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18 protestors arrested at Notre Dame

May 15, 2009 3:01:29 PM PDT
Anti-abortion protests have already begun at Notre Dame, where Pres. Barack Obama will give the commencement speech on Sunday.Eighteen people- including former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes- were arrested on Friday outside the school's front gates. About 40 people participated in the prayer and listened to Keyes- who led the group- speak before the smaller number walked onto campus. There, they were stopped by security officers.

Pres. Obama's support of abortion rights and stem cell research contradicts the Catholic school's teachings. Therefore, anti-abortion activists are planning to stage a large protest during Pres. Obama's commencement address on Sunday.

However, the overwhelming majority of graduating Notre Dame seniors plan to attend the commencement exercise this Sunday.

"I'm really excited, really pumped. It's awesome," said Gaby Miller, Notre Dame senior.

"Not everybody gets the president to come speak at their commencement snoin. And four years of hard work is paying off," said Gregory Vallejos, Notre Dame senior.

"He could have gone to Harvard or Columbia, where he went to school, but he didn't. He chose to come here," said Bob Kessler, Notre Dame senior.

A small group of seniors at the Catholic university will not attend to protest Obama's support not only of a woman's right to choose, but also federal funding for stem cell research using human embryos.

"He's at odds with the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion and fundamental Catholic teachings," said Victor Saenv, Notre Dame Senior

"I feel that's the best way I can be a witness in terms of life issues," said Andrew Chronister, Notre Dame Senior.

Former President George Bush--an abortion opponent--delivered the commencement address at Notre Dame in 2001 without incident.

Some students who refuse to attend Sunday's event are upset the university plans to confer an honorary doctor of laws degree on the president.

Pres. Obama--who delivered the commencement address at Arizona State University earlier this month--may see signs of protest at Notre Dame in the audience Sunday.

"I'll be wearing a symbol on top of my mortar board. It will have the cross and baby feet on them," said Craig Vorchard, Notre Dame senior.

Anti-abortion activists from Chicago and around the country are chartering buses to South Bend, Ind. The president is scheduled to speak at noon on Sunday.


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