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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
The Observer

Contraception and conscience

We, officers of Notre Dame's Right to Life, would like to respond to Gary Caruso's viewpoint (Sept 30).

Mr. Caruso condemns Fr. Jenkins' letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebilius, asking that the definition of "religious employer" in the new health care mandate be broadened to "ensure conscience protections" that will allow Notre Dame to continue its work as a Catholic university. The mandate "would compel Notre Dame to either pay for contraception and sterilization in violation of the Church's moral teaching or to discontinue our employee and student health care plans."

Fr. Jenkins correctly denounces the claim that a Catholic university should offer contraceptive or sterilization services. As the Catechism states, "‘Every action … to render procreation impossible' is intrinsically evil" (2370).

Such "preventative services" as health care equate pregnancy with disease or sickness. By this reasoning, the unborn become the result of failed medication. In sharp contrast, unborn children are the natural fruits of the sexual act. As such, any separation of the sexual act from procreation is contrary to human nature.

As a Catholic university, we do not impose Catholicism on our students, but we ask that they respect the religious teachings of the Church that inform the mission of the University that they have freely chosen to enter into.

Forcing Notre Dame to offer contraceptive services to students and staff is a violation of the religious freedom of the University and of the conscience that informs it. This mandate would force Notre Dame to either abandon its conscience, cease providing health insurance or refuse entrance and employment to those who disagree with the Church's teachings.

We would like to praise Fr. Jenkins' many continued efforts to promote the dignity of the human person, and we especially commend his letter to Secretary Sebelius. As violations of human nature, contraceptive services are contrary to what is just, and forcing Notre Dame to offer such services is unjust.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, "An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law," and "an unjust law is no law at all."


Christopher Damian

Information Commissioner

Notre Dame Right to Life

Oct. 5

Samantha Stempky


Notre Dame Right To Life

Oct. 5

Andrew Lynch

Vice President

Notre Dame Right To Life

Oct. 5


The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.