ABBY JOHNSON ATTWN / VIP KEYNOTE
Abby Johnson has always had a fierce determination to help women in need. It was this desire that both led Abby to a career with Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider, and caused her to flee the organization and become an outspoken advocate for the pro-life movement. During her eight years with Planned Parenthood, Abby quickly rose in the organization’s ranks and became a clinic director. She was increasingly disturbed by what she witnessed. Abortion was a product Planned Parenthood was selling, not an unfortunate necessity that they fought to decrease. Still, Abby loved the women that entered her clinic and her fellow workers. Despite a growing unrest within her, she stayed on and strove to serve women in crisis.
All of that changed on September 26, 2009 when Abby was asked to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion.
She watched in horror as a 13 week baby fought, and ultimately lost, its life at the hand of the abortionist. At that moment, the full realization of what abortion was and what she had dedicated her life to washed over Abby and a dramatic transformation took place. Desperate and confused, Abby sought help from a local pro-life group. She swore that she would begin to advocate for life in the womb and expose abortion for what it truly is.
Planned Parenthood did not take Abby’s exodus sitting down. They are fully aware that the workers who leave are their greatest threat. Instantly, they took action to silence Abby with a gag order and took her to court. The lawsuit was quickly seen as the sham it was and thrown out of court.
The media was, and continues to be, intensely interested in Abby’s story as well as her continued efforts to advocate for the unborn and help clinic workers escape the abortion industry. She is a frequently requested guest on Fox News and a variety of other shows and the author of the nationally best-selling book, Unplanned, which chronicles both her experiences within Planned Parenthood and her dramatic exit.
Today, Abby travels across the globe sharing her story, educating the public on pro-life issues, advocating for the unborn, and reaching out to abortion clinic staff who still work in the industry. She is the founder of And Then There Were None, a ministry designed to assist abortion clinic workers out of the industry. To date, this ministry has helped over 330 workers leave the abortion industry. Abby lives in Texas with her husband and five (plus two on the way!) precious children.
LACEY BUCHANAN / KEYNOTE
Lacey Buchanan is a native of Middle Tennessee who is enjoying raising two rambunctious boys, Christian and Chandler, with her husband, Chris. She recently earned her Juris Doctorate from Nashville School of Law. She has traveled the country for the last five years, sharing her family's story and spreading a message of hope in God. She is an avid runner, a lover of books, and a follower of Christ, and she plans to use her education to practice in the areas of disability advocacy and education.
MELISSA OHDEN ABORTION SURVIVOR NETWORK / Keynote
Melissa is the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion in 1977. Despite the initial concerns regarding Melissa’s future after surviving the attempt to end her life at approximately seven months gestation, she has not only survived but thrived. With a Master’s Degree in Social Work, she has worked in the fields of substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence and sexual assault counseling, and child welfare.
Melissa was formerly a College Outreach Speaker with Feminists for Life and is the former Patron of Real Choices Australia. She has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and the Australian Parliament. Melissa is on the Board of Directors for the Vitae Foundation, a national organization which uses media to advance a culture of life.
In 2012, Melissa founded The Abortion Survivors Network (ASN). ASN seeks to educate the public about failed abortions and survivors while providing emotional, mental and spiritual support to abortion survivors. Since ASN’s inception, Melissa has been in contact with over 209 survivors.
Melissa has been featured on television and radio programs including: The 700 Club, EWTN’s Life on the Rock and Defending Life, Fox News, Focus on the Family, American Family Radio, the Mike Huckabee show, and the Teresa Tomeo show. Her life and ministry is featured in the award winning pro-life documentary, A Voice for Life.
After years of searching for her biological family and offering them forgiveness for the decision that was made to end her life, Melissa’s story, and her life, is so much more than one of survival. It’s evidence of the intergenerational impact of abortion on all of our lives. More importantly, it’s a testament to the beauty of God’s grace in our lives, the power of love, and the transformational power of forgiveness and in answering God’s call for your life, Fulfilling the purpose that she believes God set out for her when He saved her from the certain death of the abortion attempt, Melissa is truly a voice for the voiceless.
BETHANY BOMBERGER RADIANCE FOUNDATION / WORSHIP SERVICE
CALLIE JETT TALK ABOUT ADOPTION / BIRTH MOM PANEL
Callie Jett is a birth mom of fourteen years and the Founder of Talk About Adoption™. Faced with an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager, and pressured to choose abortion, Callie chose life for her birth son through the option of open adoption. After placing her son for adoption, she went on to marry, completed graduate school, and worked as a Child Protective Service Social Worker before having children of her own. Callie describes abortion as the biggest threat to adoption. Her passion is to shine a light on open adoption as a wonderful option for women faced with an unexpected pregnancy, while encouraging other birth moms to serve in their communities and share their experiences with adoption.
