Notre Dame Right to Life is a student group on campus aimed at developing a culture of life. With well over 600 students participating in events and over 150 activities occurring each school year, Right to Life hopes to make great strides in bringing this culture to campus in the upcoming year. The club mission statement is “to promote and uphold the dignity, sanctity, and worth of all human life from conception to natural death” through education, service, prayer, and community. A culture of life is a culture that both acknowledges and embraces this inherent dignity of every human being. The phrase ‘culture of life’ was popularized by Pope John Paul II, who contrasted this notion to present culture, one which he deemed a ‘culture of death.’ The culture of death involves a throwaway mentality in which human life begins to lose recognition of its value and some lives are deemed to be worth more than others.
We live in a world where a child who is unwanted can be surgically removed and disposed of through abortion. A life that is seen as inconvenient can be rejected. Children who are born with a preexisting condition or an extra chromosome may be considered a burden, and the parents can successfully sue for ‘wrongful birth.’ In parts of this world, capital punishment, euthanasia, and unjust war are all accepted by law. Human rights violations such as human trafficking, oppression of women and children, enslavement, and genocide still exist in areas of the world and can go unacknowledged.
Notre Dame Right to Life aims to develop a culture of life by affirming the value of each and every human life. This includes every single member of the Notre Dame student body, the South Bend community, our nation, and our world. The group intends to foster an environment in which every life is treated with respect and love, and not a single person goes unacknowledged or unappreciated.
A culture of life builds up the individual and upholds their worth. Each and every human life has value beyond measure, which must be acknowledged, revered, and celebrated. Right to Life has employed a Joys of Life Team, which seeks to embrace the simple joys that life brings. It intends to develop a healthy outlook on life amongst the student body, in which students build each other up and support their neighbors. This is done through campus celebrations and festivities which remind students of how enjoyable life can be. It also includes events such as writing letters of support to women in crisis pregnancies, handing out treat bags to students stressing before exams, and other actions that build morale of the individual.
A culture of life encourages all people to reach out and help those in need. It is a culture which acknowledges those who are struggling, and brings individuals together as a community to lend a hand. ND Right to Life supports the community through service at several local organizations. This includes work with women and men in crisis pregnancies, new parents, children with special needs, and senior citizens. The club throws a baby shower each semester for women in crisis pregnancies who need support and acceptance in a challenging time of their life. Events such as these develop a community that directly acknowledges the dignity of all people, and is universally accepting.
A culture of life does not stand for injustices against humanity, and fights for the rights of all people. Every January, Notre Dame Right to Life takes a caravan of busses to Washington, D.C. for the national March for Life. For the past two years, the club has had over 600 students registered for the March, and intends to increase registration numbers this year. The club also hosts a seminar series with Notre Dame professors each semester and invites lecturers to campus. These events are aimed at facilitating discussion about various life issues and educating the student body so that they may become informed and respond accordingly.
Ultimately, a culture of life upholds the dignity of each and every human being. It is created by speaking and acting with respect, which in turn breeds love. This is the culture that Notre Dame Right to Life fights for. We invite you to join the fight for a culture of life.
Rachel Drumm is a senior studying Electrical Engineering and Theology, and is the president of Notre Dame Right to Life. She loves coffee, conversation, and making new friends, and would love to meet up with you to discuss life, the universe, and everything. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.