Prof. Tamara Kay Offers Student Abortion Help
Abortion Part I
In this bulletin, we begin a series about pro-abortion and pro-life developments at Notre Dame in the wake of the Supreme Court decision returning the abortion issue to the state legislative branches and the consequent Indiana legislation restricting abortion.
Notre Dame’s “Abortions Rights Expert” at Keough
We begin with a deeply disturbing pro-abortion campaign by a Notre Dame professor that included an offer to help Notre Dame students secure abortions.
The professor is Dr. Tamara Kay of the Keough School of Global Affairs.
We have drawn attention before to Dr. Kay’s pro-abortion advocacy. See our bulletin “Notre Dame Professor Calls for Pro-Abortion ‘General Strike'” in which we cited her articles extolling abortion during the run-up to the Supreme Court decision.
She was joined by Dr. Susan Osterman, also of the Keough School, and Dr. Tricia Bruce, who is affiliated with Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society.
(For a devastating critique of the Kay/ Osterman scholarship purportedly supporting their transparently infirm contention that “limiting legal abortion access does not result in fewer abortions,” see an analysis by Sycamore Trust vice-president Charles Donovan (ND ’74), president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.)
After the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson and the passage of legislation restricting abortion by the Indiana legislature, Dr. Kay moved from advocacy to action. Both in her Twitter postings and on campus she offered help to students seeking abortions and described means of obtaining abortion-inducing drugs.
Whereupon, we understand, some faculty and students, including Merlot Fogarty, president of the student organization Notre Dame Right to Life, sought the intercession of the administration. Sycamore Trust did so in our letter to Notre Dame’s Provost, John McGreevy that we reproduce below, citing Dr. Kay’s Twitter representation to students that she, a “Notre Dame abortion rights expert,” and other unnamed women faculty were organizing to help them secure abortions. “Spread the word,” she exhorted. “Look for the J,” a symbol identifying faculty members collaborating in Kay’s efforts.
We also described how Kay had advertised on campus her willingness to help students kill their pre-born children through a large poster on her office door offering “information,” “help,” “access,” and “confidentiality” on “all healthcare issues” and furnishing her email address as email@example.com.
We concluded that Professor Kay’s actions “constitute a grave abuse of the trust of the University and its students and their parents” that “calls for swift and decisive repudiation by the administration.”
When we learned that the poster had been removed in the wake of these protests to the Provost and the offending tweets deleted, we sent another email to the Provost that we also reproduce below. Because it seemed evident that Kay’s retreat was the result of the protests to the Provost, we expressed our gratitude to him, but also observed that since “the university has been alerted to the strong opposition to the Indiana law by some faculty and their disposition to act on that opposition,” it should take additional action including:
- Prohibiting Professor Kay and her colleagues from engaging in any program for assisting Notre Dame students in procuring abortions or abortifacients; and
- Issuing a statement of support for the [Indiana] law and an injunction to the faculty to heed it.
Here are our messages to Provost McGreevy:
Professor Tamara Kay’s Abortion Assistance
September 26, 2022
John T. McGreevy, Ph.D.
University of Notre Dame
300 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556 USA
Subject: Professor Tamara Kay’s Abortion Assistance
Dear Dr. McGreevy:
On behalf of the officers and trustees of Sycamore Trust (www.sycamoretrust.org), I write to call your attention to Professor Tamara Kay’s offer to assist Notre Dame students in procuring abortions and to urge you to take appropriate action.
Here are the facts drawn from Professor Kay’s Twitter account:
On September 15, 2022, the same day that Indiana’s new abortion law became effective, Professor Kay, who teaches in the Keough School of Global Affairs and Department of Sociology at Notre Dame and who describes herself as a “Notre Dame abortion rights expert,” announced that she and other Notre Dame women faculty have organized a campaign to assist students “access healthcare” when they need it:
Although Professor Kay didn’t list the other faculty with whom she is working, Political Science Professor Christina Wolbrecht, History Professor Karen Graubart, and Global Affairs and Gender Studies Professor Julia Kowalski all “liked” the announcement – along with Colleen Sharkey, Assistant Director of the University’s Media Relations.
Later that evening Professor Kay clarified her motivation by referring to the school’s policy of not providing “emergency contraception” to students through University Health Services. The University’s policy against abortifacient “morning after” pills like so-called “Plan B” is deliberate and well established. It is reflected in Father Jenkins’s refusal to include them in the University’s health plan when he reversed the University’s opposition to the inclusion of contraceptives during the Obamacare litigation. That led to the lawsuit challenging the University’s ban on “Plan B” by a group of students organized as Irish 4 Reproductive Health.
