The leading center for scholarly reflection within the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition
The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture and Notre Dame Law School are pleased to announce the Polking Family Fellowship, a newly established program to recruit and provide funding for top law school candidates who have a demonstrated passion for the Catholic mission of the Law School and who share Notre Dame’s commitment to the inalienable dignity of every human life from conception to natural death.
The Polking Fellowship aims to cultivate the next generation of leaders who understand that law and public policy are essential elements in building a sustainable culture of life.
Center Director Carter Snead (University of Notre Dame Law School), Remick Senior Visiting Fellow Michael Moreland (Villanova Law School), and eleven other law professors filed a brief amici curiae on January 11 in the Zubik v. Burwell case regarding the contraceptive mandate of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The brief argues that the mandate burdens the religious exercise of the Little Sisters of the Poor, one of the petitioners in the case, who object to having their employee health care plans used as a vehicle to distribute abortifacients and contraceptives:
Although the government insists that revised regulations of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) relieve the nuns of the obligation to pay for these drugs, HHS still commandeers health care plans created and controlled by the nuns and uses them to distribute abortifacients and contraceptives. State and federal law treat these health care plans as the property of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Thus, the Little Sisters make the unremarkable claim that HHS substantially burdens their religious exercise when it uses their property in a way that offends their faith’s teachings.
Center Director Carter Snead addressed a reception hosted at the Synod on the Family in Rome October 20. The gathering, cohosted by the Center for Ethics and Culture and Cardinal Timothy Dolan (Archdiocese of New York), was attended by Synod fathers, clergy, and members of the media. Professor Snead spoke on the relationship between the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell vs. Hodges and the work of the Synod:
In the domain of law and policy, expressive individualism holds that human desires are the source of fundamental rights. Expressive individualism underwrites the jurisprudence of abortion rights in the U.S. It anchors the arguments for unlimited access to dehumanizing and dangerous technologies of assisted reproduction. It undergirds the U.S. regulation compelling the Little Sisters of the Poor to facilitate access to contraception and abortifacients to their employees. And it justifies no-fault divorce. When operationalized in law and policy, expressive individualism often becomes a grave threat to the weakest and most vulnerable, who are seen as burdensome obstacles to the projects of the strong.
Read his full remarks here.
Join us for the 31st Annual Medical Ethics Conference March 18–19, 2016. Find out more.
The Evangelium Vitae Medal will be awarded to Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire and the Little Sisters of the Poor on April 9, 2016. Learn more.