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The Good, the Bad, and the Trans 'Abortion Doula'

State of the Union: Notre Dame should abort more than just a lecture series on “reproductive justice” if it wants to salvage what remains of its Catholic identity.

Campus scene University of Notre Dame

Few things in journalism are better than good reporting on bad news. Mary Frances Myler, over at the American Spectator, did just that on Wednesday (and I say this as someone not just trying to stay in his girlfriend’s good graces). 

On Monday, the University of Notre Dame hosted a lecture titled “Trans Care + Abortion Care: Intersections and Questions,” the latest installment in a lecture series centered around “reproductive justice” hosted by, you guessed it, the university’s gender studies program. 


The esteemed guest speakers were Ash Williams, a woman who thinks she’s a man, and Jules Gill-Peterson, a man who thinks he’s a woman. Neither makes much attempt to pull it off. “It truly was a spectacle,” Myler says. “A man pretending to be a woman speaking about abortion with a woman pretending to be a man.”

Williams is a self-proclaimed abortion doula, a rather bizarre title to grant herself, given the vocation of a doula is to provide care and comfort for the mother and child during childbirth, not whisper sweet nothings in a pregnant woman’s ear while their child is dismembered then vacuumed from their womb. And is Williams’ embrace of the term doula a freudian slip? Doula is a feminine term. Doulos would be the masculine equivalent. But Williams clearly doesn’t give a rats about any of this. She’s a woman who has gotten away with calling herself a man; she’ll call herself whatever she wants. You just have to shut up and take it, no matter how unmoored she is from reality.

Gill-Peterson is an Associate Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University, but seems to write fiction for a living. Previously, he authored a book titled, Histories of the Transgender Child, and his upcoming projects include titles such as The Trans Girl Lyric and Gender Underground: A History of Trans DIY. Trans DIY? (Remember, they’re totally not trying to trans the kids, but it’s good that they are!) Though I do not subscribe to his Substack, I can only assume it is also fiction from the title, Sad Brown Girl.

But Notre Dame’s gender studies program was far from going it alone. Myler writes, “Additional supporters included Notre Dame’s Initiative on Race and Resilience as well as its Institute for Latino Studies, the St. Mary’s College Department of Gender and Women Studies, the Indiana University-South Bend Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and the South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center.” Other sponsors included seven other academic departments, “American Studies, Anthropology, English, History, Political Science, Sociology, as well as Film, Television, and Theatre.”

This is just the latest incident involving speakers who openly flout the Church’s teachings on gender, sexuality, and abortion at the nation’s foremost catholic university. Frequent readers of The American Conservative might be familiar with my reporting on the presence of abortion advocates on campus, not only tolerated but encouraged by university faculty.


Others, at best useful idiots, at worst closeted supporters of these ideological movements have attempted to write off these events as episodic. But this week’s happenings at Notre Dame show the size and scope of institutional support these radicals have received by a university that claims the name of Our Blessed Mother.

The interdisciplinary nature of this support—intersectionality at its most literal—tells us something else important: Simply getting rid of gender studies departments isn’t enough. It requires razing, then restoring, the disciplines that have embraced the same, underlying fundamentals of gender studies. Namely, individual autonomy and moral relativism. 

The embrace of this “enlightened” way of thinking is more obvious in some disciplines than others. Those who support scrapping gender studies probably want to get rid of sociology, anthropology, political science, and Film, Television, and Theatre too. But liberal modernity has not just infiltrated these specific disciplines; it permeates the entirety of the university, and is just as easily found in history, English, and American studies departments. They have to go, too.

A real doula might literally invoke a common idiom to joke with a new mother: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” But at the modern American university, there is no proverbial baby. Only bathwater.


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