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Notre Dame Professors Criticized for Comments Calling Pro-life Activism Part of White Supremacy

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Two University of Notre Dame professors are being criticized for stating that pro-life activism is fueled by white supremacy.

The controversial comments were made during a discussion following the viewing of the Netflix propaganda documentary “Reversing Roe.” The viewing and discussion about the film were sponsored by the pro-abortion student group Irish 4 Reproductive Health, the Gender Studies Program of Notre Dame, and Saint Mary’s Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.


Ellie Gardey detailed the January 22 event in Notre Dame’s Irish Rover newspaper.

According to Gardey, the panel discussion kicked off with political science professor Dianne Pinderhughes claiming that pro-lifers were most likely to want to keep America “white.”

“(Abortion) is an issue that allows for an effort to control the place of women,” she said. 

“I’m sure you figured that out, or you wouldn’t be at this event. But also how people will reproduce, what the population will be, what it will be like,” Pinderhughes continued.

“Those who push so aggressively for reproduction, continued reproduction without any controls, are those who are also more likely to be in support of making sure the country stays predominantly, overwhelmingly white.”

Pam Butler is the associate director of Notre Dame’s gender studies program. She, too, believes that pro-life activism springs from white supremacist beliefs.

“(Abortion) got politicized in a moment of a white supremacist strategy of the right wing of the Republican Party to mobilize a very specific set of evangelical Christians in the United States as a base,” Butler said during the panel discussion. 

Butler, who identified herself during the discussion as a “longtime reproductive rights activist and organizer” suggested that by focusing “almost exclusively” on abortion, white feminists have been playing into the hands of Christian “white supremacists.”

“The white-dominated feminist movement concerned with reproductive rights focuses almost exclusively on the right to an abortion. … It seems like we’re capitulating to the framing of the issue that was defined by the 1980’s evangelical white supremacists,” she said.


Panelist Karen Graubart is a Notre Dame history professor who identifies as “queer.” Graubart apparently took the discussion as an opportunity to share with the audience about her “eugenic” use of in vitro fertilization.

“Fifteen years ago, I decided that my career was finally on track. I was a queer single woman with a great job at an Ivy League institution about to get tenure, and I decided that I needed to have a baby,” she told participants. 

“I went to a sperm bank, which is like the center of eugenics, right, that’s what sperm banks are … I was able to get myself pregnant, have a baby, and then create a life for myself using that.”

Graubart went on to contrast what she believes to have been her “privileged” access to eugenic reproductive services, to the experiences of poor women of color. The professor suggested that women with money, like herself, will always have access to abortions.

Were Roe struck down, Graubart said, “those of us who have any access to funds are going to be able to have abortions forever. And it’s basically just going to be poor women and predominantly women of color who already get inadequate health care, who are treated poorly by doctors, who are never going to be able to go in and argue for their right to this case.”

Not everyone affiliated with the Catholic university was happy about the pro-abortion event.

William Dempsey is the chairman of Sycamore Trust, a group of Notre Dame alumni committed to preserving the university’s Catholic character. He toldLifeSiteNews that the establishment of “gender studies” is to blame for the promotion of abortion at Notre Dame.


“This pro-abortion event was unprecedented at Notre Dame,” Dempsey wrote in an email.

“There was not a word about the central role of the Catholic Church or the burning faith of pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals,” wrote Dempsey, “for the simple reason that no one was allowed on the panel who would speak it.”

Pro-life educator Ryan Bomberger, who is African American, also criticized the panel discussion.

“Rabidly pro-abortion Notre Dame professors ... calling pro-lifers ‘racists’ for tireless efforts to protect mothers and their unborn children, regardless of race or ethnicity,” Bomberger said, “is truly a Twilight Zone moment.”

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