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ND Right to Life panel reflects on notion of a pro-life world

| Friday, November 18, 2016

The Notre Dame Right to Life Club hosted its final panel on a holistic vision of a pro-life world Thursday night in Geddes Hall.

Suzy Younger, a certified fertility care practitioner, opened the panel by discussing women’s health care. She works in a clinic which provides various reproductive services to women, including fertility management, tracking the progression of pregnancies and helping women reverse chemical abortions.

“The other thing we can do is help women heal from issues they didn’t even know they were suffering with,” she said. “This is the case of a young, just recently college-graduated woman who was engaged to be married and wanted to learn to chart to avoid pregnancy. She thought everything was okay — just wanted to learn to space pregnancy — and I started seeing this [excessive menstrual bleeding] and said ‘You need to see a physician.’”

Professor Carter Snead, the director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, discussed the legalization of physician-assisted suicide and said it should not be legalized. He discussed the New York Task Force on Life and the Law, proposed by Governor Mario Cuomo, to research whether physician-assisted suicide should be legalized.

“ … [Cuomo] composed the panel almost entirely of people who were at the outset conceptually very sympathetic to the notion of legalizing assisted suicide because they thought that would be the best thing to do as a policy manner to operationalize a strong sense of autonomy,” Snead said.

“They reported back to Governor Cuomo and said ‘We think that under no circumstances should the state of New York legalize physician-assisted suicide and the reason is not because we’re not sympathetic to the arguments from autonomy, the arguments from compassion,’” he said.

Snead said the panel said they believed the side effects of legalizing physician-assisted suicide would harm the most marginalized of society.

“‘It’s because the collateral effects, the side effects for the weakest and most vulnerable — for the elderly, for the stigmatized, minorities, for the disabled and for the poor — would be devastating.’”

Following Snead, Professor Margaret Pfeil, from the Department of Theology and the Center for Social Concerns then discussed prison reform and restorative justice from a theological lens.

“So what would be a more merciful system, rooted in God’s love, look like?” Pfeil said. “And for me, I think a restorative approach to justice is actually pretty promising.”

Professor Paolo Carozza, director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies discussed international development and helping the poor abroad. He said a pro-life vision of development needs to acknowledge the value of human life and consists both of individual development and community support to help others develop.

“So you see that by saying ‘What does a comprehensive worldview of life look like?’ it’s not just saying ‘Let’s dedicate ourselves to solving the problem of global poverty,’” Carozza said. “It’s doing it in a particular way that puts the person at the center of development.”

Professor Laura Hollis from the Mendoza College of Business discussed the public and private aspects of civil engagement.

“If we focus exclusively on the law, prohibiting things we find offensive, then I think we’re going to lose the argument,” Hollis said. “So the more important engagement in my opinion is the private engagement.”

Hollis said students need to support those who are facing life issues in areas the law cannot affect.

“What need to be doing is saying ‘We need to be there to provide resources for those that are coming up. We need to provide resources to those that are dealing with a problem pregnancy or an unwanted pregnancy.’ … These are not situations that the law can deal with at all.”

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