Congressman Chris Smith and Marie Smith to receive 2014 Evangelium Vitae Medal

Author: Michael O. Garvey

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and his wife, Marie Smith U.S. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and his wife, Marie Smith

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and his wife, Marie Smith, director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (PNCI), will receive the 2014 University of Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal.

“Chris and Marie Smith have dedicated their lives to promoting the Culture of Life in the public square,” said Carter Snead, William P. and Hazel B. White Director of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture. “Through their tireless efforts to battle human trafficking and promote human rights, particularly the right to life of the unborn, Chris and Marie Smith provide a powerful witness to the dignity of all human life. We are honored to award them the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal.”

Elected in 1980, Republican Chris Smith represents New Jersey’s 4th District. In addition to his service as a senior member on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Smith is co-chair of the bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus in the House of Representatives and the former executive director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee. He is the author of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, which established a nationwide program for research and medical treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. He also is the author of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a legislative proposal for a comprehensive government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funding for elective abortion.

As director of PNCI, Marie Smith oversees the international operation of Gospel of Life Ministries, a nonpartisan organization that works with pro-life groups, lawmakers and religious leaders to advance respect for life in law and policy. Based in Washington, D.C., PNCI assists lawmakers and religious leaders from around the world in helping elected officials organize working groups in their legislatures to advance pro-life laws and build sustainable pro-life leadership in capitals around the world. She also has served as an observer for the Holy See and on Vatican delegations to various conferences at the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal honors individuals whose outstanding efforts have served to proclaim the Gospel of Life by steadfastly affirming and defending the sanctity of human life from its earliest stages. The award, which is announced annually on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday of October, consists of a specially commissioned medal and, if permissible, a $10,000 prize, to be presented at a spring banquet. Previous recipients of the Medal include Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities; Helen M. Alvaré, associate professor of law George Mason University; and Mother Agnes Mary Donovan and the Sisters of Life.

Contact: Angela M. Engelsen, 574-631-1868,