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 human life.
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.