Notre Dame’s Honoring Pro-Abortion Barack Obama Makes College Less Special

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Notre Dame’s Honoring Pro-Abortion Barack Obama Makes College Less Special

by Maria Vitale Editorial Columnist Note: Maria Vitale is an editorial opinion columnist for She is the Public Relations Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Vitale has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.

It began during my freshman year in high school—my quest to obtain a full scholarship to Notre Dame. Students from my high school regularly received the scholarship, but only after achieving top marks over a four-year period.

Each year of my high school career, I aimed for a straight-A average with an eye toward the Notre Dame prize.

But it was not to be. On what was the saddest day of high school, I found out I had lost out and that two other students from my high school would receive the full ride to Notre Dame. I had applied for admission and been accepted, but I knew that enrollment would mean taking on a student loan debt that would have crippled me.

So, I gave up my dream of attending Notre Dame. Just two years later, however, my sister received the coveted prize—the full scholarship, and I finally got a chance to see the fabled campus.

I mention all of this because Notre Dame has always had a special place in my heart. Perhaps because of my Irish Catholic roots on my mother’s side of the family, I felt that Notre Dame was an academic home.

Therefore, I am deeply saddened by Notre Dame’s decision to invite pro-abortion President Barack Obama as a commencement speaker and to bestow on him an honorary degree.

Despite pleading by America’s Catholic bishops, Obama has become the abortion President.

He has reversed the Mexico City policy, meaning that our tax dollars will be used for organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas. He is trying to wipe out a conscience rule that prevents health care professionals from being forced to take part in abortions. And he has lifted common sense restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research—research in which a human embryo is killed.

Moreover, the President has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would wipe out virtually all restrictions on abortion, including parental consent, informed consent, and 24-hour waiting periods. It would also mean the return of the heinous practice of partial-birth abortion, and could even cause Catholic hospitals to shut down rather than comply.

By giving Obama the podium, Notre Dame is offering a platform to someone who espouses the culture of death, both in word and in deed. This is an affront to Catholicism and to those everywhere who subscribe to the Catholic Church’s teaching on life.

I wouldn’t say that the President should be banned from the campus forever. If he had a true change of heart, if he reversed his pro-death policies and took on the mantle of the pro-life cause, he should be welcomed with open arms. But unless and until then, there should be no honorary degrees, no campus speeches.

Instead, the university should use all the resources at its disposal to educate the President about the value of human life and how abortion represents the ultimate violation of the principles our nation was founded upon.

On its web site, Notre Dame includes a quote from the Rev. Edward Sorin, university founder. “This college will be one of the most powerful means for doing good in this country.”

Notre Dame can only live up to that illustrious mission by speaking out on behalf of society’s most defenseless, the pre-born child. Inviting a pro-abortion speaker to campus, no matter what his or her position in the world, sends a message of intolerance for the “least of our brothers,” those waiting to be born. It also is an insult to the millions of American women who have suffered untold physical and emotional pain as a result of the actions of the abortion industry.

It’s time for Notre Dame to take a courageous stand for life. In this case, that means admitting its mistake and rescinding its invitation to a President who has yet to demonstrate an understanding of the dignity of the pre-born person.

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