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Right to Life club aims to expand initiatives in coming year

| Friday, August 31, 2018

Since 1974, Notre Dame’s Right to Life club has been fighting to “promote and uphold the sanctity of all human life from conception until natural death,” as stated in its mission. During the upcoming school year, the organization hopes to further emphasize and implement its original values while still expanding the breadth of its work.

The club was founded after the Roe v. Wade decision and continues to advocate the pro-life movement. President and senior Sadie Facile said her goal is to ensure that Right to Life reflects the needs and wants of Notre Dame’s campus.

“We’ve added commissions to reflect social justice issues that we find concerning,” Facile said. “We started an immigration commission this year to work on education and events that inform on the current political situation.”

The club also started a commission on sexual dignity for this school year that will work with the club’s position on contraception. Facile said this commission will strive to enhance clarity, education and advocacy surrounding the club’s position that it shares with the Catholic Church.

“The sexual integrity commission is concerned with promoting a holistic vision of the human person and that respects the dignity of all people,” senior and vice president of communications Matt Connell said.

Last year the club added a babysitting commission to its program but hopes to expand this service to fit the needs of Notre Dame graduate students.

In light of its new and reformed commissions, Right to Life has grown over the past several years in terms of member involvement and topics explored.

“Instead of focusing specifically on abortion, while that is a big part of our mission, we also promote a holistic view,” Facile said. “We’ve started incorporating immigration, those with disability and those who are elderly.”

Furthermore, Right to Life is aiming to make prayer a larger priority in the club and to utilize prayer to create a culture of life on campus, club officers said.

Connell emphasized the importance of using those who have voices to represent those who may be voiceless or marginalized. Facile said she sees a need for Right to Life at Notre Dame because of political and social turmoil that has permeated college campuses.

“The world has a lot of brokenness,” Facile said. “We can see brokenness in sex scandals in Philadelphia. We see brokenness in the pain with immigration and separated families. Our club personally sees it a lot in the need for abortion in society. Our club stands to project love and dignity into those situations and seeks to affirm everyone of their worth. We’re trying to spread love in a very broken society.”

Right to Life’s first major event is Respect Life Week, which will take place during the first week of October. Connell said the club wants to emphasize the week’s takeaway, which is advocating both a pro-woman and pro-life philosophy.

In addition to Respect Life Masses once a month in the Basilica and Angelus prayer weekly outside the Main Building, Right to Life will promote education and advocacy events this semester. These events include apologetics training and pregnancy resource training aimed at giving options to students on campus who may be pregnant. Connell said these resources are available to anyone who wants to learn more and help increase member involvement.

A few major goals the club has for this year are to grow its babysitting service, form a strong partnership with the family resource center and work to see that an abortion clinic does not open in South Bend.

“We really want to engage the student body and get people who don’t agree with our positions on certain issues to turn out to events and engage with us,” Connell said. “We also want to meet them where they’re at and engage with that.”

Through its service commission, Right to Life works with Hannah’s House, which is a house for pregnant women and moms, and Project Mom, which is an organization that fundraises for baby showers for moms who otherwise would not receive one. In addition, Right to Life partners with senior residence club Holy Cross Village, Holy Family Adoption Agency and St. Joseph Health System Fertility Care Center.

“We want to engage with people who are pro-life but also those who aren’t because we really value dialogue,” Facile said. “In those conversations we explore the depth of human dignity and we learn so much from different dialogue. We’re open to people talking to us.”

The first all-club meeting for Right to Life will take place Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. in the LaFortune Ballroom.

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