Students react to the reversal of Roe v. Wade

On June 24, 2022, Dobbs v. Jackson overturned the precedent set in Roe v. Wade.

In the original Roe v. Wade decision, the U.S. Supreme Court established that women have the right to privacy with their doctor, and therefore states could not interfere with a woman’s choice to get an abortion.

Dobbs v. Jackson ruled that the right to privacy is not explicit within the Constitution, meaning it will now be up to the states to decide if abortions are allowed.

The decision has already had profound impacts across the country, but on a Catholic campus with a number of progressive students, the controversy is even more pronounced.

Campus groups against abortion have signaled their approval of overturning Roe.

One club that has actively spoken about its positive opinion on the decision is Notre Dame Right To Life. Their formal statement on Dobbs can be read on their website. 

Merlot Fogarty, president of Right To Life, said she feels the Supreme Court has now made the right decision.

“I definitely think that Roe was wrongly decided at the very beginning. If you do read the Dobbs decision, the right to privacy really isn’t mentioned,” Fogarty said. 

She said the reversal was important as an admission of mistakes made by past courts. 

“I think this decision definitely opened people up to the awareness that there can be wrongly-decided cases, and there can be mistakes made by the Supreme Court,” Fogarty said. 

Fogarty was in Indianapolis when a new abortion bill for the state of Indiana was debated. It will soon become Indiana law that women cannot get abortions with few exceptions, such as rape, incest, health of the mother and fatal fetal abnormalities, according to reporting by the Indianapolis Star.

Fogarty said she was glad Indiana called a special session to pass this bill. She only wishes the bill were stricter. 

For instance, Fogarty said she feels that rape is “not the fault of the baby” and that abortion punishes the fetus for its father’s crime.

“We’re able to work on getting rid of these exceptions and valuing life, regardless of the circumstances of the conception,” Fogarty said. 

But there is also a side to the debate unhappy with the decision. Irish 4 Reproductive Health, a leading group in support of reproductive health access, declined The Observer’s request to speak in an interview.

“Given the work that we do as an organization and the contentious nature of the political landscape on these issues right now, we would rather not have our positions beyond that up for interpretation,” the group said in an email.

Katie Werner, communications director of College Democrats and vice president of Jewish Club, spoke for the opposing side. She said she is not representing the clubs she is a member of in this interview. 

[Editor’s note: Werner is a former news writer for The Observer.]

Having lived in the southern United States for the past six years, Werner said the Dobbs decision will lead to a harsh reality for her and her friends back home. 

“I’m very concerned, because I think that the nearest abortion clinic, like even Planned Parenthood for cheaper healthcare, is like six to eight hours away,” she said.

Beyond concerns for her female friends, Werner said the decision in the Dobbs case has religious implications. She is involved in her Jewish faith and said she follows certain expectations that her religious texts place on her that do not follow the Dobbs decision. 

“The reformed Jewish sect is pro-choice,” Werner said.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that there is no mention of privacy in the Constitution, Werner worries it will affect LBGTQ+ rights, contraceptive rights and more.

“It’s super dangerous because they’re gonna start taking so many progressive rights,” she said. 

Werner said she and many of her friends share the same view on the situation but are unsure how to move forward because the campus atmosphere are making it hard for people with her views to take a stand. 

“I’m kind of at a loss, and there’s a lot of silence, which is awful. It’s only coming from pro-choicers, obviously, so it’s just so unfair,” Werner said.

The new Indiana abortion bill will take effect on Sept. 15.

Emma Duffy

Contact Emma at


A welcome from Notre Dame Right to Life

It’s the start of a new, beautiful fall semester here at Our Lady’s University, and Notre Dame Right to Life (NDRtL) wants to extend a warm welcome to students returning to campus and all new students who are joining the Notre Dame family this school year! We are so happy to have you here. 

We are so excited to begin this year’s line-up of amazing speakers, service opportunities, social events, dialogue, education and activism. This is, after all, the first year ever that NDRtL has existed in a world without Roe.

NDRtL is the largest non-academic student-run club on campus. Our mission is to promote a culture of life in the Notre Dame community through education, service and prayer. We believe that all life has value, from conception to natural death. Our programming seeks to serve students at Notre Dame by promoting and upholding the sanctity of all human life. 

Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, it is more important than ever for students to get involved in pro-life initiatives. We have waited 50 years for this first step in the fight against abortion. Yet this is only the first step. Building a culture of life means creating a society in which abortion is not only illegal, but also unthinkable. 

