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Just in case you thought President Obama was the first pro-choice speaker ever to attend a Notre Dame commencement:

It turns out Notre Dame has had numerous leaders who support abortion rights — at least to a greater extent than the Catholic church does — speak at commencement. Here are some of them, including a few surprises:

– 2004: Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, who voted in the Doe v. Gomez case in 1995 that taxpayer funding of abortion can’t be limited in the state.

– 2003: Richard Lugar, who is largely pro-life but has voted to expand stem cell research and allow the federal government to give grants to organizations that perform abortions.

– 2002: Newsman Tim Russert, who worked for pro-choice pols Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Mario Cuomo.

– 2001: George W. Bush, who, like Lugar, is usually seen as pro-life but favors exceptions in cases of rape and incest, thus contradicting church teaching.

– 1999: Elizabeth Dole, whose position is similar to Bush’s.

– 1988: Andrew Young, former ambassador, congressman, and Atlanta mayor who was “renowned among pro-choice activists for energetically promoting women’s rights during his two decades in Congress and city hall.”

– 1977: President Jimmy Carter, who has long straddled the rhetorical fence on this issue while promoting family planning, supporting abortion rights in certain circumstances, and never calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.


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