The Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life

January 25, 2020 @ 9:30 am – 4:15 pm
Georgetown University
3700 O St NW
DC 20057
The Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life @ Georgetown University

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Since 1974, the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. has served as both a platform and a rallying point for pro-life supporters worldwide. Each year, near the anniversary of the decision of Roe v. Wade, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have flooded our nation’s capital to stand in solidarity and peacefully voice their pro-life platform.

The day following the March, just one mile away, pro-life advocates and leaders worldwide descend on Georgetown University to connect, learn and engage in dialogue to provoke a greater sense of conviction to fight for the dignity of every human life.

Since 2000, the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life has taken place at Georgetown University. Organized completely by students, the conference is the largest student-run pro-life conference in the nation. The Conference hosts many of the world leaders in the pro-life movement, whose expertise and research equip our attendees with insight so that they can be powerful advocates for life in their own communities. By bringing together over 750 students, academics, clergy and all supporters, the Conference is an empowering event that bolsters the pro-life movement’s momentum.

It is with great excitement that Madeleine Ostertag, who grew up in the Diocese of Bridgeport and went to Darien High School, has undertaken the opportunity to help organize this year’s conference as the co-director. Madeleine, a senior studying Comparative Literature and Theology, is also a part of Catholic Women at Georgetown and Georgetown Right to Life.

The 2020 conference, set for January 25, will be its twenty-first annual and will focus on the theme: “The Consistent Life Ethic and the Law: The Ethical Argument for Life.” As pro-life issues emerge at the forefront of our legal system, particularly taking into consideration the recent passage of pro-life laws on the state level, we will consider the argument for life in both state and federal legislation. We will also consider how the consistent ethic of life forms our understanding of public morality.

The panel discussion will address this year’s theme, and will feature Peter Breen, Vice President and Senior Counsel, Thomas More Society; Catherine Glenn Foster, President and CEO, Americans United for Life; Mark Rienzi, Professor of Law, Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America; and O. Carter Snead, William P. and Hazel B White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame. The discussion will be moderated by Kim Daniels, Associate Director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life.

“At Georgetown, the conference is critical to continuing the university’s Jesuit legacy, not only in the theological basis for the pro-life cause, but also the discourse that makes this campus intellectually engaging,” Daniels says. “In hosting this conference, we are able to both foster and strengthen a culture of life on our campus and beyond.”

“For me, being pro-life isn’t strictly associated with abortion. It’s about a recognition of each person’s inherent dignity,” Ostertag says. “While being pro-life is rooted in my Catholic faith, my experiences both with my friends and within my communities have made me realize that this is not an issue beyond me, but a personal one. We have a responsibility to bear witness to and to promote a culture of life. We must find common ground out of our respect for all life with those around us so that we may further our cause while simultaneously upholding our understanding of what life inherently is.”

The conference is named for John Cardinal O’Connor, the late Archbishop of New York and a Georgetown alumnus, who is widely remembered for his unwavering advocacy for the unborn.

(More information, including registration, about the conference can be found at All are invited to attend.)