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Response to ‘The twilight zone’

| Thursday, January 30, 2020

I was deeply troubled upon reading Brennan Buhr’s Monday column, “The twilight zone.” I would like to address Buhr on several points he brings up in his column.

First, it is true that reproductive rights and safe access to abortion are one of the principles guiding the Women’s March movement. However, the Women’s March did not come about as a pro-abortion event. The first Women’s March in 2017, the day after our president was elected, occurred because women were standing up to protect their futures. Women feared the normalization of being “grabbed by the p—y.” Women, still rising out of a long history of injustice, gathered together to call for justice and equality. To decry this movement, then, is to ignore this history of injustice perpetuated by men in power. To decry this movement is to ignore the importance of intersectionality and to ignore the fact that women are still not equal to men in our society. You yourself state, “the name ‘Women’s March’ alone implies that this annual festival should take a big-tent approach to women’s diverse perspectives.” In its focus on intersectional feminism, this is exactly what the women’s movement seeks to foster.

Second, your use of the rhetoric of invasion presents a narrow-minded view of who belongs on this campus. Your choice of words, particularly “the church’s enemies cannot be allowed to infiltrate our University,” espouses a culture of fear and shows a lack of respect for students on this campus whose views differ from your own. As an attendee of the March for Life, you had the immense privilege of having the University’s support and funding to travel several states away, miss class and have the opportunity to fight for a cause that you believe deeply in. While you got to do this alongside 700 other students, the trip to Chicago for the Women’s March had spots for only 80 students. While Right to Life thrives at Notre Dame, pro-choice organizations are not recognized by the campus community. Thus, to paint the pro-life stance as being “infiltrated” by some sort of subversive liberal agenda is utter falsehood.

I attended the Chicago Women’s March two weeks ago, and yes, I was able to do so because I rode a bus sponsored by the College Democrats. You attended the March for Life this past weekend, and you were able to do so because you rode a bus sponsored by the Right to Life club. How, then, can you call out student government’s offering of the opportunity to attend the Women’s March when you had that same opportunity to travel to D.C. to fight for something you believe in? Furthermore, you go so far as to refer to the Women’s March as a “quasi-liturgical festival [that] unwaveringly celebrates death as progress.” I ask you to consider whether you have the position to make this dangerously sweeping generalization about the Women’s March, when I feel fairly safe to assume that you did not attend the event. At the March, women and men of all ages and backgrounds walked together, finding solidarity in the shared cause of justice, and we posed proudly with a Notre Dame flag. We were not by any means “celebrating death as progress”; advocacy groups passed out pins promoting LGBTQ+ rights and gun violence prevention. Yes, some people at the Women’s March were calling for reproductive rights and access to safe and legal abortion, but that is their prerogative. Just as you had the right to stand up for your beliefs at the March for Life, so too did the people who used the Women’s March as a space for standing up for reproductive rights.

Finally, your proposal to require all student body president candidates to espouse a uniform position regarding abortion is extremely problematic. This is completely antithetical to Notre Dame’s mission to promote open dialogue and welcome diverse points of view. You describe the pro-choice movement as totalitarian, but what would truly be a mark of totalitarianism would be denying students candidacy for office based on their beliefs and restricting their opportunity to serve their fellow students on ideological lines.

I have many friends on this campus, unequivocally pro-life women and men, who fight for social justice and are ardent feminists while still espousing the Church’s views on abortion. I have many friends on this campus who fight for social justice in this same way, while believing in a woman’s right to choose. Before you continue to perpetuate the comparison between “The Twilight Zone” and a movement that celebrates women and promotes equal rights, pause to consider what message your column sends to the women on campus, to the pro-life feminists on campus and to the pro-choice members of our community who deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else. It saddens me that you have used this space to decry an event and movement whose wish is to further justice and equality in our world.

Bridget Kelley is a sophomore at Notre Dame. She can be contacted at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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