Pro-Life Advocates Confront Notre Dame’s Father Jenkins at March for Life

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 25, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Advocates Confront Notre Dame’s Father Jenkins at March for Life

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 25
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — At the March for Life last Friday, pro-life advocates confronted Father John Jenkins. He is the Notre Dame university president who is under fire for allowing President Barack Obama to give the college’s commencement speech and by giving him an honorary degree.

Jenkins participated in the March for Life for the first time as a way of making amends but he was confronted by pro-life advocates for the fallout from the event.

Specifically, they are upset that he has not gotten Notre Dame officials to withdraw the charges against the 88 pro-life protestors arrested on campus for protesting the Obama speech.

Jenkins was presented with various banners along the parade route, reading "Fr. Jenkins: Free the Notre Dame 88."

Monica Migliorino Miller, the head of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, told today that "the presence of the ND 88–those arrested protesting Obama’s commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame last year and who await trial–was extremely effective during this year’s March for Life."

She said volunteers distributed 10,000 pieces of literature were easily distributed to March for Life participants

"Hundreds of people stopped by the banners to inquire about the on-going court case, took literature and assured us that they would write to Fr. Jenkins and ask him to request the district attorney to drop all charges," Miller said.

Jenkins responded in an interview with the Notre Dame Observer student newspaper today.

“Out of all the controversy from last spring, we wanted to take steps to deepen the pro-life cause,” Jenkins said of his participation in the March for Life. I enjoyed being with them [Notre Dame students]. I admire their efforts and was proud of the way they came out themselves.”

He said he was not bothered by the signs and banners.

“I felt it was important not to let those banners take away from the central goals of the day,” he said. “And I refuse to let them distract from advancing pro-life cause.”

Senior Mary Daly, co-vice president of the Right to Life Club, told the student newspaper she is pleased Jenkins attended the event.

“I think that what we had at the March is a good start by the administration, and I really hope we can expect to see more involvement down the road,” she said.

During the March, Joe Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League, an ND alumnus, spoke to Fr. Jenkins and urged him to do the right thing.

"Some Notre Dame students seemed to understand our position—but many others were cool and aloof when we tried to engage them in conversation. Quite a few were under the false impression that there was nothing much Fr. Jenkins could do," Miller told

"We only hope that the Obama scandal can be resolved by the Notre Dame administration at least making an effort to free the ND 88. These pro-lifers only tried to speak the truth and witness to the sanctity of life in a situation that demanded a strong and vocal witness," she concluded.

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