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Examining pro-life values

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, October 11, 2006

As I walked through the rows of crosses on South Quad last week, I recalled the first, and only, meeting of the Right to Life club I attended. Two years ago, I listened expectantly to their student leaders and heard the mission statement. I was told of the popularity of abortion and the proposed actions taken by the club to help stop it. The meeting ended. As everyone filed out of the LaFortune room, I followed, rather dissatisfied. Surely this could not have been the entirety of the meeting.

The Catholic “pro-life” mission is the protection of life from the time of conception until natural death. This means that it is not just a matter of abortion, but of any injustice against the human person in which the inherent sanctity of a person is ignored. As a potential member of the club, I perused the activities and lectures; the topics were valuable and well meant, but it was decidedly abortion-focused.

A couple months after this meeting the courts ruled against the continuation of medical care for Terri Schiavo; the courts ruled that she had no right to life. Where was the Right to Life outcry on campus? Would her case have more weight if she were still a fetus? I realize the issue of abortion is a critical topic today, but we cannot lose sight of what it is to be pro-life. The Right to Life club avows that it is pro-life, but what is it but the Anti-Abortion league?

The ultimate question is this: who are we to narrow the Catholic understanding of pro-life to include abortion, but exclude all other issues? We cannot pick and choose. If we wish to be pro-life, we must seek to protect all those in society who have no voice. Where are the crosses for those thousands dying from capital punishment each year? The maltreated elderly and mentally disabled? The euthanasia victims? The mistreated prisoners of war? The hungry in Africa? Each of these groups has a right to life, but these people, just like the child in the womb, are being passed over by society.

I realize that to give all these issues their proper due is a monumental task for any one group on Notre Dame’s campus, but I believe simply raising awareness of these issues and some sort of address by the Right to Life club is in order. Perhaps donate some money from the football concession stand to other organizations besides the anti-abortion organizations or sponsor more lectures that incorporate a fuller understanding of being pro-life. As the named “Right to Life” club on campus, to ignore other groups where the sanctity of human life is threatened is not only an injustice to these groups, but is also a disservice to the Notre Dame community, which has a right to be informed of these issues by the group that claims to protect them. So great are the injustices to the sanctity of life in today’s world that we cannot, in the Catholic call for social justice, fight for the end of abortion, while turning a deaf ear to all the rest.

Mary DeBroeck


McGlinn Hall

Oct. 9