Notre Dame Professor Sues Student Newspaper Over Her Pro-Abortion Advocacy

A University of Notre Dame sociology professor, Tamara Kay, is suing a college newspaper for defamation after the students wrote articles on her advocacy for abortion rights. The Irish Rover is an independent, conservative publication and the students are standing by their coverage.

A review of the complaint raises more questions than answers on the basis for this rare lawsuit against student journalists.  Indeed, the editors have doubled down and this week they ran a column declaring “Professor Kay’s allegations against the Rover are entirely false.” Their lawyers are reportedly preparing an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss, claiming that Kay is seeking to intimidate student journalists. These motions are used by media because, as the Reporters Committee on the Freedom of the Press explained, “SLAPPs have become an all-too-common tool for intimidating and silencing criticism through expensive, baseless legal proceedings.” Yet, it is rare to see an academic accused of such harassing lawsuits.

Professor Kay has every right to protect her reputation through defamation actions and such lawsuits can protect against harassment and abuse by the media. The problem is that Kay is alleging statements as false that other journalists have found to be true or matters of interpretation. The complaint does not appear particularly compelling.

The complaint focuses on two Rover articles, including one that quoted Kay’s comments at a panel and a second article on comments Kay made at an event hosted by the Notre Dame College Democrats in March. However, National Review reviewed audio and other evidence and confirmed much of what the student journalists alleged with slight (but hardly defamatory) differences.

For example, the complaint raises an October 2022 article written by student editor Joe DeReuil titled “Keough School Professor Offers Abortion Access to Students.” However, the complaint fails to cite any specific examples of false statements included in the piece. A headline, however, can be the basis for a defamation action.

The panel event itself was “Post-Roe America: Making Intersectional Feminist Sense of Abortion Bans,” the participants discussed how Indiana’s new pro-life law, S.B. 1, would be harmful to “marginalized groups.”

Kay is quoted as telling the Rover that “For me, abortion is a policy issue. And yes, my view runs afoul of Church teaching, but in other areas, my positions are perfectly aligned [with the Church].” However, Kay responded to the Rover by accusing the students of lying and insisting there was “absolutely no interview” with the Rover. However, DeReuil then produced a recording in which he reportedly clearly identifies himself as the editor of the Rover before asking her several questions

Kay also advocated abortion services through her Twitter account on which she identified herself as “Dr. Tamara Kay — Notre Dame abortion rights expert.” She also offered to “help as a private citizen if you have issues w access or cost. DM me [sic].”

She also reportedly posted a sign on her office door on campus that said, “This is a SAFE SPACE to get help and information on ALL Healthcare issues and access — confidentially with care and compassion.” The National Review reported that Kay’s non-Notre Dame email included information on how to reach her and told students to look for “a letter ‘J'” as a signal for helping with abortions: “Look for the ‘J’, Spread the word to students!”

Notably, the National Review reported that, after the Rover article, Kay changed her Twitter display name and “removed the signs from her office door and deleted her tweets about helping students access abortion.”

The lawsuit raises allegedly false statements made in a March 2023 article from the Rover written by student journalist Luke Thompson: “Tamara Kay Explains Herself to Notre Dame Democrats.”

Kay objects that she was falsely accused of “posting offers to procure abortion pills on her office door.” However, the National Review quotes a Notre Dame spokesman stating that in the case of the sign

“a reasonable person could understand Professor Kay to be giving medical advice (on becoming ‘unpregnant’ by taking abortion pills without knowing any details about an individual student’s health). This seemed unwise from both the perspective of faculty members and students.”

The recordings and media coverage also show that Kay made statements that seemed to track the views alleged by the student journalists even if there was some variation on the words.

It seems rather thin soup to sustain a defamation lawsuit against students or to support the claim that they are liable for her alleged  “suffer[ing] mentally and emotionally and experienced and continues to experience mental anguish and fear for her safety.” She is also seeking punitive damages.

Notably, New York magazine did a full report on the controversy in an article in The Cut titled “The Holy War Against One Pro-Abortion-Rights Professor: Tamara Kay has endured a vicious harassment campaign that she says Notre Dame won’t help curb.” The story features a sign with the J featured on her door.  The article declares that the newspaper “falsely claimed Kay was working ‘​​to bring abortion to Notre Dame students’ and distorted her comments at the September panel.”

I understand that Dr. Kay objects to the interpretation given her remarks and the headline “Keough School Professor Offers Abortion Access to Students.” However, the question is whether it goes beyond interpretation and warrants a defamation action. That will soon be the issue before the court as the student journalists seek a dismissal as an abusive effort to harass their newspaper.

Here is the complaint: Kay v. The Irish Rover

101 thoughts on “Notre Dame Professor Sues Student Newspaper Over Her Pro-Abortion Advocacy”

  1. Loud and proud… until she isn’t. Guessing she was pretty smug and in your face about her views in her microcosm, but how dare the newspaper out her as the baby killing POS she really is! Oh, the humanity of exposing the truth!

  2. They all have that crazy look!

    Do humanities professors get coached on that look or does it just come naturally? One word for any guy approaching her – AVOID!

