A Notre Dame professor sues a student publication over its coverage of her abortion-rights work

by | Jul 28, 2023 | Religion

(AP) — A University of Notre Dame professor has filed a defamation lawsuit against a student-run publication over news coverage of her abortion-rights work. The case is raising questions about press freedom and academic freedom at one of the nation’s preeminent Catholic institutions of higher education.The litigation is unfolding in Indiana – the first state to enact sweeping abortion restrictions after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
Tamara Kay’s suit, filed in May in St. Joseph County, alleges falsehoods in two articles published by The Irish Rover in the past academic year. The Rover defended its reporting as true in a motion filed earlier this month to dismiss the case, under a law meant to protect people from frivolous lawsuits over matters of public concern.
Kay, a professor of global affairs and sociology, asks for unspecified punitive damages after she “has been harassed, threatened, and experienced damage to her residential property” and “continues to experience mental anguish” as a result of the two articles.
Published in October 2022 and March 2023 after two public events in which Kay participated, the articles cover her remarks about her support for abortion rights. The lawsuit alleges that the articles “contained false and defamatory information,” arguing that they misinterpreted a sign on her door about helping students access healthcare and denying two quotes about academic freedom and her work at a Catholic institution.
“The note on my door referenced sexual a …

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