Monday, March 23, 2009


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For immediate release: For more information:

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 program.

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 examples.

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 perspective.

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:
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