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Right to Life panel explores vision for pro-life movement

| Thursday, September 22, 2016

When it comes to living a life oriented toward pro-life values, it’s important to take a step back and examine your actions, David Richter, assistant professor of civil engineering, environmental engineering and earth sciences, said.

“You have to look for inconsistencies,” he said. “If you’re worried about the environment or you’re worried about crisis pregnancy — or whatever that topic might be — use these things as a stepping stone to getting into conversation where you can ask serious questions and blunt questions.”

Richter was one of three panelists at the first installment of “A Pro-Life Vision of the World,” which took place in Geddes Hall on Wednesday night. The event was part of a three-part series of talks co-sponsored by Notre Dame Right to Life and the Catholic Social Tradition (CST) program.

Drawing from Pope Francis’ most recent encyclical, “Laudato Si,” Richter said all humans have a responsibility to care for the Earth, their common home.

“You have to start worrying about our effect on the world — because it does affect other people,” he said.

Todd Whitmore, associate professor of theology and co-director of the CST minor, said it is important to consider quality of life when looking at right to life issues.

As an example, Whitmore noted that the life expectancy in the United States is close to 25 years higher than some of the areas in which he has done fieldwork, such as northern Uganda and South Sudan.

“My 59th birthday is tomorrow,” Whitmore said. “In northern Uganda, I’m dead. I’m not up here talking to you. I’m dead. Twenty-five years is a lot of life to take away from someone.”

Thus, poverty issues — such as access to resources like clean water, food and healthcare — should be considered when promoting pro-life causes, Whitmore said.

A big part of the pro-life movement is recognizing the human dignity of every person, Erin Lynch, a counselor at the pro-life Women’s Care Center, said.

“We promise to welcome everyone who walks through our doors as if they’re our own family,” Lynch said.

Lynch provides support to women with unexpected pregnancies by explaining and providing the resources the Center has to offer. She said the hope and mission of the center is to empower women to choose life and become nurturing parents.

“We recognize that every woman’s in a different place, and every woman has her own situation,” she said. “And we really try to meet each woman where she’s at.”

Notre Dame has a number of resources for pregnant students, Lynch said, offering more than a lot of schools do.

Ultimately, the best way to share pro-life beliefs and empower others to make pro-life choices is to lead by example, she added.

“We show that love through our actions,” Lynch said. “In the business world and in the medical field — we need people everywhere that have that openness to life.”

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About Katie Galioto

Katie, The Observer's former Managing Editor, is a senior majoring in political science, with minors in Business Economics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She's an ex-Walsh Hall resident who now lives off campus and hails from Chanhassen, Minnesota. Follow her on Twitter @katiegalioto.

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