Brandy Meeks /breakout leader: Understanding the Mind of the Abortion-Minded Woman
Brandy has over 10 years of nonprofit leadership experience, including serving as the Executive Director at St. Joseph Pregnancy Resource Center in Northwest Missouri before coming to Vitae Foundation. She brings a dynamic perspective to the Vitae team with her experience as an Executive Director. Brandy has been at Vitae over a year and is currently the Director of Programming. While at Missouri Western State University, Brandy earned her BS in Psychology and minored in Communication Studies. Her education provided opportunities for psychology research that she is now able to draw from as she works with her team to develop Right Brain Research messaging strategies to effectively reach the abortion minded woman. She attends Freshwater Church in Jefferson City, MO with her husband Matt and their five children. They all feel their family calling is to protect the gift of life that God has provided.
LAURA RICKETTS THE GUIDING STAR PROJECT / BREAKOUT: PREGNANCY LOSS & THE PROLIFE MOVEMENT
Laura is a doula and student midwife. Her practice is FiLumena Birth Services. Laura uses her personal experience as a mother who lost seven babies and her professional experience as a birth worker to serve women and families experiencing a loss. She speaks on the topic of Pregnancy Loss in a ProLife Context and addresses Pregnancy Loss as a ProLife issue. Laura is a Client Manager for And Then There Were None, on the Board of the Guiding Star Project and lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley with her incredible husband and energetic children!
AMY FORD EMBRACE GRACE / BREAKOUT: Engaging the Church
Amy Ford is the author of A Bump in Life: True Stories of Hope & Courage during an Unplanned Pregnancy and also co-founder of Embrace Grace, a non-profit that inspires and equips the church to love on single and pregnant young women. They offer a 12-week program for pro-love churches to host small groups, inviting these brave mothers to receive healing and the unconditional love of a Father. They meet other moms in similar situation and are planted into a church family that loves and supports her. They are currently operating in 173 churches in 37 states. Amy is pro-active in helping strengthen relationships between pregnancy centers, maternity homes and churches in local communities. To find an Embrace Grace group near you or for information on starting your own at your home church, go to EmbraceGrace.com.
REBECCA KIESSLING SAVE THE 1 / BREAKOUT: How to Defend being Pro-Life with NO EXCEPTIONS: What about Rape?
Rebecca Kiessling has been an international pro-life speaker and adoption speaker since 1995, speaking for various pro-life organizations, including right to life groups, crisis pregnancy center fundraisers, 40 Days for Life events, rallies, churches, high schools, universities, Students for Life, women’s conferences, attorney conferences, adoption events, etc., throughout North America and Europe, speaking about 75 times/year. Politically influential, she changed the heart of Gov. Rick Perry during his presidential campaign, as well as Newt Gingrich, and many legislators across the U.S., Canada and Europe. She’s helped pregnant rape victims all around the world to choose life for their children. She’s also an attorney, wife, and mother of 5 (two oldest are adopted,) lost 2 additional babies to miscarriage, and her 33 day old adopted daughter Cassie, who was born with special needs. Rebecca was interviewed by one of her personal heroes, Dr. James Dobson, on his Family Talk radio program with four other members of Save The 1. She appeared in the following documentary films: The Citizens United film, “The Gift of Life with Gov. Mike Huckabee,” the “40” film, “Conceived in Rape: From Worthless to Priceless,” “Except in Cases of Rape? 12 Stories of Survival,” and “Conceived in Rape and Other Exceptions.” Rebecca has appeared on Fox’s Huckabee (which has the clip of Gov. Rick Perry), CNN’s Piers Morgan debating Gloria Allred, CBN’s 700 Club, Catholic TV’s “This is the Day,” ABC’s Good Morning America, EWTN’s Life on the Rock and Defending Life with Fr. Frank Pavone, “Facing Life Head On,” as well as the nationally-syndicated TV program “Extra.” Her story has been featured in Glamour Magazine and Marie Claire Magazine. Rebecca is the National Spokeswoman for Personhood USA and for National Personhood Alliance.
AIMEE MURPHY LIFE MATTERS JOURNAL / BREAKOUT: Why Consistency Matters in the Pro-Life Movement
LAUREN MUZYKA SIDEWALK ADVOCATES FOR LIFE / BREAKOUT: Sidewalk Advocacy & Pro-Life Apologetics
A licensed attorney in Texas and trained sidewalk counselor of 17 years, serves as Executive Director of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, a sidewalk advocacy organization which has grown to 103 locations in the U.S. and around the globe in its 3-year existence. Lauren holds a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Texas A&M University, as well an Advanced Certificate in International Affairs; she is a 2009 cum laude graduate of Ave Maria School of Law. Lauren has interned with organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom (Blackstone Fellowship), Americans United for Life, Liberty Institute, and Texas Alliance for Life. For over two years, Lauren served as Campaign Strategist for the National 40 Days for Life Team, advising their 300+ campaigns in North America running a local campaign. Her greatest joy is serving Christ and His people, being married to her best friend, Peter, and sharing the power of God's love to transform hearts on the sidewalk.
