Notre Dame Trustee Makes Donations to Pro-Abortion Group

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 23, 2011   |   5:04PM   |   South Bend, IN

The University of Notre Dame can’t seem to get itself out of hot water with pro-life advocates as, a Catholic educational watchdog, indicates one of its Board of Trustee members have given substantial donations to a radical pro-abortion group.

Two weeks ago, the Cardinal Newman Society discovered that Roxanne M. Martino, a newly-appointed member of the trustees board, contributed $16,150 to the pro-abortion group EMILY’s List between 2005 and 2008. The watchdog group also uncovered information showing Martino gave donations to the Chicago Foundation for Women, which supports various pro-abortion groups including Planned Parenthood.

Martino has given a total of somewhere between $3,250 and $5,996 to the pro-abortion Chicago Foundation for Women between 2004 and 2011, CNS notes.

“During those years, the Chicago Foundation for Women made grants to the Chicago Abortion Fund, Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, the ACLU Reproductive Rights Project, and Black Women for Reproductive Justice,” CNS reports. “The Foundation’s website also notes that it supports the Illinois Campaign for Reproductive Health and Access, which seeks “to organize around the advancement of a broad pro-active, pro-choice agenda.”

Responding to the donations, CNS said, “The election of a trustee who has supported blatantly pro-abortion organizations does not bode well for Notre Dame’s effort to prove its pro-life commitment.”

The Sycamore Trust, the alumni group concerned for Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, followed up on the CNS report and contacted Notre Dame officials, who did not dispute the information in the CNS report. In fact, the donations to pro-abortion groups from Martino is higher than previously established.

“The full picture is even more damning. We have checked the Federal Election Commission reports and find that her contributions have been larger, over a longer period, and so recent as fairly to be called current,” Sycamore Trust indicates. “Martino began contributing to Emily’s List in 1998, gave about $5,000.00 in every year since 2004, and made her most recent contribution of $5,000.00 on December 23, 2010. The total is $27,150.00.”

“It should be obvious that such a long record of consistent, substantial, and recent contributions to Emily’s List should be an absolute disqualification for service on the governing body of a Catholic university. But we now learn from an Internet article by William McGurn (ND ’80) of the Wall Street Journal that the Chairman of the Board, Richard Notebaert, insists it is not,” the group continues. “Notebaert has sent a memo to board members in which he claimed that Ms. Martino simply made a lot of innocent mistakes. After declaring without any visible support that Mrs. Martino is “fully supportive of Church teaching on the sanctity of human life,” the Chairman asserted: “She has through the years contributed to organizations that provide a wide range of important services and support to women. She did not realize, however, that several of these organizations also take a pro-choice position This is not her personal position….”

The group disputes the characterization that the premier pro-abortion political group — which requires candidates it supports to back partial-birth abortions and taxpayer funding of abortions — is one that provides “a wide range of important services and support to women.”

“Are we to suppose she never read any of its solicitation or other literature?  A CEO of an investment firm managing billions of dollars whose stock in trade is knowing all there is to know about everything it touches?” Sycamore writes.

“The real question now is whether the Fellows and the Board will accept this blazingly infirm explanation,” it adds. “As matters stand, all know what to think of the University’s pro-life protestations.”