Richard Doerflinger, a Public Policy Fellow of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, retired at the end of April after 36 years as the associate director for pro-life activities and policy for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). In recognition of his role as a lifelong champion in defense of human life, Doerflinger was honored in 2011 with the first ever Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal, and as a Public Policy Felllow he continues to serve as an expert on bioethical issues.
"Richard Doerflinger is one of the greatest heroes of the pro-life movement. His passionate, relentless, joyful, and loving defense of the dignity of every member of the human family was and continues to be an inspiration," said Carter Snead, director of the Center for Ethics and Culture. "We look forward to working with Richard in the years to come in his capacity as a Public Policy Fellow of the Center. We wish Richard and Lee Ann all the best as they begin the next chapter of their lives together in the Pacific Northwest!"
In his role as associate director of the USCCB's Secretariat of Pro-Life Activties, Doerflinger drafted and built support for pro-life legislation at both the federal and state level. His efforts were integral to the conception, passage, and continued vitality of parental notification and consent laws, as well as conscience protections for medical practicioners. Doerflinger has been a tireless advocate for unborn victims of violence by promoting born-alive infant protection legislation, partial-birth abortion bans, and the Weldon Amendment to prevent patenting of human embryos. He also worked to establish restrictions on direct funding of abortions both domestic and international, such as the Hyde Amendment and the Mexico City Policy.
Though he has formally retired from the USCCB, Doerflinger will continue to support a robust culture of life by teaching at the Center for Ethics and Culture's annual Vita Institute, a training program for pro-life leaders and advocates. As Doerflinger noted in an April 29, 2016 interview with Joan Desmond published in the National Catholic Register, "I plan to keep engaging these issues, with a bit more time to research and write on them in greater depth. I’ll be available to consult on legislation and on emerging issues in bioethics. These are not matters you walk away from easily."
The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture is the leading center for scholarly reflection within the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition. The Center is committed to sharing the richness of this tradition through teaching, research, and dialogue, at the highest level and across a range of disciplines. For more information about the work of the Center, contact communications specialist Ken Hallenius at 574-631-3192 or firstname.lastname@example.org.