JOYCE ANN MCCAULEY-BENNER FEMINISTS FOR LIFE / BREAKOUT: Slaves Among Us: Sex-Trafficking in the US
For over 15 years, Joyce has worked as an advocate for vulnerable populations, including sex trafficking victims, domestic violence victims, and low income families. While working with those populations, she was a case manager, researcher, and legal advocate. Joyce weaves her personal story of pregnancy after rape along with experiences from her advocacy efforts to help audiences understand the powerful connection between the exploitation of women and the exploitation of abortion. As a pro-life feminist, Joyce has also worked as a racial justice facilitator and community organizer, and she currently oversees a utility assistance program for low income families, in addition to her pro-life feminist work. She is a frequent contributor to Femists for Life's magazine, The American Feminist, and has addressed poverty, violence, and exploitation during her presentations on campus, on Capitol Hill, and at international conferences.
CATHERINE DAVIS RESTORATION PROJECT / ENGAGING THE BLACK COMMUNITY PANEL
Catherine Davis is the founder and president of The Restoration Project. She often partners with the National Black Prolife Coalition, the Network of Politically Active Christians, and the Frederick Douglas Foundation in an ongoing effort to educate Americans about the issues that are impacting the Black community. Catherine, a public speaker and civil rights champion, is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Tufts University who attended the University of Bridgeport School of Law.
Early in 2010, she partnered with The Radiance Foundation to launch one of the most news-generating Pro-Life campaigns ever, the "Endangered Species" billboard/web campaign. Catherine was featured in numerous TV, radio and newspaper features including The NY Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABC World News, NPR and throughout the entire blogosphere. She believes in holding public officials accountable and legislatively chipping away at the practices and policies that are ravaging a free America.
A former candidate for Congress in Georgia’s fourth district, Catherine is focused on positive change through education, local/state involvement, and peaceful action.
SYLVIA JOHNSON-MATTHEWS HOUSTON PREGNANCY HELP CTR / ENGAGING THE BLACK COMMUNITY PANEL
Sylvia is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Houston Pregnancy Help Center, Inc., which currently has three locations in Houston, Texas: Fifth Ward Pregnancy Help Center, Downtown Pregnancy Help Center and the Medical Mobile Van. These centers provide free services to over 8,000 clients per year resulting in thousands of lives saved since 2004. Sylvia has 32 years of experience serving women in crisis pregnancy situations and is widely recognized for setting the highest standards of excellence in all she does. A native of Orlando, Florida, Sylvia was honored with the Walt Disney World Award for Community Service for several years. In 1995, she was also awarded President George H. Bush’s 839th Point of Light for community service. Sylvia has served on many boards including the Orlando Magic Community Advisory Board. In addition, Sylvia was appointed to chair the Orange County Teenage Pregnancy Awareness Education Task group. Sylvia’s task was to mobilize businesses, churches, and social services to combat the problem of teen pregnancies. Today, Sylvia is known as “The Encourager,” a woman of vision, legacy, integrity and most importantly a woman that loves God and His people.
IFEOMA ANUNKOR HUMAN LIFE REVIEW / ENGAGING THE BLACK COMMUNITY PANEL
Ifeoma Anunkor is director of EXPECT, the Human Life Review’s initiative for young professionals and college students. Originally from Harlem, New York, Ifeoma received a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. After some time in public interest law firms, she is embarking on a career in pro-life advocacy. She is especially interested in addressing the abortion industry’s aggressive targeting of black women in the U.S., and increasingly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where her family is from. She now resides in New York City.
CHRISTINA MARIE BENNETT BOUND FOR LIFE / ENGAGING THE BLACK COMMUNITY PANEL
Christina Bennett's life was saved as a preborn baby when a janitor's words led her mother to walk out of her abortion appointment. While attending college in CT, Christina dedicated herself to pro-life work. After graduating with a B.S in Business Communications, she moved to Washington D.C to join a pro-life prayer ministry called Bound4Life. Christina is now the Client Services Manager at a Care-Net affiliated, life-affirming pregnancy center. She is also a licensed minister, speaker for the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, blogger for LiveAction News, Bound4Life and a writer at her blog www.chrismarie.com. Her testimony of being scheduled to be aborted is shown in the new film streaming on Vimeo, Hear from Heaven. She is a happily married wife and stepmom who seeks to love Christ and others well.
