abstinence.
Moderator: Anita Allen, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Sarah Brown, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
  • Kimberly Mutcherson, Rutgers University School of Law
  • Joseph Tham, Regina Apostolorum University
  • James Trussell, Office of Population Research, Princeton University
12:30 PM
Lunch (provided)
1:30 PM
McCosh 46
Concurrent Session 1: When Might a Fetus Feel Pain and What Should We Do about It?
The subject of whether a fetus feels pain during abortion has emerged in the abortion debate, without a definitive scientific conclusion. This panel will present expert opinion on when fetal pain might occur, information on possibilities for medically addressing fetal pain, and whether pain mitigation methods present risks for pregnant women. The session will also explore the implications of fetal pain for fetal status and whether legislation regulating abortion procedures should take account of the possibility of fetal pain.
Moderator: Mark Mercurio, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Sunny Anand, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Christian Brugger, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary
  • Lynn Paltrow, National Advocates for Pregnant Women

McCosh 50
Concurrent Session 2: How Far Does the Right of Conscientious Refusal Extend?
The right of individuals to decline on the basis of conscience to participate in acts they consider immoral is widely supported in law and by public opinion. As early as 1973 that right was applied to abortion and sterilization when the Church Amendment was enacted. There is consensus among both supporters and opponents of legal abortion that health care workers have a right to decline to participate in providing abortions, however questions remain as to whether this right also applies to institutions. Can the right to conscientious refusal be reconciled with patient rights to full information about treatment options? Are there limits to the right of providers to conscientiously object and is there a need for further government protection of this right?
Moderator: Eric Gregory, Department of Religion, Princeton University
  • Bernard Dickens, University of Toronto Faculty of Law
  • Christopher Kaczor, Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, Loyola Marymount University
  • Robert Vischer, School of Law, University of St. Thomas
  • Laurie Zoloth, Center for Bioethics, Science and Society, Northwestern University

McCosh 10
Concurrent Session 3: Providing Support for Continuing Pregnancy.
Data from the Guttmacher Institute on why women seek abortions shows that economic hardship is a major reason for abortion. One way to reduce the need for abortion is to reduce economic as well as social barriers to continuing pregnancy and to parenting. This panel will cover various efforts to make pregnancy continuation, child rearing and adoption more viable options in unintended pregnancy.
Moderator: Barbara Andolsen, Department of Theology, Fordham University
  • Sidney Callahan, The Hastings Center
  • David Gushee, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University
  • Cristina Page, Spence Chapin Adoption Access Network
3:00 PM
3:30 PM
McCosh 50
Plenary: Abortion in America, Should it be a Constitutional Question?
Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, courts and legislatures throughout the United States, at both the state and federal levels, have continued to wrestle with various aspects of the abortion issue—including to what extent the issue should be decided by courts. In some democracies, decisions about the legality of abortion are made by the legislatures. In other democracies, courts have made the decisions. In still others, it is a combination of both, where legislatures and courts engage in a dialogue about the legality of abortion over time. Does this imply a different understanding of democracy and of the limits to majority rule? If so, what can be said for or against these understandings? This panel will consider both principled and consequential aspects of different perspectives on the controversy, including whether a search for common ground offers any hope for resolution.
Moderator: Rebecca Cook, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law
  • Richard Garnett, University of Notre Law School
  • Dawn Johnsen, Mauer School of Law, Indiana University
  • Frances Kissling, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania
  • Peter Singer, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University
  • Robin West, Georgetown University Law Center
5:30 PM
Farewell. The Organizing Committee.