Letter to the Editor

It is regrettable that no one at the Center for the Ethics and Culture was asked to offer a comment or reflection for the Rover’s recently published article entitled “University Shuts Down ND Fund to Protect Human Life”  (February 7, 2013). Since the inception of the Fund to Protect Human Life, the Center has been its sole operational arm, and has planned, staffed, and publicized every initiative that it has underwritten.  The Center will continue in this role as the balance of the Fund’s resources is allocated (by the Fund to Protect Human Life’s Steering Committee, of which I am a member).

Had the Center been asked, we would have reassured readers in the strongest possible terms of our unwavering commitment to promoting the dignity of unborn human life through teaching, research, and dialogue, both here on campus and in the public square.  To that end, we have recently created a dedicated Right to Life Fund that will be used to continue (and expand) the excellent pro-life programming and initiatives sponsored by the Fund to Protect Human Life, including the Vita Institute, the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal, the Bread of Life Dinner/lecture series, ND’s University Faculty for Life chapter, the pro-life advertising campaign, and grants for students and faculty to attend the annual March for Life in Washington, DC.

Alongside these projects, the Center is developing a new summer internship program in which students will have the opportunity to work for leading pro-life organizations (such as the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Women’s Care Center, and Project Rachel).  The Center is also creating a new public policy initiative that aims to bring the voices of eminent pro-life scholars to the public square by way of white papers, Congressional testimony, monographs, and the like.

Now is not the time to be discouraged about Notre Dame’s role in the pro-life movement.  A record number of Notre Dame students (over 500) recently had the honor of leading the annual March for Life in Washington, where they were joined by 100 faculty, staff, and officers of the university (including Father Jenkins).  For our part, we at the Center for Ethics and Culture are unshakably dedicated to helping Notre Dame to fulfill its mission as an indispensable, countercultural beacon for life within the community of elite universities and a voice in the great global public square on behalf of the dignity and matchless worth of every member of the human family.

O. Carter Snead is the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture and Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame.