National Right to Life Calls on Notre Dame to Rescind Obama Invitation

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Tuesday, March 23, 2009
Derrick Jones, (202) 626-8825


WASHINGTON  Today the National Right to Life Committee, the
nation’s largest pro-life organization, called upon University of
Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., to rescind the
University’s invitation to Barack Obama to speak at Notre Dame’s
commencement May 17.

“Notre Dame’s invitation to the most pro-abortion president in
U.S. history is a betrayal of the University’s mission and an
affront to all who believe in the sanctity and dignity of human
life,” said Anthony J. Lauinger, National Right to Life
Vice-President (and father of seven Notre Dame alumni and one
current student.) “We call upon Father Jenkins to rescind the
invitation and stand up for the millions of unborn children who
face death under Obama Administration policies.”

In a letter to Father Jenkins, Mr. Lauinger pointed out that,
through words and actions, Barack Obama has launched a
comprehensive anti-life agenda that targets decades of
life-saving policies while treating the views of pro-life
Americans with complete contempt. The full text of Mr. Lauinger’s
letter is printed below.

“As a Notre Dame parent and supporter, I am outraged by this
invitation to Barack Obama. I have apologized to my eight
children for the poor guidance I provided them when I encouraged
them to enroll at Notre Dame,” Lauinger said.

The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest
pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000
local chapters nationwide. National Right to Life works through
legislation and education to protect those threatened by
abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The text of Mr. Lauinger’s letter to Father Jenkins:

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

In your January 27 letter to my wife Phyllis and me, you
thanked us for support “for our (Notre Dame’s) most essential,
and mission-bound, priorities.” In the wake of the commencement
announcement regarding Barack Obama, I am compelled to ask
whether Notre Dame recognizes what those priorities are
Disillusionment, incredulity, betrayal all describe my feelings.
I am left questioning my own judgment in having encouraged our
eight children to go to Notre Dame.

Abortion is the unspeakable evil that causes my outrage
abortion and the fact that Barack Obama is the Abortion
President. His first two months in office have constituted an
all-out assault on the unborn child.

Not content with legal abortion-on-demand in this country,
he seeks to foist the same policy on the rest of the world by
rescinding the Mexico City Policy, which previously kept U.S. tax
dollars from funding groups working to subvert the pro-life laws
of countries overseas; and he seeks to export abortion around the
world through his policies and appointments at the United
Nations, including providing U.S. funding to the United Nations
Population Fund, actively involved in China’s coerced-abortion

Not content with Roe v. Wade, he champions the “Freedom of
Choice Act,” which would nullify some five hundred state and
federal laws which impose modest, limited regulations on the
unfettered right to abortion. Signing the “Freedom of Choice Act”
would be “the first thing I’d do as president,” he promised the
Planned Parenthood Action Fund. See his promise in this short
video clip:

Not content with having pro-abortion doctors perform
abortions, President Obama has announced he will rescind the
Conscience Rule which protects the rights of pro-life doctors and
nurses to refuse to participate in abortions or other killing
procedures on religious or moral grounds. Cardinal Francis
George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops, is urging Catholics to tell the Obama Administration to
retain conscience protections for health-care workers.

Two weeks ago, the President signed an executive order
reversing a ban on federal funding of embryo-destructive stem
cell research. The policy that had been in effect the past eight
years protected American taxpayers from being complicit in the
killing of embryonic human beings for purposes of harvesting
their stem cells. Embryo-killing stem-cell research, the act of
destroying living members of our species, homo sapiens, in order
to provide raw material for experimentation, has never benefited
a single human patient, whereas adult stem cells have benefited
patients suffering from more than 70 different disorders.

On the same day he authorized federal funding of
embryo-killing research, the President rescinded a policy that
had been providing federal funding for alternative methods of
obtaining pluripotent stem cells through “cell reprogramming,” in
which ordinary human skin and other cells are transformed into
“induced pluripotent stem cells.” This breakthrough, which does
not require destroying human embryos, was deemed so important
that the journal Science named it the scientific breakthrough of
the year for 2008.

The President’s appointments to key White House and cabinet
positions have had extreme pro-abortion records: Chief of Staff
Rahm Emanuel, former congressman with a 100% pro-abortion record;
Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes, previous board member of
the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Communications Director Ellen
Moran, former executive director of the pro-abortion group
EMILY’s List; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen
Sebelius, the radically pro-abortion former governor of Kansas:
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg;
Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Dawn
Johnsen, the former legal director of the National Abortion
Rights Action League… These are but a small handful of

One of the many problems caused by Notre Dame’s decision to
honor the man doing more to destroy unborn children than anyone
else on the face of the earth is the scandal to which it gives
rise: to our own students; to Catholics across the country and
beyond; to those of us who thought Notre Dame stood for something
special; to everyone who believed Our Lady’s University aspired
to values higher than the approval of a debased secular culture.

Father, I have attached, above, a joint statement on
Faithful Citizenship by Bishop Kevin Vann and Bishop Kevin
Farrell, the bishops of Fort Worth and Dallas, respectively.
Their letter puts the worth and dignity of human life in proper

Finally, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’
document, “Catholics in Political Life,” offers this exhortation:
“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not
honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral
principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms
which would suggest support for their actions.” I would submit
that what is planned for May 17 is a classic example of precisely
the type of scandal the bishops direct us to avoid.

I apologized today to my eight children for the poor
guidance I provided them when I encouraged them to enroll at Our
Lady’s University, and for having misled them, and myself, about
what I believed to be the core values of Notre Dame.

Anthony J. Lauinger
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Note: The letter’s attachment can be viewed with the full post of
this press release at:

Posted on the web site.

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