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A 1972 Woman: Welcome from Notre Dame Right to Life

| Friday, August 25, 2023

Last semester, the women of Notre Dame were surprised with a ball cap celebrating 50 years of women at the University. They were an immediate success. Women — and a few lucky men — filled campus with the message of 1972: that women are valued and celebrated members of the Notre Dame family.

However, during the 1972 school year, women were not the only buzz on campus. The abortion debate was on everyone’s mind. Pages of The Observer were filled with debates on contraception and abortion, trying to navigate Notre Dame’s place in the brave new world. From this conversation, the nation’s first pro-life club was born: Irish Fighting for Life.

For this reason, 1972 is a special number for Right to Life. However, its symbolism goes further than merely our founding year. 1972 is a pro-life symbol because it was the last year our country had some semblance of a culture of life before the Roe v. Wade decision. A 1972 woman is a Roe-free woman. 

The timely appearance of these celebratory hats was nothing short of providential. As the women of Notre Dame ventured together once again into a Roe-free world, we were gifted with this symbol of solidarity. We propose 1972 as a beacon of hope for Notre Dame women — that we embrace with confidence this new world where children need not be our enemies and our beautiful, life-giving bodies not be misunderstood as handicaps to our equality. 

We are here. We are free. And we are at a life-affirming, pro-woman University that will not allow the creation of new life to stunt the dreams of any of its students.

Notre Dame vows that any pregnant student will receive the full support of the University, accommodations for coursework and housing, free pregnancy tests, physician appointments and counseling at the Family Resource Center both during and after the pregnancy. Our South Bend community pledges its full support through the multitude of resources found on hermichiana.org. All 500-plus members of Notre Dame Right to Life promise to spiritually, emotionally and physically support any pregnant student in need. This is what building a culture of life looks like.

For students interested in getting involved with pro-life efforts on campus, visit our website righttolife.nd.edu where you can join our email list, access our events, meet our team and find out what we’re all about. In the first month of the semester, we will host a talk by law professor O. Carter Snead, a debate over the death penalty and the annual Life Fest and club retreat. We’d love to see you there!

Here’s to 1972: the dawn of a new horizon for Notre Dame women and one we welcome with open arms. May we live this year in solidarity with one another and with the unborn as we fight every day for a more just and peaceful society where all life is valued from conception to natural death.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, pray for us!

Kylie Gallegos

President of Notre Dame Right to Life

Aug. 4

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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