One of the many notable speakers at the 2010 International Pro-Life Conference will be Brad Mattes, host and executive producer of the Emmy-Award-winning television show Facing Life Head-On.
In Facing Life Head-On, Mattes, who is also the executive director and co-founder of the Life Issues Institute, a Cincinnati-based organization that develops and distributes pro-life educational material, interviews people who were “faced with life and death situations” and made difficult decisions in which they were either “blessed with life as a result” or suffered the consequences of choosing death over life. The show includes an expert in the field providing key education in a particular angle or focus of the life issue. Mattes told The Interim that the show was a “low-key way to educate people about the sacredness of life” without overwhelming them with pro-life or religious overtones.
Winning an Emmy was “really exciting” for Mattes and the producers of the show. “We were worried that the politics of abortion (would) prevent us from winning the award.” Nevertheless, the product was of a high quality and the team was thrilled that their efforts were recognized with a regional Emmy Award in the Interview and Discussion category. Facing Life Head-On won the award for an episode featuring Missy Davert, who was advised by doctors 11 years ago to abort her twins due to her condition of osteogenesis imperfecta, which made her bones extremely brittle. Davert continued the pregnancy and delivered the twins at 32 weeks. They are now 10 years old.
Mattes himself is a men’s post-abortion counsellor and has researched the effects of abortion on men. He teaches a course on men and abortion at the Indiana-based Master’s International School of Divinity. He is familiar how much men have been emotionally devastated after the death of the unborn child, whether they wanted their partners to have the abortion, were forced to comply, or did not even know when it took place. “Abortion has a direct central impact to the way … God designed their brains as male,” he told The Interim. The male psyche feels grief and shame because of its failure to protect the baby. Consequences include drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, and physical illness at the thought of intimacy with a partner. “We have to allow the men to grieve and take them through the grieving process,” Mattes emphasized.
In Mattes’ opinion, the 2010 International Pro-Life Conference, entitled Building a Global Culture of Life,” will be a valuable experience for participants because of its impressive list of speakers. “This organization has the ability to draw the best of some of the pro-life movement,” he said. The conference, which aims to educate attendees on pro-life and family issues around the world, will take place from Thursday, Oct. 28 through Saturday, Oct. 30 at the Hampton Inn Hotel and Conference Centre in Ottawa. Other speakers include John Smeaton, president of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, Bill Saunders, senior counsel to Americans United for Life, Dr. Jack Willke, president of the International Right to Life Federation, Faytene Kryskow of 4MyCanada.ca, Sr. Catherine Marie of the Sisters for Life, John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com, Michael O’Brien, a Canadian novelist and speaker, and Rev. Johnny Hunter, president of Life Education and Resource Network.