This means providing resources and aid to women in unplanned pregnancies, supporting candidates and legislation that stand for strong adoption and foster care reform bills, child support and mandatory maternity leave and finally, ensuring that each and every individual in our society knows and cherishes the unique, unrepeatable life and dignity of every human being from the moment of conception. 

As this year progresses, we will continue to reflect on the future of the pro-life movement and the state of our culture. We will not stop until every woman, child and family is treated with dignity and love in both the culture and the law. 

In addition to post-Roe initiatives, Right to Life holds many events throughout the semester which help to promote dialogue on life issues and bring awareness to the places in our society where the most vulnerable among us are forgotten. This year, we are excited to announce the inaugural Right to Life retreat, “Serve One Another Humbly With Love” (Galatians 5:13), which will be held on September 3, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

“Life Fest,” the annual kick-off event for Right to Life, a celebration of the joy of each and every life within the Notre Dame family, will be on September 2 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on South Quad. Any and all are welcome for burgers and hot dogs, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy, cookie decorating, games, tie dye and fellowship!

As a Catholic club, NDRtL chooses a yearly patron saint both to guide and strengthen the spiritual dimension of our club’s initiatives. For the 2022-2023 school year, NDRtL’s patron saint will be St. Joseph! St. Joseph is titled the “Pillar of Families,” “hope in difficulties,” “protector and patron of the unborn” and “patron of fathers.” We recognize that fatherhood is invaluable and essential to promoting a culture of life. In a post-Roe America, fathers will need to step up, and St. Joseph will be their guide. Further spirituality initiatives include monthly Right to Life Mass in the Basilica, all-night adoration and weekly Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the Grotto for the unborn. 

Furthermore, this year for service is going to be huge! We have so many moms and families to help and we cannot wait to get started. Our service initiatives range from baby showers for moms in the community, free weekly babysitting for parenting students and faculty, spending time with the elderly at Holy Cross Village, raising money for a mom who chose life that we’ve adopted through “Let Them Live,” volunteering at the Women’s Care Center or Hannah’s House and so much more! 

Our education branch seeks to serve the Notre Dame community by providing the platform for conversation and dialogue and to open the door to changing hearts and minds in the Notre Dame community. We have a lineup of some wonderful (and very famous!) speakers coming our way this fall that you won’t want to miss out on. Lastly, we are ecstatic to announce we are partnering with the Saint Joseph FertilityCare Center to host a series on Natural Family Planning and living a comprehensive pro-life ethic that combines science and faith. 

While some may argue otherwise, we want to emphasize: We are a non-partisan club. All are welcome to participate in dialogue and events with NDRtL, and we joyfully receive newcomers into the Right to Life family. We recognize the controversy of the pro-life identity and the difficult conversations that are being had on all life issues across our nation. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or would just like to chat, please stop by our office hours! We have an open door for any and all who would like to engage — visit our website for hours. 

We strive to root our work in prayer and set all of our hardships at the feet of Christ, in constant intercession with Our Beloved Lady, the Virgin Mary. We maintain that every individual is made in the image and likeness of God and as such should be treated with dignity and kindness in all circumstances. Mothers, fathers, children, the elderly, those in prison, the disabled and each and every one of you deserve the dignity and respect owed to a child of God. 

Whether you are already an active member of the club or you are just interested in seeing what RtL has to offer, we would be honored to work joyfully alongside you to promote a culture of life here at Our Lady’s university. We will be praying for each and every one of you. 

If you or someone you know is going through an unplanned pregnancy, you are not alone! Notre Dame is committed to providing resources and helping students choose life. Contact Peggy at ND’s Family Resource Center (, 574-631-3000). Visit one of the several local Women’s Care Centers for free, confidential pregnancy resources (574-234-0363). Browse local resources via, or contact NDRtL at with any questions you may have! We are here to serve! Go Irish, Save Babies!

Saint Joseph, pray for us!

In Christ,

Merlot Fogarty


president, Notre Dame Right to Life

Aug. 22

Editor’s note: A previous version of this letter to the editor used the terminology “anti-abortion” instead of “pro-life” due to The Observer’s adherence to AP style. The wording was changed back as the letter represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. The Observer regrets this error.

Letter to the Editor

The views expressed in this letter are not necessarily those of The Observer.