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Questions about the March for Life

John Ryan | Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What is it that takes over 600 students and 100 faculty and administrators from duLac to the March for Life? Why have those numbers grown continuously since two students attended the 4th March for Life in 1977, four to six students attended in 1978 and approximately 40 students went on the first bus sponsored by Notre Dame-St. Mary’s Right to Life in 1979? Are there perhaps as many, or even many more, members of the Notre Dame and St. Mary’s communities who would like to be counted among those attending the March for Life, but, above and beyond academic and work schedules, wrestle with identifying themselves as pro-life or being identified by others as being pro-life? Do Notre Dame and St. Mary’s as institutions, Catholic educational institutions, hesitate to be identified as pro-life? Will photographs of Fr. Jenkins in or near the front row of this year’s March for Life be viewed for years to come along side the iconic pictures from the early 1960’s of Fr. Theodore Hesburgh marching arm-in-arm with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?
What would it take for many of us among the current students, faculty, administration and alumni of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s to be willing to be counted right along side the 700 students, faculty members and administrators marching for a pro-life position on Friday? Do many among us have doubts about the ever-growing scientific knowledge as to when human life begins? Is the stumbling block for many the appropriateness of consistently extending the American social contract the nine months from birth to conception, or being equally consistent in preserving that contract through hydration, nutrition and appropriate medical treatment through natural death at the end of life? Would many among these communities view the life issues differently, or be more willing to speak out in defense of life, but for concerns about the effect of a known position on the life issues, especially in defense of life, on career options and opportunities?
Has the moment perhaps arrived for many among us to follow Fr. Hesburgh’s bold example from the racial civil rights movement?
John Ryan
1979 alumnus
ND-SMC Right to Life 1977-79