The Right to Life Club will sponsor its annual Respect Life Week Oct 7-13. This is a week-long series of events that aims to increase awareness of life issues on campus and to educate students about these issues. This year, the week’s events are centered on Gianna Jessen’s quote, “You are made to be fought for, forever.”
The pro-life movement has often been criticized for focusing solely on the fight against abortion. This year’s theme encapsulates and expresses the entire focus of the pro-life movement. To be pro-life is to realize and celebrate the dignity of every human being at all stages of life.
The value of human life is not dependent on size, capabilities, talents or age. The worth and value of each human life stems from its creation in God’s image and likeness. Nothing and no one can change that.
Jessen’s quote implies that through our very creation, we are creatures that are made to be loved. We do not fight for those we do not love. Essential to the pro-life movement is the need to fight for one another, for our fellow humans whose lives are not accorded that love. The work of those involved in the pro-life movement revolves around this continuous fight.
We fight for the rights of those who are handicapped, both mentally and physically. We fight for the elderly to live life to the fullest. We fight for women to have the right to a healthcare system that addresses all of their needs. Most importantly, we fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.
While it may seem that pro-lifers emphasize their opposition to abortion, there is good reason for this focus. The unborn have no voice with which to fight for themselves. We are their only hope. Imagine a debate in which one side does not have the ability to voice its position. This is the position that the unborn are in and this is the reason why our voice must be heard most prominently in the fight against abortion.
Next week, the Right to Life club will focus on demonstrating to the entire student body how much each individual life is worth. The week kicks off with the national celebration of Respect Life Sunday. This is a day dedicated to prayerful intercession on behalf of those who are not accorded the dignity they deserve. The day will end with a trip to the Grotto, led by members of the Right to Life Club, as we place our intentions before Mary, our Mother.
Later in the week we will be celebrating the lives of those with disabilities by sponsoring a service event with Hannah and Friends, a local agency dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adult with special needs. The Right to Life Club works closely with several local agencies, seeking to address the social justice aspect of our mission. These agencies include Hannah and Friends, Hannah’s House, Portage Manor and the Women’s Care Center.
On Thursday, the Cemetery of the Innocents will be set up on south quad to memorialize the loss of so many innocent lives to abortions. The use of white crosses encourages us to reflect on the innocence of those aborted. This display allows us to remember how many friends and classmates we are missing as a result of abortions.
Jessen will also be presenting a lecture on the beauty of life. She herself is a survivor of a failed saline abortion attempt and has been an outspoken advocate against abortion since she was 14. Jessen’s life is a miracle story. After surviving the abortion attempt, in which she burned inside her mother’s womb for 18 hours, Jessen was born alive at two pounds. Doctors did not expect her to survive, but she once again defeated the odds. The lack of oxygen in the womb caused her to be born with cerebral palsy. Through the help of her adoptive grandmother, Jessen fought against the effects of cerebral palsy and is now able to walk without assistance. She is truly an inspiration to others.
The recently released film October Baby is based on Jessen’s life and will also be shown during Respect Life Week. The week will end with the start of sign-ups for the annual March for Life, which is held in our nation’s capital each January.
The importance of this week lies in raising awareness by generating dialogue on campus. Students will be confronted with visible reminders about the effects of abortion. Holding conversation and being open to dialogue are simple ways to encourage others to examine their own beliefs. The events of the week aim at sparking that conversation.
Jen Gallic is a junior Economics Major and president of the Notre Dame Right to Life Club. Call her. Maybe. Contact Jen at email@example.com.