  3. This will be so much fun to watch. A baby murderer against a fake Catholic school. It is just a shame only one can lose.

    1. “Murderer”

      Homicide – man, kill

      Aka, murder

      After 24 hours of fertilization, a zygote-embryo-fetus-baby is, in fact, a human being, a person, a man, that will be alive and continue to develop for about 78 years.

      What kind of crazy person doesn’t understand this?

      Oh, yeah, murderers.

  4. The poor, suffering, opportunist narcissist. The left loves to play word games, but they hate being held accountable for their words.

  5. A five page defamation Complaint is an anomaly; a successful five pager is an impossibility. Slap suit meets smack down with predictable results for the wokester, butt-hurt woke professor.

  6. Everyone eventually gets their day in the barrel. The barrel here is used as a metaphor, representing a clown, similar to a rodeo clown who jumps in a barrel for protection from a charging bull. The barrel is only temporary protection. Once out of the barrel there is no protection for foolish comportment: (self-discipline, training, schooling).

    This is the latest issue demonstrating the duplicity of the left, she is quoted “For me, abortion is a policy issue, And yes, my view runs afoul of Church teaching, but in other areas, my positions are perfectly aligned [with the Church]”.
    Her statement is gobble-dy-gook (meaningless, inscrutable). The first tenet of the Catholic Church there is a God.

    In King James Version, Genesis 1:
    27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    28 ‘And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…”.

    In the simplest analysis if the Church believes in God, and God created Man/Women, and you want the right to terminate life (abort), you cannot believe in God, much less the Church.

    “Everywhere I go I see increasing evidence of people swirling about in a human cesspit of their own making”: James Anderton

  7. It would instructive to follow the money. Who is paying for this lawsuit? Professors do not make that much money.

      1. Independent Bob,
        True enough. However, that was likely a fancy way of giving her a sweet deal for a political favor (money laundering-bribery). The full professor pay (average) with experience is about 190K at Notre Dame. It goes down the ladder from there to about 90K. Post tax, it’s a good living but not extravagant.

        I would not be surprised if this is being bought and paid for by an activist organization.

        1. E.M. I live in Massachusetts. Believe me, I am well aware of what this wack job is all about. I could go on and on but I don’t want to be a blow bag

  8. You see how left wingers misrepresent reality to drive the emotional result they want. Reporting the left’s word magically becomes a viscous campaign of harassment. Then that label is reported elsewhere as fact.

    This is how academia and media collude to create propaganda.

  9. The student piece states untruths: it accuses the professor of offering abortion services and providing medication abortions–whichi is a lie. The professor is not a physician, which would be required for her to actually provide abortion services or medical abortions. All the professor did was offer compassion to a student in a crisis pregnancy. Of course, Turley’s criticism is peppered with the usual qualifiers such as “seems”, etc. More daily affirmation for the disciples.

    1. Gigi: Apparently you’re about as bright as Kay and that’s not meant as a compliment. What part of “access” don’t you get? The headline reads: “Keough School Professor Offers Abortion Access to Students.” Nice try — slipping “services” in there as a substitute for “access.” We see you.

      1. GioCon: what part of “abortion access” do YOU not understand? Offering a sympathetic ear to someone with a crisis pregnancy is NOT offering “access” to abortion “services” or “access” to abortion. In fact, any pregnant woman has “access” to “abortion” services by going to a state where it is legal. And, anyone smart enough to get into Notre Dame would be smart enough to figure out where to go.

  10. Reproductive HEALTH? There is nothing healthy about an abortion. It is the violent death of an unborn child (especially late term) and the maiming of a woman’s body.

    1. I respectfully disagree. A young woman who has resolved to only have a child within marriage is upholding a conservative value (family structure, meaningful roles for men, sex-specific role models for children that can be repeated when they mature) when she sticks to her life plan in the case of unplanned pregnancy.

      There are competing goods at play in the abortion issue. God gave us the intelligence and wisdom to weigh and decide priorities. To pick one value and block out consideration of all the others is moral reductionism — a cop out from the quandaries thrust on us as humans.

      Preservation of the nuclear family structure raising its own biological children is more important in the long run than any one unwanted fetus. It will be nice in the future when birth control is perfected, and we can only have wanted pregnancies entered into proactively. In the meantime, let’s avoid an authoritarian impulse to dictate to female citizens what is best from a remote, uninformed, and unaccountable perch. Or, we conservatives can forget about winning national government. It’s that simple — nobody like an unaccountable authority figure butting into their private lives.

      1. In the meantime, let’s avoid an authoritarian impulse to dictate to female citizens what is best from a remote, uninformed, and unaccountable perch

        That is what Roe forced on us.

        Dodd, returned the issue to the people of the States. It is not remote, and not unaccountable. Elections happen every two years. Roe took 5 decades to get corrected.

      2. “God gave us the intelligence and wisdom to weigh and decide priorities.”

        God does not give us the right to kill human life for convenience.

        “Preservation of the nuclear family structure raising its own biological children is more important in the long run than any one unwanted fetus.”

        No, being held responsible and living with one’s decisions is more important than killing human life for convenience.

