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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Belles for Life host Respect Life Week at SMC

As part of the nationwide Respect Life Month, Saint Mary’s College Belles for Life club is hosting Respect Life Week with events on campus focused on celebrating life and raising awareness about the dignity of human life.

A Vigil for Life will take place Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the College student center, where students can pray for the dignity of human life and listen to women from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign give voluntary post-abortive testimonies, Belles for Life president and senior Jana Zuniga said.

“We thought this was particularly appropriate because we want to recognize the ways that abortion affects not only pre-born humans, but how abortion affects women,” Zuniga said, “We will pray for the protection of life … but also for women facing unplanned pregnancies and for the healing of post-abortive women as we stand in solidarity with the women who have experienced abortion.”

Zuniga said she decided to become active in the pro-life movement after hearing the stories of women who underwent abortions.

“I think their stories are an honest reflection of how many women have been scarred and dramatically affected by their abortion experience,” she said.

Dr. Kevin McDonnell, an emeritus professor of philosophy at the College and the Edna and George McMahon Aquinas chair in philosophy emeritus, will deliver a speech Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Vander Vennet Theatre, Zuniga said.

“His recent publications concern issues in medical ethics and he chairs the ethics committees at Logan Center and at Memorial Hospital,” Zuniga said, “We chose him because he is part of the SMC community and will propose a strong argument that the legality of abortion does not justify neglecting the endowed rights of the unborn children of our society.”

According to the Respect Life Week flyer, there will be a Life Fest costume contest and pizza party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday in Le Mans Hall Reignbeaux Lounge to celebrate life.

The week will wrap up Friday with students participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign with a trip to the Life Center in downtown South Bend, Zuniga said. Students are invited to meet at the student center parking lot at 11 a.m., and the event will run until 1 p.m.

South Bend is one of 252 cities to participate in the campaign, she said. As part of the campaign, people unite in prayer either alone or outside an abortion clinic for 40 consecutive days in an effort to bring a peaceful end to abortion, Zuniga said.

“This year alone, there have been 412 confirmed lives that have been spared of abortion by the efforts of this campaign,” Zuniga said. “Girls from the Belles for Life club will visit the Life Center, located next door to the local abortion clinic, which is a place where women can go for help if they are looking for financial assistance, support, adoption referrals or counseling,” she said.

Student will tour the Life Center and pray in the adoration chapel during the visit, she said.

“As a students of an all-women's college, we have a heightened awareness to the ways that women are treated in our society,” Zuniga said. “This week is about celebrating the unique and irreplaceable gift that each of us are to the world; it is about recognizing the inherent dignity of all human life, regardless of how that life was conceived, how long it lasts or how fortunate their life is promised to be.”

For more information, please contact Belles for Life club president Jana Zuniga at