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Right to life’ not single-issue

Letter to the Editor | Friday, October 13, 2006

In her letter (“Examining Pro-Life Values,” Oct. 11) Mary DeBroeck correctly asserts that “in the Catholic call for social justice,” one cannot fight “for an end to abortion while turning a deaf ear to all the rest” of the injustices committed against human life. It is necessary to point out two fallacies that need to be clarified in order for Notre Dame Right to Life to be portrayed accurately.

Having “attended her first and only meeting” of the club two years ago, DeBroeck is unaware of the extent of the activities of the organization. Based on her expansive and sound pro-life convictions, she finds Notre Dame Right to Life at fault for not focusing on issues such as “capital punishment, mistreated and mentally disabled, euthanasia victims, mistreated prisoners of war, as well as the hungry in Africa.” Such an accusation is simply not true.

Precisely because the club seeks to build an entire culture of life based on the innate dignity of every human person, the club cannot and does not overlook the necessity of raising awareness of all the injustices committed against the human person. Last year, the club sponsored a discussion and lecture on the death penalty. Right to Life co-sponsored the Edith Stein Project, a conference that focused on, among other issues, women’s eating disorders and violence against women. The club has also invited speakers to discuss issues ranging from stem-cell research, to euthanasia and end-of-life issues, to contraception. Making the claim that the club neglects issues other than abortion is being misinformed.

Secondly, Pope John Paul II reminds us in “The Gospel of Life,” “among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable.” The Second Vatican Council in “Gaudium et Spes” defines abortion, together with infanticide, an “unspeakable crime.”

DeBroeck correctly recognizes that Notre Dame Right to Life is decidedly “abortion focused.” While every crime against the life of a human being is a deplorable sin that cries out for vengeance to God, the moral gravity and social effects of “thousands dying from capital punishment each year” cannot be equated with the one million and six hundred thousand innocent human beings killed yearly by surgical abortion in our country alone.

“No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor,” John Paul II reminds us.

We are grateful to DeBroeck for reminding the Notre Dame community of the necessity of upholding the dignity of all human life and of fighting to end injustices on many fronts. Notre Dame Right to Life frequently cooperates with many other campus organizations that seek to fight against these injustices. It is the specific goal and mission of this organization, however, to bring to the forefront of the public forum the absolute necessity of recognizing that the fight against abortion is of fundamental importance to building a culture of life.

John Sikorski


Stanford Hall

Oct. 11