Program Speakers and Topics: 

Applied Bioethics Conference Summer 2019

Martha Shuping, M.D. 


President, Ashford Institute

PTSD After Reproductive Loss: Miscarriage, Stillbirth & Abortion. A look at published literature and case examples.


Spiritually-based Recovery Programs for Reproductive Losses: Do they help or harm?  What current research shows.


Maternal Fetal Attachment: Bonding takes place even during early pregnancy, partially mediated by the hormone oxytocin, and is associated with grief and trauma if the pregnancy ends in other than live birth.


Intimate Partner Violence and Reproductive Coercion: Frequent factors in voluntary and involuntary pregnancy losses. Learn how healthcare providers can screen for violence and intervene to improve women’s health and safety.


Controversies and Dilemmas in Research on Reproductive Issues and Mental Health.


Ethical Informed Consent.


Spirituality and Health: Research shows a majority of patients desire spirituality to be integrated within their health care. How can this be done appropriately in our various health care settings?



Kathi Aultman, M.D. 

Associate Scholar, Charlotte Lozier Institute

Dr. Aultman will answer questions and share insights from her own past experience as a provider of abortions and a medical examiner with expertise in sexual assault trauma. 




Debbie Capen 

Executive Director, Mira Via

Maternity Homes:  Throughout the U.S., maternity homes are making a life-changing difference for women experiencing homelessness, domestic violence and other challenges during pregnancy. Mira Via offers a residential program on a college campus for women continuing their education, and also offers many resources and services through an outreach program for needy women.



Byron Calhoun, M.D.,


Professor and Vice Chair, Dept. of OB/GYN at West Virginia University School of Medicine-Charleston


Perinatal Hospice: Approximately 0.2-0.3% of newborns die because of lethal anomalies. Termination is often recommended for these cases, though this can lead to persistent grief and even PTSD. Perinatal hospice provides support to parents who choose to continue their pregnancies despite a life-limiting condition, and to parent the child for whatever time is possible, without attempting to hasten death or prolong life.


Treatment of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy:

Substance abuse by pregnant mothers can lead to infants being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, low birth weights, and other complications. Treatment of addictions during pregnancy can improve outcomes for infants and mothers.


Sandy Christiansen, M.D., OB/ GYN 

National Medical Consultant, Care Net

Board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist


Hippocratic Medicine: What does it mean to live the

Hippocratic Oath today and why does it matter?

Learn about the challenges of practicing Hippocratic

medicine during residency and beyond.


Pregnancy Resource Centers: Gain an understanding of the many ways pregnancy resource centers help women during challenging pregnancies.



Cindy Collins


How to Identify Human Trafficking Victims in Health Care Settings, and How to Help:  Research indicates the majority of trafficking women do receive health care at times, but the trafficked condition is usually not recognized by health care providers. Learn to recognize signs of trafficking, and how to help. Cindy’s presentation will be paired with Dr. Lederer’s to draw on research as well as practical experience.



Biblical Bioethics: Despite its ancient origins, the Bible remains a worldwide best seller,  recognized, at least in part, by all major religions of the world and a common thread across countries and cultures. This session will look at the bioethical principles of this historic book, which include the perspective of humanity made in the image of God and provide a foundational understanding for the dignity of the human person.


Providing Options and Resources for Pregnancy in 

International Settings.


Heather Featherston

Director, Lifetime Adoption


Open Adoption: Many believe that adoption is “giving away my baby forever” but open adoption allows for continuing contact, whether photos, phone calls, or mutually agreed upon  visitation at times. Research shows this can be a healthy, positive option for birth mothers and their children.





Rebekah Buell Hagan


Abortion Pill Reversal: Rebekah will share her personal story of unintended pregnancy and her unexpected distress after taking the mifepristone, "the abortion pill."  She sought and obtained a medical reversal – having the effects of mifepristone blocked by progesterone injections – for the chance to give birth to  a healthy child.




Sheila Harper

Founder and President, SaveOne

Emotional and Spiritual Recovery from Reproductive Losses:  Sheila will speak about SaveOne, a global peer-led ministry for helping men and women to recover emotionally and spiritually after reproductive losses. SaveOne has 205 chapters in 21 countries. Sheila will share her personal story about the impact of her own abortion and her recovery process. Sheila will also discuss the impact of sexual abuse from personal experience and her experience in leading sexual abuse recovery groups, using her workbook, Finding You.



Jack Harper

Jack will share his experiences as the Vice President of SaveOne,  as a pastor with years of experience in ministry and his own personal journey from alcoholism and recovery,  which has led to a deep commitment to help others in need of restoration and healing. 






Donna Harrison, M.D. 

Executive Director, A.A.P.L.O.G.  

Medical Abortion (Mifepristone / RU 486):

  • Mechanism of Action and Potential Side Effects.

  • Risks of medical abortion in resource rich nations vs. risks in resource poor nations.


Maternal Mortality –

Causes of Death During Pregnancy and Delivery:


  • What are the major causes of maternal mortality in developing nations?

  • Does abortion reduce maternal mortality? 

Matthew Harrison, M.D.

Medical Advisor, Abortion Pill Rescue

Abortion Pill Reversal:  Some women have regrets after they start the medical abortion regimen and change their mind. Is it possible to reverse the abortion pill (mifepristone)? Is it safe? Is it ethical? Learn from published research and the experience of a physician and a woman who faced this decision.

Katherine Hearn

Katherine will share her own personal story of an abortion in 1976, and discuss how her own healing led to a desire to help other women in the same situation.








Annette Lancaster, M.H.A.

Patient Diversity Coordinator, Cone Health

Annette will participate in a panel discussion, sharing her personal experiences as Health Center Manager at a family planning and abortion clinic.  She will answer questions regarding the  ethical issues that arose in her work there.





Jennifer Lahl, RN, M.A.

President, Center for Bioethics and Culture

Ethics of Egg Donation, Surrogacy, and related Reproductive Technologies: Many women are willing to donate their eggs to help other women become pregnant. But there is evidence that some donors are being exploited by this growing industry. There is evidence that some women have developed health problems attributed to the fertility drugs they have taken, and deaths have been reported. There are also ethical questions concerning the rights of children who are conceived through anonymous egg or sperm donation, or through surrogacy. Regulations of reproductive technology to give protection to all parties are still needed, and here are many unresolved ethical questions.

Laura J. Lederer,  J.D. 

President, Global Centurion

Dr. Lederer will discuss the Health Consequences of Human Trafficking. Trafficking is associated with severe health and mental health risks, as well as forced abortion and repeated abortions; one woman in Dr. Lederer’s research reported 17 abortions. Learn about health consequences of modern-day slavery and how healthcare providers can recognize trafficking and intervene appropriately.



Kathy Schmugge 

The Diocese of Charleston

Kathy will discuss the ethical issues surrounding end of life decisions and the dignity of the human person.


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