Thomas More Society’s Relentless Legal Defense Wins Justice for Pro-Live Activists
Today, Michael Dvorak, St. Joseph County, Indiana prosecutor, dismissed the criminal trespass charges that he has pressed over the last two years against almost all of the pro-life protesters, known as the “ND88,” the individuals arrested for trespassing when they entered upon Notre Dame’s campus in peaceful and prayerful protest against the University’s bestowing honors on President Barack Obama at the 2009 Commencement. Dvorak dropped the charges as part of an agreement between the Thomas More Society and the University.
“This is a big step forward and a victory for the pro-life cause,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society and a 1965 Notre Dame graduate. “We are appreciative of the steps that Notre Dame has taken, including successive visits by University President John Jenkins, C.S.C., and other campus leaders to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., both in 2010 and 2011, to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the creation of new and significant pro-life initiatives on campus. Those who share pro-life convictions may differ on tactics and approaches, but they best serve their sacred cause when they work together to secure the common good for all human beings, born and unborn alike, rather than carrying on as courtroom antagonists.”
Tom Dixon, South Bend, Indiana attorney and Thomas More Society special counsel, had led the defense over the last two years, during which the parties engaged in vigorous litigation, including extensive discovery proceedings.
The parties remain in profound disagreement over the 2009 Commencement, but after prayerful consideration they have decided to put their differences behind them, to cease battling in court, and rather to affirm a commitment to the fundamental proposition that each and every human life is sacred, from conception until natural death, no matter whether rich or poor, humble or exalted, wanted or “unwanted.”
Moreover, both parties have pledged not to rehash the events of the past, but on the contrary, to recognize each other’s pro-life efforts and to work together to find ways to increase those efforts and maximize their impact on the nation’s contentious, ongoing debate over abortion policy.