DR MARI SANCHEZ WOHLEVER / Internal Medicine | FACTS / PRO-LIFE PROVIDERS PANEL
Amaryllis has been a leader in healthcare for over two decades. A Board-certified family physician, she received her medical degree from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, where she earned the Psychiatry Clinical Excellence & Research Award, the Achieving Women of Penn State Award, and the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship. She completed family medicine residency at Halifax Medical Center and served as chief resident and as president of the Florida Association of Family Medicine Residents. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida Academy of Family Physicians, where she is known as a passionate patient and physician advocate.
Her strategic areas of interest and advocacy include (1) Upholding the dignity and sanctity of human life, (2) Promoting the training of physicians as leaders, (3) Prioritizing physician/healthcare team wellness, and (4) Preventing burnout through education, practice management support, and coaching.
Inspired as a young girl by the compassionate work of Mother Teresa, Amaryllis feels particularly called to care for the underserved. Amaryllis has been the keynote speaker at healthcare leadership retreats and hospital leadership summits, among others. Her website is www.faithfulMD.wordpress.com. She has served as clinical assistant professor at FSU College of Medicine and is a volunteer adjunct faculty member at UCF College of Medicine. She is a graduate of FMA’s Physician Leadership Academy.
For fun and inspiration, Amaryllis enjoys reading, journaling, studying seashells, anything outdoors, and especially spending time with her loving husband (a pastor) and their three terrific children.
DR MONIQUE RUBERU / OB/ GYN / PRO-LIFE PROVIDERS PANEL
Dr. Ruberu is a daughter of God, wife to an amazing husband, mother of 3 sweet children and a Pro Life Ob/Gyn living and working in the Philadelphia area. She is a Napro Technology Medical Consultant, thus addresses all gynecologic problems without the use of contraceptives. She helps women to address issues with infertility, recurrent miscarriage, and low progesterone. Monique also co chairs the downtown Philadelphia 40 days for life outreach and is very active in the pro life movement. Her goal in life is to know, love and serve God in all that she does.
DR PEARL HUANG RAMIREZ FACTS / PRO-LIFE PROVIDERS PANEL
Dr. Pearl Huang is a board-certified family physician who has been with the practice since 2001. She earned her M.D. degree from Brown University and completed a family medicine residency in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Dr. Huang strives to provide Christ-centered care for the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and enjoys caring for the whole family. She is a medical consultant for the Creighton Model of natural family planning, which helps women with their reproductive health and hormonal issues as well as women and couples who struggle with infertility.
Dr. Huang enjoys working with teens and is a facilitator for the Theology of the Body for Teens program. She is also a trained speaker for FACTS (Fertility Awareness Collaborative to Teach the Systems), through which she teaches medical students, physicians, and other health care professionals. Outside of the office, she cherishes the time with her husband and family, and keeps very busy with their four children.
She is fluent in English and Spanish and also speaks Mandarin Chinese.
SUZANNE GUY/ RACHEL GUY / ADVERSE DIAGNOSIS PANEL
Suzanne Guy has served as an advocate(counselor) at a pregnancy crisis center in GA for five years. Suzanne has shared her story of hope at the Georgia March for life in 2016 and was on a guest panel on the Glenn Beck show in 2015. Back in 1998, Suzanne, then pregnant, and her husband were profoundly shocked to find out how casually and how emphatically some in the medical community would insist on ending their daughter’s life (Rachel Mary) because of a poor in utero diagnosis. It was their journey with their daughter before her birth and after that God used to compel their family into action. It was Rachel’s life story that has launched their family to attend pro life lobby days, marches, attend conferences and seminars and get involved at the crisis center level. Suzanne Guy lives with her husband, Peter, and her daughter, Rachel Mary in Georgia.
Mary Kellett / Adverse Diagnosis panel
Mary Kellett is the founder and director of Prenatal Partners for Life, a non-profit ministry that offers support, information and encouragement to families that receive an adverse diagnosis before or after the birth of their child. Prenatal Partners for Life also strives to educate the world about the unique gift these children are to their families and communities. Mary and her husband Don have 11 children and 18 grandchildren. Their youngest son Peter who was the inspiration for Prenatal Partners for Life, went home to heaven in August 2011. PPFL has supported families in every state and 46 countries.
Carol McNutt / Adverse Diagnosis Panel
Carol worked in the rural counties of North Florida prior to joining the team at Gynecology and Obstetrics Associates of Tallahassee in 2005. Her kindness is seen not only by her patients but also through services she does throughout the community. Originally a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she has called Tallahassee home since 1979 where she lives with her husband and 3 children. In her free time she enjoys the beach, photography and music with her family and friends. Carol is employed as a full scope nurse-midwife with hospital delivery privileges at Tallahassee Memorial Health Care. She has delivered approximately 2500 babies and can first assist in cesarean sections. Working in collaboration with Maternal Fetal Medicine at Tallahassee Memorial Health Care, she designed their Perinatal hospice program. Carol is a certified breastfeeding educator and taught Bradley childbirth classes for 12 years.