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Christian Union: The Magazine
June 12, 2023

Robert P. George Remarks on Pro-Life Heroes


On April 29, 2023, Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, delivered an address upon receiving the 2023 Evangelium Vitae Medal from the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame. He spoke on the pro-life movement and twelve of its heroes.

Professor George began his remarks by asking: "Evangelium Vitae: the gospel of life. What is that gospel—that good news?"


"It is the good news—the very good news," he said, "that each and every member of the human family, as a creature fashioned in the image and likeness of the divine Creator and Ruler of all, is the bearer of profound, inherent, and equal dignity. It is the astonishing news that, in the human family, everyone’s life is inestimably precious; there are no inferiors and no superiors in essential worth and basic rights."


He went on to point out that we, as human beings, "are a family," and that injustices — like "the unjust taking of a human life—are not and can never be 'none of our business.'"


He then spoke about the Pro-Life movement both before and after Roe, before paying tribute to a dozen pro-life heroes, men and women he called "apostles of life." He said that he was accepting the award on their behalf.


The twelve were: Dr. Mildred Jefferson, the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School and the first woman to graduate in surgery from Harvard; Congressman Harry Hyde; Mrs. Nellie Gray, who founded and led the annual March for Life; Fr. Richard John Neuhaus; Gov. Robert P. Casey; Notre Dame's Professor Charlie Rice, a leader in the pro-life movement; Mr. Joe Scheidler, an advertising executive who "took our nonviolent movement to the streets"; Germain Gabriel Grisez, who wrote the book Abortion: The Myths, the Realities, and the Arguments; Mother Teresa of Calcutta; Dr. Hymie Gordon, a deeply observant Jew who is known as "the father of fetology"; John Cardinal O'Connor; and Nat Hentoff, "an atheist, an old-school liberal, and a longstanding member and board member of the ACLU."

Professor George, a long-time friend of Christian Union, closed by pointing out that "we now face an even more daunting challenge than reversing Roe v. Wade. With Roe gone, we are finally on the field of battle, but powerful forces are arrayed against us."

"Nevertheless," he began his conclusion, "with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in. It will be hard. We will have moments of disappointment. We will experience setbacks and, alas, betrayals. But we will not lose heart. We will not lose faith. For we know that 'He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat.'"


He ended with this encouragement: "Under [God's] hand of blessing, trusting that He will never leave unaided those who in a righteous cause call upon His help, we shall overcome."

Read the full address at PublicDiscourse.com >


By patrick dennis