Abortion opponents arrested at Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Hundreds of University of Notre Dame students protested President Barack Obama's commencement address Sunday as anti-abortion activists converged on the school's front gates.

At least 27 people were arrested on trespassing charges, said Sgt. Bill Redman of the St. Joseph's County Police Department.

They included Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff identified as "Roe" in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. She now opposes abortion.

Signs held by some protesters declared "Shame on Notre Dame" and "Stop Abortion Now."

Bishop John D'Arcy, whose diocese includes Notre Dame, joined the students, calling them "heroes" for expressing their anger over the Roman Catholic school's invitation to Obama, who supports abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research.

D'Arcy declined to attend the commencement, instead speaking to the students who had gathered on the school's south quadrangle. He also attended a prayer vigil Saturday night.

"It's certainly the place for the bishop to be here. There's no doubt about that," D'Arcy told the crowd Sunday. "All of you here today are heroes, and I'm proud to stand with you."

Outside campus, more than 300 anti-abortion demonstrators gathered at the school's front gate.

But the off-campus crowds also included Sunsara Taylor, a New York City resident and a member of the abortion-rights group Abortion on Demand.

Taylor said she visited Notre Dame because she felt that "there was a voice missing" in the controversy over Obama's visit. "If women don't have a right to decide if they have a child, women aren't free," she said. "We need to expand abortion access and abortion rights and lift the stigma. Fetuses are not babies and women are not incubators."

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