NewsThu Jun 4, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST
Notre Dame Not Seeking Leniency for Arrested Pro-Life Protesters: Thomas More Lawyers Now on the Cas
By Kathleen Gilbert
SOUTH BEND, Indiana, June 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Thomas More Society attorneys appeared in St. Joseph County Criminal Court to defend two prominent pro-life advocates against trespass charges brought this morning by local prosecutors in the wake of protests at the University of Notre Dame. The attorneys join the fight with pro-life attorney Tom Dickson, who is representing dozens more pro-lifers arrested at the campus.
Laura Rohling and Jane Brennan went onto the Notre Dame campus to educate students about the after-effects of abortion, based on their own personal experiences with abortion. Ms. Brennan, author of “Motherhood Interrupted,” is a frequent guest on Catholic TV and radio. She serves as regional coordinator in Colorado of “Silent No More,” a group which brings public attention to the plight of women who have experienced emotional and psychological trauma following abortion. Ms. Rohling serves as assistant regional coordinator of that group.
Brennan and Rohling, like dozens of other pro-life advocates who travelled across the country to protest President Obama's commencement speech at Notre Dame, were arrested for criminal trespass upon entering campus.
Witnesses say that only individuals who bore a pro-life display of protest - including a large cross, photographs of aborted children, and images of Mary - were arrested, while other passersby and pro-Obama demonstrators were allowed to roam free.
While South Bend prosecutor Michael Dvorak is pursuing charges against the pro-lifers, defense attorneys say they are concerned that the University has not sought leniency for the protesters.
“The Thomas More Society is urging the University to request that these trespass charges be dropped,” said Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society. “Such a magnanimous gesture will go far toward healing the divisions that have arisen between Notre Dame and the pro-life movement, in light of recent events.”
The Society has assembled an all-“Fighting Irish” team, including President and Chief Counsel Thomas Brejcha, Notre Dame class of ’65, Executive Director Peter Breen, Notre Dame Law class of ‘00, and South Bend attorney David Wemhoff, Notre Dame class of ’79, in defense of Ms. Rohling and Ms. Brennan.
“What’s vitally needed is dialogue about pro-life issues of abortion, stem-cell research, euthanasia, marriage, as well as about capital punishment and peace issues rather than confrontation in South Bend’s criminal court,” Brejcha continued. “The pro-life movement is the next stage of America’s civil rights movement, and Notre Dame is not Birmingham.”
The Thomas More Society has a history of partnership with the University of Notre Dame. The late Fr. Ned Joyce, former Executive Vice President of the University, was a regular financial supporter of the Society. Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, former President of the University, wrote fundraising letters in support of the Thomas More Society’s successful defense of peaceable, non-violent abortion protests in the landmark United States Supreme Court case, NOW v. Scheidler.
To contact University of Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins:
Office of the President
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN
Email: [email protected]
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Pro-Life Protesters Arrested on ND Campus to Return to South Bend to Face Charges http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09052902.html