Professor Kay noted that “Plan B” “morning after” pills are legal under the new law but went on to provide information from www.plancpills.org about how to obtain “Plan C” in-home abortion inducing drugs. The use of these drugs to cause abortions is illegal except as prescribed and administered by an attending physician in narrowly defined cases to protect the life or physical health of the mother, in instances of rape and incest, or when a preborn child suffers from a lethal fetal anomaly.
A woman who uses these drugs to cause an abortion violates the law but is not subject to criminal penalties. Others who may be responsible for illegal abortions, including those involving abortion-inducing drugs, include “A college, university, or junior college that provides healthcare to a student, a faculty member, or an employee, and the governing board or a person who is an officer, employee, or agent of the college, university, or junior college acting in the course and scope of the person’s employment.”
Professor Kay has also advertised directly to students her willingness to provide abortion assistance on campus through a large poster on her office door offering “information,” “help,” “access,” and “confidentiality” on “all healthcare issues” and furnishing her email address as firstname.lastname@example.org. The poster displays a large “J,” which we understand is code for faculty willing to assist students seeking abortions.
These, then, are the facts, and we submit that they represent grossly inappropriate action for a member of the Notre Dame faculty that calls for swift and decisive repudiation by the administration.
We have included references to the new Indiana abortion statute because, if Professor Kay is offering to assist students in violating the law, as she appears to be doing, her actions constitute misconduct under the University Ethical Conduct Policy’s reference to illegal action. And her promotion of “Plan B” offends because of the University’s policy against that abortifacient.
But quite apart from legal considerations and much more importantly, we submit that Professor Kay’s actions constitute a grave abuse of the trust of the University and its students and their parents.
The University has put Professor Kay in a position that commands the respect of Notre Dame students. She understands full well the teaching of her Church on abortion and the embrace of that teaching by Notre Dame. She knows that, in the University’s and her Church’s view, she is encouraging Notre Dame students to kill their preborn children at the risk of their immortal souls – and offering to help them do it.
It would be risible to speak of freedom of speech or academic freedom here. This is action and incitement to action that is a grievous betrayal of the University, of the student-teacher relationship, and of the Keogh School’s commitment to integral human development.
We are frank to say we do not see how Professor Kay can be thought a suitable member of Notre Dame’s faculty. We have little doubt what the University’s reaction would be if a faculty member, thinking drug laws unjust or Church teaching on sex wrong-headed, were to offer to help students secure heroin or prostitutes or attend sex orgies. Professor Kay’s actions, involving as they do the taking of innocent human life by Notre Dame students, are much more serious. As are the actions of whatever other pro-abortion faculty members who are signaling to students through the symbol “J” their willingness to follow Professor Kay’s lead.
As to immediate action, we urge you to require Professor Kay to remove the implicated Tweets and the poster on her door and to prohibit her and her colleagues from engaging in any sort of a program for assisting Notre Dame students in procuring abortions or abortifacients.
William H. Dempsey, ‘52
cc: Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
R. Scott Applebee, Ph.D.
Abortion Poster and Tweets Removed
Subject: Fwd: Professor Tamara Kay’s Abortion Assistance to Students
Date: September 27, 2022 at 3:31:00 PM EDT
To: “McGreevy Dr. John T.” <email@example.com>
Cc: “Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C.” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Appleby Dr. Scott” <email@example.com>, Corr Marianne <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Dr. McGreevy:
We are now told that the poster on Professor Key’s door has been removed, and we see that the offensive tweets no longer appear. Doubtless there have been protests besides ours, we hope many, from pro-life supporters at Notre Dame. Please know that we very much appreciate your taking prompt action to mitigate Professor Kay’s abortion solicitation of students.
Almost surely these measures alone will not be enough, given Professor Kay’s record of strident pro-abortion militancy within and without the university. If left to her own devices, there is no reason to believe she will end her promotion of abortion at Notre Dame and her collaboration with colleagues of like mind.
Accordingly, as I wrote, we urge you to “prohibit [Professor Kay] and her colleagues from engaging in any program for assisting Notre Dame students in procuring abortions or abortifacients.” To that end, I suggest you ensure that no faculty member displays a “J” or otherwise signals to students he or she will provide abortion assistance.
Indeed, since the university has been alerted to the strong opposition to the Indiana law by some faculty and their disposition to act on that opposition, I suggest that a University statement of support for the law and an injunction to the faculty to heed it would serve the university well. It would protect the University from entanglement should a faculty member assist students or anyone else get abortions through abortion-inducing drugs or otherwise in violation of the law. I observe that doubtless there are those who would welcome news of a charge under the anti-abortion law against a Notre Dame professor that reflected on the University in some way.
Finally, as we wrote, “We are frank to say we do not see how Professor Kay can be thought a suitable member of Notre Dame’s faculty.” We hope that, one way or another and before too long, she will move on to a school where she will not feel compelled to subvert its deeply held convictions of conscience.
William H. Dempsey, ‘52
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