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A dare to come to Lila Rose

| Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hello Notre Dame community. I have a dare for you.

This week is Respect Life Week on campus, part of the nationwide Respect Life Month of October. The point of the week is to highlight all the various ways how this Notre Dame community can come together and find common ground on meeting each other in love, and respecting the dignity of all people. Thursday evening will be the keystone event of the week, when Lila Rose comes to visit campus and give a lecture on the life issue.

If you don’t know, Lila Rose is one of the brightest young pro-life activists in the country. At only 29 years old, she is the president and founder of Live Action, the famed non-profit that is responsible for the controversial undercover Planned Parenthood videos that have been coming out since 2011. Lila has been on numerous media stations and talk shows advocating for life and is arguably the most articulate and passionate defender of the cause in the nation.

If you think you’re pro-choice, I dare you to come here Lila’s talk. I offer this dare not to be controversial or hard-edged, but because I want you to ask yourself the hardest questions possible about what you believe, because otherwise you don’t really have a solid or grounded belief. As a PLS major, I have to do this all the time; questioning myself and others is what I live for. Hearing the hardest possible arguments from (what you think is) the other side is the best way to understand what you yourself truly believe and to find the truth. As a passionate pro-lifer, I offer Lila Rose as the best spokeswoman for my side. She is firm and impassioned, young and energetic, but thoughtful and gentle. She responds with love and positivity, looking to fight for the woman and for the child. If you think you’re pro-choice, I’m not asking you to come to change your mind (though of course I’d always welcome that). I am asking you to give Lila Rose, and other pro-life millennials, the chance to ask you how deeply your beliefs go.

If you’re pro-woman and pro-feminism, I think you will find that you agree with Lila. One of her main talking points revolves around “fighting for them both: woman and child.” As a young woman herself, she understands the woman’s point-of-view as well as anyone. If you’re in favor of fighting poverty by directing government aid to young pregnant women, I think you’ll agree with Lila. She’ll show you how Planned Parenthood is nowhere near the best option for women or for federal spending. If you’re in favor of racial justice, I think you’ll agree with Lila. Part of her activism has been devoted to her project fighting racism in reproductive medical ethics.

I’m pro-woman, pro-government-aid-to-women, and pro-racial justice. I dare you to come to Lila Rose, and see if you really, truly, honestly do disagree with her and with me. This appeal is all-inclusive: pro-choice Catholics, pro-choice agnostics, the “personally pro-life but who am I to enforce my view on others” type, the unsure and undecided people in the middle, Hillary voters, Bernie lovers, and social justice warriors. To all of you I offer a friendly challenge — come to Notre Dame Right to Life’s lecture with Lila Rose (this Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library), and see that you just might walk away with an oh-so-slightly different perspective.

I dare you. You won’t.


John Paul Ferguson

Class of 2020

Oct. 3

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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