Notre Dame to host panel presentation on conscience clauses

Author: Michael O. Garvey

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A panel discussion titled “What Would a Good Conscience Clause Look Like? A Catholic University’s Perspective” will be held Dec. 3 (Thursday) at 12:30 p.m. in the Patrick F. McCartan Courtroom of the University of Notre Dame’s Eck Hall of Law.

The discussion will concern how Catholic teaching and tradition, scholarship and legal developments might inform efforts to protect the rights of conscience of health workers, pregnant women, taxpayers and other citizens.

The panelists are Rev. Michael D. Place, chair of the International Federation of Catholic Health Institutions; O. Carter Snead, associate professor of law in the Notre Dame Law School; and Margaret F. Brinig, Fritz Duda Professor of Law in the Notre Dame Law School.

Father Place, who holds a doctorate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America, is the former president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States. Snead, former general counsel to the President’s Council on Bioethics, was recently appointed by UNESCO to its International Bioethics Committee. Brinig, who co-chairs Notre Dame’s Task Force for Supporting the Choice of Life, teaches courses in family law and has written and lectured widely on issues arising from fertility, pregnancy, adoption and financial stresses on families.

The panelists hope that the discussion will launch a university-wide critical discussion and lead to a “white paper” addressing these and other issues of conscience, law, healthcare and public funding.

The event is sponsored by the Notre Dame Law School in association with Notre Dame’s new Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life. It is free and open to the public.

More information is available at