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Notre Dame professor offers students abortion help in defiance of Catholic school policy

A professor at the University of Notre Dame , a private Catholic university, is offering to help students obtain abortions and contraceptives , despite Catholic teaching denouncing the practices as grave moral evils.

Tamara Kay, a professor of sociology at Notre Dame, advertised on the door of her office that she would offer “information on all healthcare issues and access — confidentially with care and compassion,” according to the independent student newspaper the Irish Rover.

The student outlet reported that Kay also had the letter “J” on the door of her office, which, according to Kay, denotes faculty who are willing to help students obtain Plan B and Plan C pills, the latter of which induce abortions up to the 12th week of fetal development.


Federal protections for abortion were eliminated in June after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which established a federal right to an abortion.

Office door of Notre Dame Sociology professor Tamara Kay offering to help students obtain access to abortion and contraceptives

Credit: The Irish Rover

Kay was a panelist last month at an event titled “Post-Roe America: Making Intersectional Feminist Sense of Abortion Bans,” where she said abortion bans “disproportionately affect people in minority groups: black, indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQIA, those with few resources, those who are incarcerated, those in the military, those who are on campus, those who are immigrants, those who have disabilities and physical and mental health challenges, including substance use disorder.”

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion and contraception are both grave moral evils and that faithful Catholics must work to abolish abortion as a matter of public policy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense” and anyone who “procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication.”

Kay said that her assistance to students in obtaining abortions was “cleared by the university” because it is in her capacity as a private citizen. She also said that she had spoken “to the dean and have also spoken to ND Media about policies.”

The sociology professor reportedly acknowledges that her opinion on abortion “runs afoul of Church teaching,” telling the Rover that her positions in “other areas” are aligned with church teaching.

“We are here (as private citizens, not representatives of ND) to help you access healthcare when you need it, and we are prepared in every way. Look for the ‘J’, Spread the word to students!” she reportedly wrote on social media. It is unclear what the “J” stands for.

Kay’s Twitter account is replete with references to abortion. The professor describes herself as an “Abortion Rights and Policy Scholar” on her profile and frequently shares links to services that assist with abortion access for people in states where the procedure is banned. A law banning the procedure in Indiana is on hold after a state judge blocked its enforcement.

The Washington Examiner reached out to Kay for comment using her university email address but received an auto-reply that said the “Notre Dame police are monitoring this email account and only forwarding me work-related email from students and colleagues.”


“Unfortunately you can’t please everyone: white nationalist Catholic hate groups can’t appreciate my academic work on reproductive health, rights, and justice. But ND supports my academic freedom,” she said in the reply.

The Washington Examiner has reached out to the university for comment.

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