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Notre Dame is too silent in the fight for life

| Thursday, September 12, 2019

On Sept. 13, 1984, I sat in Washington Hall as a Notre Dame sophomore when then-governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, delivered his address about being a Catholic politician in America, specifically addressing the topic of abortion. I remember thinking then that he seemed to be rationalizing inaction. Was he really opposed to abortion? Was he using his faith as a reason to not make the decisions that protected the lives of the unborn?

Much has happened since then. The predictions made by Pope John Paul II in his book Evangelium Vitae are coming true. The Culture of Death is eating away at life at its beginnings and the very end. Abortion is not only being practiced, but celebrated. The media and schools are normalizing the practice. States such as New York, Virginia and Illinois have passed draconian laws that allow abortion to the moment of birth and infanticide if a child survives abortion. The candidates currently participating in Democrat presidential debates nearly all favor the most radical of abortion laws.

Euphemisms such as reproductive rights, women’s health care and choice are used to whitewash the facts. Biology confirms that a unique human life begins at conception. The fetal heart beats within 4-6 weeks of conception and the organs formed by 12 weeks. Surgery done on fetuses requires anesthesia to prevent pain. 4D ultrasounds unequivocally confirm the humanity of the unborn child. It is science, not faith, which demonstrates these realities.

In what other circumstance is one individual allowed to determine the value or existence of another’s life?

Yet, Notre Dame’s administration seems to be relatively quiet on the issue, and even deferential to those who favor abortion rights. The University conferred an honorary degree on former U.S. President Barack Obama and presented the Laetare Medal to former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. They made up the most pro-abortion administration in history.

University President Fr. John Jenkins goes to the March for Life each year and occasionally writes about the respect for life. That is not enough. As the president of the leading Catholic university in the country, if not world, he needs to speak out loudly to counter the voices of “Mayor Pete,” Bernie Sanders, Andrew Cuomo and others who unabashedly call for ever-increasing abortion.

Mario Cuomo may have been able to hide behind “not wanting to impose his faith on others” but Fr. Jenkins and the Holy Cross Order that runs Notre Dame should not. Imagine if Mr. Cuomo had taken a principled stand all those years ago — where would we be now?

It is long time for Notre Dame’s leadership to take a clear and vocal stand for life and not follow Governor Cuomo’s cowardly example.

Stephen O’Neil

class of 1987

sept. 10

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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