Notre Dame Right to Life hosts Students for Life of America
The Dobbs v. Jackson Mississippi Supreme Court case has left pro-life and pro-choice people alike wondering about the future of abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Though this decision could bring many unforeseen changes, there is one thing of which the prominent national pro-life organization Students for Life of America (SFLA) is certain: No Woman Stands Alone in a Post-Roe America. Their tour of that name, including a talk and an educational display, came to Notre Dame March 1-3.
The SFLA tour focuses on the plans of the abortion industry and the pro-life movement and plans for a post-Roe v. Wade America, which would send abortion legislation to the states. By exposing the destruction Roe has caused to the family structure and women’s health, the display shares the abortion industry’s lack of concern for women. It then shines a light on how the pro-life movement authentically cares for women with unplanned pregnancies.
The display and talk both emphasized the need for foster care reform, common sense adoption legislation, student pregnancy resources, and family-friendly employment opportunities. When engaging with the display, ND students had the opportunity to sign a petition that urged legislators to support family-focused legislation.
Mary Carmen Zakrajsek, Indiana Regional Coordinator for Students for Life, has traveled to many schools in Indiana, giving this talk and promoting these resources with one intention: to prepare students for a post-Roe America. Zakrajsek’s deep pro-life convictions drive her to help women by visiting campuses with this tour.
In an interview with the Rover, she insisted, “Abortion is not the solution. Women need to know that they will be supported and empowered to choose life, and that no woman will stand alone once Roe v. Wade is overturned. We will continue to advocate for and empower her so that she can be a mother and pursue her career or educational goals.”
SFLA is especially equipped to partner with student clubs like Notre Dame Right to Life (NDRtL) to help pregnant and parenting students. Their display is clear: “No woman should have to choose between her education and her child.”
Zakrajsek told the Rover, “When I bring the tour to Catholic schools, it’s not necessarily public hostility or outrage that I’m facing, but rather indifference or silent disagreement.” Merlot Fogarty [Editor’s note: Fogarty serves as social media coordinator for the Rover], a member of the NDRtL Executive Board, similarly recognized an indifference amongst pro-life students and thought it was critical to bring someone like Zakrasjsek to campus to speak. She told the Rover, “I think there are a lot of ‘closeted’ pro-lifers at Notre Dame—men especially—who are worried their pro-life convictions will affect their reputation.”
By uncovering the harm the abortion industry does to women and showcasing the solutions the pro-life community offers, NDRtL hopes to equip students to be compassionate listeners and aides to those in need. Fogarty expressed, “By promoting a plan of action, support, and love, we are doing exactly what the abortion industry cannot do. We are empowering a team of people who are authentically dedicated to promoting the dignity of life and supporting women throughout their pregnancies.”
After attending a training, volunteers from NDRtL took shifts standing with the display in Duncan Student Center on March 3rd. Lauren Douglas, a NDRtL member who participated in the training and tabling, told the Rover, “It was so encouraging and fulfilling to be able to talk about the ways the pro-life movement has made and continues to make strides to protect, support, and uplift women facing an unexpected pregnancy.”
The team engaged in over forty conversations, and eighteen students were inspired to seek more information about the resources available to women through the SFLA Standing with You initiative. Douglas said, “I can’t say with complete certainty, but I do think the tabling was effective in showing the heart of the pro-life movement, which, to me, is embodied in the phrase ‘love them both.’”
With over 3,000 pregnancy resource centers nationwide—including campus and local resources like the Family Resource Center and Women’s Care Center of South Bend—Students for Life, Notre Dame Right to Life, and the pro-life movement are prepared for a post-Roe nation. The resources are plentiful, so NDRtL is now ensuring students are aware they are accessible. For example, free magnets with all of the campus pregnancy resources can be found at any NDRtL event.
Despite possible changes in legislation, the pro-life message remains the same. Written in large letters in the middle of a display panel, it declares: “You are not alone. We are here to support you.”
Madeline Murphy is a freshman studying Vocal Performance and Music Education. When she’s not thrift shopping or singing with the Liturgical Choir, she can be found babysitting her 11 younger siblings. Please send questions, comments, or biographies of your favorite saint to email@example.com.
Photo credit: Notre Dame Right to Life