The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Getting serious about unplanned pregnancies

Andrew Lynch | Friday, April 5, 2013

On Tuesday, the Observer ran its traditional satirical edition of the Absurder. Listed in the Classifieds page was a personal ad claiming: “UNPLANNED PREGNANCY:  You’re going to have to go it alone. This is Notre Dame, stupid.” This poor attempt at humor is very disappointing, considering both the facts of the matter and the Observer’s own history in condemning this kind of behavior.
Last September, the Observer staff wrote an editorial condemning the jokes that resulted from NDSP’s reporting of “forcible fondling” attacks on students. The staff wrote “For one person on campus, each crime alert wasn’t a joke. It was a reminder of a situation that was probably scary and scarring. And that’s an alliteration that isn’t quite as hilarious.” While the situation is different from a sexual assault, for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, a joke in the student newspaper about a lack of support can only deepen anxieties about a situation that is scary and potentially scarring.
Notre Dame has gone to great lengths to promote and strengthen its resources for unplanned pregnancies. It has stressed that while Notre Dame is a Catholic university that promotes the Church’s teachings regarding sexual morality, it will make every effort to help students in unplanned pregnancies with “caring, non-judgmental, professional assistance and support.” The administration has particularly stressed that you do not have to leave Notre Dame, that the university will not press disciplinary action and will make every effort to accommodate a students needs with coursework and housing.
If the editors of the Observer really do care about students in unplanned pregnancies, they should seek to promote the resources available for those students, instead of encouraging false stereotypes. Regardless of your opinion of the University’s stance on Catholic sexual ethics, we can all agree that women in unplanned pregnancies require the love and support of the entire Notre Dame community. Making a joke out of unplanned pregnancy is not okay.
To take a page from the editors, “That’s not who we are. That’s not Notre Dame.”

Andrew Lynch
Apr. 4