National Right to Life to Honor Mary Ann Glendon
National Right to Life Press Release
May 5, 2009
WASHINGTON – In recognition of her inspiring courage and steadfast support
for the sanctity of human life, Professor Mary Ann Glendon will receive the
Proudly Pro-Life Award from the nation's largest pro-life group, National Right
to Life announced today. The award will be presented by the National Right to
Life Educational Trust Fund on October 6, 2009, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in
New York City.
"We have often read that 'the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is
for good men to do nothing.' Professor Glendon is a shining example of one who
has consistently stood against evil and spoken out in defense of innocent human
life. We are greatly honored by her acceptance of this award," said Anthony J.
Lauinger, Vice-President of National Right to Life. "Her declining of Notre
Dame's Laetare Medal because of the pro-abortion policies of Barack Obama, with
whom she would have shared the stage at Notre Dame's commencement, speaks
volumes about the principled commitment of this exceptional woman to the
protection of innocent human life."
Late last month, Professor Glendon wrote to Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.,
President of the University of Notre Dame, to inform him that changed
circumstances caused her to have to decline the university's invitation to
attend the May 17 graduation ceremony and receive the prestigious Laetare Medal,
given each year to an American Catholic layperson "whose genius has
...illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity."
In declining the Laetare Medal, Professor Glendon cited the fact that
pro-abortion President Barack Obama, who had subsequently been invited to give
the commencement address, would also receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.
Referring to the President as "a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the
Church's position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice,"
Professor Glendon indicated she was at a loss to understand why a Catholic
university would honor a person with such views.
In her letter to Father Jenkins, Professor Glendon wrote, in part:
First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I
could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award
the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of
the U.S. bishops' express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions 'should not
honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles' and that
such persons 'should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would
suggest support for their actions.'
Professor Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University.
She teaches and writes on international human rights, comparative law, and
constitutional law issues. From 2007 to 2009 she served as United States
Ambassador to the Holy See. Professor Glendon is the author of several important
books, including Abortion and Divorce in Western Law, and many articles for
scholarly and popular journals.
The Proudly Pro-Life Award honors leaders in public service, business, the arts,
and religion who have made exceptional contributions in defense of innocent
Previous recipients of the Proudly Pro-Life Award include the late Congressman
Henry J. Hyde of Illinois; the Most Reverend Charles Chaput, Archbishop of
Denver; the late John Cardinal O'Connor, Archbishop of New York; Judge Robert
Bork; the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta; Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey;
the late Governor Robert Casey, Sr., of Pennsylvania; the late Senator Jesse
Helms of North Carolina; Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson; actor Ben
Stein; Priests for Life founder Father Frank Pavone; Robert and Mary Schindler,
Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Vitadamo, the family of Terri Schindler Schiavo; and
the late Wellington Mara, owner of the New York Giants.
The National Right to Life Committee is the nation's largest pro-life group with
affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. National
Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those
threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.