Monday, April 20, 2009

Bread of Life: Abortion and Social Justice

Since its establishment last fall, the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life has had a fruitful year which promises to serve as a strong foundation for the future. This spring, following in the steps of the Center’s enormously successful dinner/reflection series, Breaking Bread, the Fund began a new dinner series for students entitled, Bread of Life. Through this event, we sought to draw students into reflection on their attitudes to beginning-of-life issues. We particularly hoped to attract students who might not already be strongly committed to the Church’s teachings on these issues but who were open to exploring them.

The inaugural reflection was given by Professor Carter Snead, a member of the committee overseeing the fund. Snead spoke in his reflection of the false dichotomy in today’s political climate between issues of social justice and issues surrounding a culture of life. Citing abortion as the targeting of an entire group of people for discrimination, Snead affirmed the right to life of the unborn child as one of the fundamental social justice issues of our time. Similarly, he characterized the issue of embryonic stem-cell research as the harming of one group of persons to the benefit of another group, noting that such a practice is ultimately “self-destructive.” He also touched on questions surrounding legal personhood, asserting that a new, genetically unique and self-directed life is created at the moment of conception. He concluded with a challenge to the students, as future leaders, to be mindful of issues of social justice, and to remember that such issues especially include the rights of the unborn.

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