- “Who draws support from your decision to honor President Obama—the young, pregnant Notre Dame woman sitting in that graduating class who wants desperately to keep her baby, or the Notre Dame man who believes that the Catholic teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion is just dining-room talk?”
Washington D.C., May 2, 2009 / 04:58 pm (CNA).- Providing a new take on the controversy, a University of Notre Dame alumna has asked whether her alma mater’s decision to honor President Barack Obama would discourage pro-life women in crisis pregnancies and encourage Catholics who believe Church teaching on abortion is “just dining-room talk.”
Lacy Dodd, a 1999 graduate of the university, explained in a May 1 essay for the website of the journal “First Things” how she had become pregnant by her boyfriend in the last semester of her senior year at the school.
She told how she had run to the school’s famous Marian Grotto after testing positive for pregnancy.
“I was confused and full of conflicting emotions,” Dodd wrote.
“But I knew this: No amount of shame or embarrassment would ever lead me to get rid of my baby. Of all women, Our Lady could surely feel pity for an unplanned pregnancy. I recalled her surrendered love to God’s invitation to become the home of the Incarnate Word. ‘Let it be done to me according to thy word,’ she had said. In my hour of need, on my knees, I asked Mary for courage and strength. And she did not disappoint.”
She said her boyfriend, also a Notre Dame senior, tried to pressure her into having an abortion.
“Like so many women in similar circumstances, I found out the kind of man the father of my child was at precisely the moment I needed him most. ‘All that talk about abortion is just dining-room talk,’ he said. ‘When it’s really you in the situation, it’s different. I will drive you to Chicago and pay for a good doctor.’”
Replying to her insistence that this was not an option, he said he was pro-choice.
“I responded by informing him that my choice was life. And I learned, as so many pregnant women have before and since, that life is the one choice that pro-choicers won’t support.”
Though having an unsupportive boyfriend, Dodd said she could rely on the “priceless gift” of her family who would “welcome into their hearts the life that God had put in my womb.”
She also relied on the people at Women’s Care Center in South Bend, who she says encouraged her “everything was going to be all right,” educated her on her pregnancy and provided her with information on how to stay healthy.
Dodd graduated from Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and earned a ROTC commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
Though she considered adoption, she decided to raise her baby. She gave birth to a baby girl on All Saints Day and named her Mary.
“Her name is no accident. This Mary was living inside me while I walked the campus of a university dedicated to a woman who is mother of us all, and it was Mary Our Mother who gave me courage when I was afraid of what would lie ahead,” she wrote at the First Things website.
Though calling Notre Dame a “special place,” Dodd said it is not immune to “the realities of modern life.”
“There are students who face unplanned pregnancies, and—most tragically—women who think their only option is abortion,” she said, noting that one in five women who have an abortion is a college student.
“On campuses all across this country, abortion is the status quo. We need to change that with an unambiguous stand for life, and Notre Dame needs to be in the lead.”
She closed with a question to Fr. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame:
“Who draws support from your decision to honor President Obama—the young, pregnant Notre Dame woman sitting in that graduating class who wants desperately to keep her baby, or the Notre Dame man who believes that the Catholic teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion is just dining-room talk?”