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Notre Dame professor denies sign on office door signals help for students seeking abortion

Notre Dame
Students wear masks on the campus of Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, on Oct. 6, 2020. |

A Notre Dame professor claims that reports about her offering to help students obtain abortions and contraceptives are false, leaving unanswered questions about a sign on her door that reportedly designates faculty who help students seeking to terminate a pregnancy.

The Irish Rover, an independent student newspaper at the Catholic University, reported Monday that sociology professor Tamara Kay advertised on her office door that she would offer “information on all healthcare issues and access — confidentially with care and compassion.” The private university is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, which is opposed to abortion. 

Also on the door of Kay’s office is the letter “J,” which, according to the Rover report, signifies faculty members who are willing to help students access Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, and Plan C abortion pills. The latter induces abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Plan B is a form of emergency contraception that comes in the form of two levonorgestrel pills, according to the Food and Drug Administration. It prevents ovulation by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary and might also stop fertilization by blocking the union of sperm and egg. 

While Plan B is not the same as the abortion pill, some claim that it can act as an abortifacient by preventing implantation to stop the egg from attaching to the womb.  

Kay, who publicly advocates for abortion, wrote in a Friday tweet that the note on her office door was not related to abortion, and neither she nor the university could comment on the reason for it. 

“I’ll say no more about that,” Kay wrote. “But I do, of course, fully support abortion rights and the policy implications of abortion bans are horrific.”

“And so the rag that’s not part of ND, not a student pub, has no journalistic standards AND the few faculty who are likely manipulating the puppet strings behind the scenes got it ALL wrong & should ALL be ashamed & need to take some time to get that egg off their faces,” she continued. 

In May, Kay co-wrote an op-ed piece for the left-leaning website Salon where she wrote, "Forced pregnancy and childbirth is violence," in response to a leak from the U.S. Supreme Court on the overturning of the legalization of abortion nationwide. She argued that returning abortion laws to the states could lead to women being "prosecuted for murder" due to miscarriages and stillbirths. "This violence will happen regularly in the U.S. if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade."

Notre Dame is a Catholic institution, and while the professor acknowledged in a statement to the Rover that her views on abortion “runs afoul of Church teaching,” she claims that her positions “are perfectly aligned” with the Church in other areas.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense” and anyone who “procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication.” According to Pope Paul VI’s Humanae vitae in 1968, the church views artificial forms of contraception as “intrinsically evil” but permits methods that don’t actively interfere with the creation of a new life, such as natural family planning.  

Kay told the Rover that she is acting as a private citizen when offering students help with obtaining abortions and that the university has granted her permission. The professor added that she had spoken “to the dean and have also spoken to ND Media about policies.”

The University of Notre Dame did not immediately respond to The Christian Post’s request for comment. Kay also could not be reached for comment, as her school email address has been changed, and she did not respond to an inquiry through her social media. 

Last month, the sociology professor attended and served as a panelist for an event at the university titled, “Post-Roe America: Making Intersectional Feminist Sense of Abortion Bans.” 

The event featured local experts on law and “reproductive health” for a discussion about the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer, allowing states such as Indiana to prohibit abortion before the point of viability or outlaw it altogether. 

Indiana’s Republican Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill in August banning abortions while making exceptions for rape and incest in some cases, and if the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life or if the unborn has a fetal anomaly. The law is on hold while the Indiana Supreme Court considers its constitutionality. 

During the panel, Kay said she planned to spend her time “debunking some of those myths” about abortion and that she wanted people to think about the “disproportionality” of abortion bans. 

The professor went on to claim that such policies “disproportionately affect people in minority groups: black, indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQIA, those with few resources, those who are incarcerated, those in the military, those who are on campus, those who are immigrants, those who have disabilities and physical and mental health challenges, including substance use disorder.” 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: samantha.kamman@christianpost.com.

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