Notre Dame Right to Life fosters discussion of pro-life message


October is Respect Life month and Notre Dame students have an opportunity to embrace this tradition during the annual Respect Life Week, hosted by Notre Dame’s Right to Life Club.  Events run from October 5 to 10, and celebrate and support human life while increasing campus awareness of life issues.

According to its website, the mission of Notre Dame Right to Life is to “promote and uphold the sanctity of all human life from conception until natural death.”  The theme for Respect Life Week is “Defending Human Dignity,” a theme central to the club’s activities all year.

Rachel Drumm, president of Right to Life, told the Rover that the movement’s message is “a message of love—love for all people, in all places, at all times.”  She elaborated, “If we treat all people with love, then we are living examples of the pro-life message.”

The goal of Respect Life Week is to inspire a greater respect for the dignity of all human life as well as provoking students to think about what it means to be pro-life.  Kristina Flathers, communications vice president for Right to Life, explained to the Rover, “It’s important that others know that as a club, we not only protest abortion, but also other means of taking and demeaning human life, including—but not limited to—capital punishment, torture, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and societal injustices that lead to poverty, hunger, and discrimination.”

The various events of this week are designed to depict how injustices against the human person have widespread effects, touching more than the person directly hurt.  “It is crucial to remember that abortion and other human dignity issues affect all people in some profound way, whether realized or not, and bringing about that awareness is only the first step in healing and being healed,” Flathers offered.

Red and white roses stand on South Quad each year in observance of Respect Life Week.  Both fragile and beautiful, these flowers symbolize those lives taken by abortion and all those affected by it in some way, including survivors, mothers, other family members, and friends.

The Human Dignity lecture on Prison Reform was held in McKenna Hall on October 8 and was sponsored by University Life Initiatives, the Institute for Church Life, and the Center for Social Concerns.

On October 10 at 4 p.m. in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business, Congressman Mike McIntyre will give a lecture called “A Reflection on the Importance of Faith and Prayer in Shaping National Policies.”  Flathers said the club hopes these lectures “will be instrumental in stirring dialogue and shedding light on some of the most pressing issues of our day.”

As technology progresses and time goes on, the debate about life issues becomes more important than ever.  Gerard Bradley, Professor of Law, told the Rover: “We are just at the beginning and not nearly the end of the great cultural and legal struggle over the sanctity of life.  Euthanasia is just around the corner, and abortion continues to grow into an unmovable piece of our society’s furniture.”

Bradley suggested that at such a turbulent time, it is increasingly invaluable to have students and faculty on our campus defending life in both word and deed.

In addition to the featured lecturers, Respect Life Week will include some favorite signature events.  Events this week included a Mass for Life in the Basilica and a blood drive on Bond Quad.  Father Jim Gallagher, CSC, will lead a candlelit Prayer Service for Healing on Thursday at 11:00 p.m. on South Quad, and Friday evening will feature Life Fest on South Quad.  For a complete schedule of events, visit

Natalie Ambrosio is a sophomore environmental science major who enjoys competing with the squirrels for the best branches in the trees.  So look up to find her there or email her at