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Pro-abortion president to speak at Notre Dame graduation

Alumni group notes Notre Dame’s history of honoring pro-abortion politicians

The University of Notre Dame will host a pro-abortion former president this May as its commencement speaker.

Colombia’s former president, Juan Santos, “will be the principal speaker and receive an honorary degree” at the May 21 ceremony, according to the university.

“His courageous leadership and resolute commitment ended a half-century-long civil war and put his nation on a path to peace and prosperity,” Notre Dame President John Jenkins, a Catholic priest, stated in the university’s announcement.

Santos (pictured) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for “his pivotal role in ending the longest armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere, Colombia’s 52-year civil war between the government and, most notably, the Revolutionary Armed Forces in Colombia,” the university noted.

But while Santos played a role in bringing about peace in Colombia, he also supported the abortion of preborn babies, at odds with the Catholic Church’s teaching on the killing of innocent human life.

For example, in 2015, President Santos supported legalizing abortion through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. He thanked the country’s highest court in 2022 for legalizing abortion through the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

“I agree with what the Constitutional Court did in Colombia, expanding the weeks where abortion is allowed,” Santos said in February 2022 at an event at Harvard University. “I think it was a correct move, and I support it,” he said, according to the student newspaper. “If you ask me, I think they did the right thing.”

The Catechism, which lists the teachings of the Catholic Church, explains how the abortion is viewed as a “moral evil.”

“Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion,” the Catechism states. “This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”

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The College Fix emailed spokesman Dennis Brown and asked about any concerns about selecting a pro-abortion speaker and how Santos was picked. He has not responded to an inquiry sent in the past week and a half.

The Sycamore Trust, a conservative alumni group, criticized Santos’ selection.

“Notre Dame is once again violating the injunction of the nation’s bishops that ‘Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles,’” President Bill Dempsey told The Fix via email.

“Notre has twice before flouted this directive in honoring two of the nation’s most prominent abortion champions — President Obama in 2009 as commencement speaker and then Vice President Biden as recipient of the University’s therefore treasured Laetare Medal,” Dempsey said.

Several departments at Notre Dame also recently hosted a pro-abortion event called “Trans Care + Abortion Care” as part of a series called “Reproductive Justice: Scholarship for Solidarity and Social Change,” as previously reported by The Fix.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend criticized the “abortion doula” event as “intellectually unserious,” as reported by The Fix.

MORE: Activists stop Biden from speaking at Notre Dame graduation

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Elaine Gunthorpe is a student at Christendom College where she is studying political science and economics. Elaine is involved with the Christendom College Republicans, Network of Enlightened Women, and Shield of Roses. She also writes as a Campus Correspondent with Campus Reform.