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To the stranger with the scissors on South Quad yesterday

| Friday, October 7, 2016

Hello! I don’t believe we’ve been properly acquainted. We are the executive board of Notre Dame Right to Life. In case you aren’t familiar with the mission of our club, we exist to promote and uphold the sanctity of all human life from conception until natural death. We attempt to accomplish this goal through prayer, service, and education, and to help women in crisis pregnancies find alternatives to abortion through service and support, in the spirit of the Catholic Church.

Today marks the end of our annual Respect Life Week, seven days we set aside every October to host a number of events which aim to engage and further the pro-life discussion on Notre Dame’s campus. This year, the theme was “You Are Not Alone,” selected with the intent of reaching out to all those in need of love, support and affirmation of their human dignity. Some of our keynote events for the week were a “Pro-Life Vision of the World” panel, where we addressed the topics of feminism, the death penalty, disability and immigration from a human dignity perspective, and a pregnancy resources training session, where we shared all of the resources the University has to support pregnant and parenting students on campus, as well as its ability to provide loving and non-judgmental counseling and care regardless of any situation a student may be in.

The signs which you cut yesterday were part of our Rose Garden, a display we do every year in memoriam of all lives impacted by abortion. The words on those signs once read: “This display memorializes the unborn whose lives were ended through abortion and all those who have suffered emotionally, spiritually, and physically because of abortion, including mothers, fathers, families, and friends.”

As you probably noticed, the memorial consists of a series of two roses intertwined, one red and one white. The red symbolizes the life of the unborn child, while the white represents the hurt caused to women, men and all others affected by abortion. Alongside the pro-life movement at large, we firmly believe that women are hurt by abortion, and as such seek to support them with healing and love; hence our theme for Respect Life Week 2015: “Love Them Both.” Finally, the intertwined roses are centered around a cross, the source of hope and healing for all.

From our point of view, the memorial is a beautiful thing. We see it as a way to reach out to all those affected by abortion, as well as to encourage all who see the display to pray for a greater respect for the dignity of all human life.

The large, wooden sign which was carried off last night — an impressive feat by the way, it’s quite heavy — featured a quote from Saint John Paul II: “You are irreplaceable, unrepeatable and unique.” We firmly believe in that message and have strived to communicate that not only in regards to unborn children and women facing an unexpected pregnancy, but also to the prisoner on death row, the immigrant, the elderly, the disabled, the poor and the vulnerable.

Now you know us. We want to know you. All we currently know about you is that you have a fine pair of scissors and probably got less sleep than usual last night. If you were in some way offended, scandalized or hurt by our signs, please speak up and say something. Maybe to you it wasn’t a big deal. For all we know, you may have been trying to help. Whatever the case may be, we would like to understand your point of view. With a display like this, our intention is never to divide or hurt, but instead to educate, support and engage the student body in our club’s welcoming mission and community. We are sorry that the former may have been the case and would love to invite you into further conversation sometime soon!

We don’t want to go to the administration or publicly blame anyone for what happened. Honest. We really just want to talk. We are always open to discussions of life issues with anyone and everyone and hope that our mission of love and dignity comes across in all that we do.

So please, come find us! Seriously. Send an email to [email protected]. Message us on Facebook. Attend our LifeFest on North Quad Friday evening from 4 – 6 p.m. to chat with any member of our club over free Chick-fil-A and hot chocolate. Or if that’s too public, let one of us take you out to coffee. Help us to understand what happened, and hopefully we can help you to understand what we are trying to accomplish with our Respect Life Week.

In life and love,

The Notre Dame Right to Life executive board

Oct. 6

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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