Center for Ethics and Culture establishes fund for human life

Author: Michael O. Garvey

David Solomon

A fund has been established in the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture to support pro-life activities within the University and beyond its campus.

The efforts supported by the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life will particularly concern issues arising from the plight of human life in its earliest stages, from conception to the early days of infancy.

According to David Solomon, W.P. and H.B. White Director of the center, “There are currently a number of different forces in the academy, as well as in the broader culture, that make it difficult to focus on the many threats to innocent human life in the womb and in its earliest stages.

“Christians thought at one time that they had defeated infanticide and its advocates, and driven it back into the darkness from which it had come, but infanticide now has influential and respectable defenders at the heart of many of our greatest universities. The bioethics establishment in this country and in Europe is largely committed to pro-choice positions and many of the countries that have traditionally staunchly opposed liberalization of abortion laws have changed their position under the pressure of modernizing influences. The current focus in the public sphere on narrowly economic matters has destroyed the sense of urgency many have felt about life issues in the past. We know that many evil and dreadful practices have sprung into existence when good people are distracted by economic distress.”

The fund will be administered by a committee chaired by Solomon. Its members will be Daniel McInerny and Elizabeth Kirk, associate directors of the Center for Ethics and Culture;
Rev. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C., professor of history at Notre Dame; and O. Carter Snead, associate professor of law at Notre Dame and former chief counsel for the president’s Council on Bioethics.

According to Kirk, “We want to educate Notre Dame students and others in the rich intellectual tradition supporting the dignity of human life, specifically in its beginning stages, and to prepare those students, through personal witness, public service, and prayer to transform the culture into one where every human life is respected.”

As examples of the sorts of activities the fund will support, Kirk mentioned transportation and other costs of student participation in the annual Right-to-Life march each January in Washington, D.C., the expenses of the undergraduate and Law School student Right-to-Life clubs, essay contests and academic competitions encouraging scholarship on pro-life issues, and sponsorship of lectures and seminars on campus.

“Those of us who initiated the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life share a number of beliefs,” Solomon said. “Above all, we believe that any successful movement to counter the current atmosphere of disrespect for the unborn and the newly born must draw on the intellectual as well as spiritual riches of the Catholic tradition. We also believe that the University of Notre Dame is the natural home for a movement of faculty and students in support of life.

“This fund will be used to support fundamental academic research as well as focused policy research on life issues. It also will support educational programs for students at all levels in order to produce the next generation of pro-life leadership.”

Contact: Elizabeth Kirk at 574-631-9656 or