One cheer for old Notre Dame?

Perhaps Notre Dame is due a half-hearted cheer, but a cheer nonetheless, for its decision to allow abortion advocate Wendy Davis an opportunity to speak on campus. The nation’s most storied Catholic university came under considerable fire for giving the abortion activist a forum to essentially argue against Catholic teachings on the sacramental nature of life and argue for a utilitarian view that should frankly appall Catholics. And as Adam Cassandra relates at The Federalist, Davis took full opportunity of the opening:


During her talk, titled, “Rising Up: From Single Mother to Harvard Law, How Every Woman Stands to Make a Difference,” Davis referred to abortion as a necessity for the advancement of women, praised Planned Parenthood, and said the U.S. Supreme Court decided when human life begins.

Davis told the gathering of students it would be wrong for them to “impose” their ideas about abortion on others. “The issue of [abortion] is not to impose our ideas on other people — particularly when we may not understand the position a person is in, and the decision she is making,” she said, according to the Notre Dame student newspaper The Observer. …

In a personal moment, Davis told students she aborted her more than 20-week-old daughter “out of love.”

“[I was] post-20 weeks of pregnancy of a much-wanted pregnancy that I had waited years to have, and … our very much-wanted child was suffering from a fatal fetal brain abnormality,” she said. “What we were told was that if our child survived delivery, which she would likely not, that she would live a life of tremendous suffering — if she lived long at all — and we made a decision out of love.”

The legislation Davis filibustered in Texas was intended to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, when children can feel pain. Davis told students her abortion was the reason she started the filibuster.

Ugh. Davis lost that fight overwhelmingly in Texas, thanks to the good sense and the love of Texans for innocent life. The halls of Notre Dame seems like an odd place for Davis to restart that fight, except that they invited her to do so. Davis’ appearance outraged many Catholics who want their institutions to primarily uphold church teachings — especially on core values like the sanctity of life. It seems doubtful that her remarks will do anything to convince critics of the wisdom of that choice.


Personally, I find Davis’ positions detestable, and her rationalizations on abortion simplistic and utilitarian. Abortion kills another human life at any stage, another person, as Hillary Clinton admitted last week, but at 20 weeks there is even less of a defense of abortion. Notre Dame should have followed Davis’ appearance with someone who could challenge Davis on those arguments and represent church teachings. However, given what has happened at universities and colleges over the last several years, I’ll take a civil forum of heterodox views over the demand for indoctrination of a narrow ideological agenda any day.

Paul Mirengoff provides the reality of today’s higher-education climate at Power Line:

Last Friday, protesters at the University of Pennsylvania shut down a campus foreign policy discussion forum featuring CIA director John Brennan. They accomplished this by disrupting Brennan’s speech.

The protest was organized by Penn’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). I shouldn’t be surprised that SDS, an odious and notoriously anti-democratic outfit from the 1960s to which I once belonged, is back. Heck, even the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a radical labor organization from the late 19th century, has been revived. …

Brennan responded that drones are valuable weapons and observed that drone strikes have killed ISIS leaders. This made no impression on the rads, who, presumably, are neutral or likely worse about the killing of ISIS leaders. They began shouting, “No justice, no peace, no US in Middle East.” Then, inevitably, they also unfurled a Palestinian flag.

The event moderators, Marjorie Margolies (Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law) and law school dean Theodore Ruger, tried to reason with the protesters. To no avail.

Reportedly, a Philadelphia-born Irishman in the crowd urged the protesters to allow Brennan to speak. One protester responded, “go back to your own country.” If the country in question had been Syria, say, the protester would have committed a hate crime.

Eventually, Brennan gave up his efforts to speak, but the protest continued. Security began ushering the crowd out of the auditorium.


Needless to say, this isn’t a unique experience on college campuses. Usually the targets of these speech-killing protests are conservatives. My friends Ben Shapiro and Michelle Malkin have had their appearances shouted down by those who want to impose a rigid and narrow ideological standard for speech on campuses, and they are but two of myriad examples of this fascist impulse gaining currency at universities and colleges across the US. “The Chalkening” may give us a few laughs, and “safe spaces” for those traumatized by contradictory opinions may also seem funny, but the reality is that higher education has become in most instances nothing more than a political indoctrination camp enforced by mob rule. That’s a far cry from the traditional mission of universities, which is to allow men and women to study all viewpoints and learn about the world as a whole. That transformation should have policymakers in representative democracies seriously questioning whether to continue public funding for institutions that have become antithetical to the very basis of self-government and liberty.

So yes, cheer once if not enthusiastically for old Notre Dame for not falling into that trap. Let’s hope they keep to that standard when conservatives want to speak on campus, and the same people who laud the Wendy Davises of the world suggest shouting them down.


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