      3. ” A young woman who has resolved to only have a child within marriage is upholding a conservative value (family structure, meaningful roles for men, sex-specific role models for children that can be repeated when they mature) when she sticks to her life plan in the case of unplanned pregnancy.”
        LOL She failed her plan when she had sex and got pregnant.
        “A young woman who has resolved to only have a child within marriage is upholding a conservative value ”
        Not in this case, she got pregnant without marriage, so she didn’t resolve anything but her self control issues.
        “(family structure, meaningful roles for men..”
        NO ROLE FOR MEN in abortion. You got that one 100% incorrect, too.
        ” sex-specific role models for children that can be repeated when they mature”
        NO maturing children here, since they were murdered in the womb.
        “when she sticks to her life plan in the case of unplanned pregnancy..”
        That means she is already outside of her life plan you outlined, she is pregnant and not married. The life plan solution is marry the paramour and raise the family without any abortion.

        So you got everything totally incorrect and just filled it with lies and spin. A woman resolved fails and gets pregnant and aborts the baby but somehow to you that is upholding conservative values…
        You’re just another lousy lying spin artist.

      4. How does a pregnant unmarried resolved woman uphold her conservative family values ?
        This is what was expected and what was done only a short while ago, before all you lunatics started preaching anything goes so long as the Christian Doctrine was off in some imaginary future that never comes to pass. In that case, murder was a good way to “get the future that never comes and destroy the present and the soon to be past and preach abortion as a conservative family good, as you just tried to do.

      5. Your moral compass is off. You cannot do evil to obtain “good”.
        Your argument easily reduces to absurdity… what other evil deeds would you allow or promote to achieve something “good”?
        It all starts and end with your “one unwanted fetus” classification.

      6. So what you’re saying is: because she broke one of the Ten Commandments it is okay for her to break another one, as long as it is in line with her life plan.

      7. You are trying to justify your position with, “A young woman who has resolved to only have a child within marriage is upholding a conservative value (family structure,”

        There is no need to kill the baby if your rationale is true.

    2. There’s nothing reproductive about slaughtering a living human trapped in a womb–the most dangerous God-made sanctuary in the workd.

  11. “Another key element of human ecology is the inviolability of human life, especially at its beginning and its end. …. the first and most fundamental of all human rights is the right to life, and that when this right is denied all other rights are threatened. …. A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying. A materialistic view of the human person will concede little value and dignity to either.”
    – Pope John Paul II

    The Left see individuals as widgets, props, talking points to use and discard, once they have been granted the power for which they lusted. To wit….Professor Tamara Kay’s website proves the aforementioned:

    This is not and has never been about me. It is about the safety and dignity of the brilliant women students on this campus, who deserve to thrive and flourish here. My commitment to them, and to our Black, indigenous, LGBTQI+ and students of color is unshakeable, at the core of how I try to live my deep faith every day, and cannot be undermined by threats, abuse and harassment.”

    The Left see little value nor dignity in individuals, e.g. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joseph Biden many comments on millions of Americans as being “vast right wing conspiracy”, “bitter clingers”, “deplorables”, “Maga zealots”, “QAnon disciples”, “terrorists”, “election deniers”, etc.

        1. How many abortions have been performed in this country since abortion was legalized. 40,000,000. Could you imagine the dims tripping over themselves for 40,000,000 votes.

      1. Alas Democrats do vote and they always vote against life, including against making child sex trafficking a felony. Makes sense since they consider abortion as “health service”

        California Assembly Democrats Block Bill to Fight Sex Trafficking of Minors

        A bill to make sex trafficking a felony once again in California was blocked Tuesday in the Assembly Public Safety Committee by Democrats, after passing unanimously in the Senate….. Ironically, most of the bills were killed in Assembly or Senate Public Safety committees, just as SB 14 was.

        The following article in the Times of San Diego never mentions that it was Democrats that killed the bill.

        Like the Notre Dame Sociology Professor, the Left rail against life but don’t want to be caught in the act. Perhaps Olly can inform us more on this travesty. I will never understand California.

        Bill to Make Sex Trafficking of Minors a ‘3 Strikes’ Felony Voted Down in Assembly

  12. Why is it leftist just don’t own their political positions? I have no beef with Catholics. But you either believe or you don’t. That’s for you to work out.

    The WHO evening drive guy, posited an analogy. The holocost happened because the Nazis convinced the people, those taken to the camps, were not human. That made the atrocity palatable. Today the same has happened here. Babies are not humans. (dont know what they think they are…just not a human being snuffed out, so you can make partner.)

    1. The word to describe her is a Cafeteria Catholic. She’ll only choose those Church tenets that suit.

      1. And, you know what, Mary? Most Catholics support and practice birth control– other than the rhythm method, the only form approved by the Church. The same is true for abortion–according to the Pew Research Center, 56% of Catholics say that abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

          1. You, too, are cherry-picking out the most-conservative views, instead of the “overall” opinions of ALL Catholics:

            Overall, about three-quarters of U.S. Catholics (76%) say abortion should be illegal in some cases but legal in others. Just one-in-ten say abortion should be illegal in all cases, with no exceptions, while a similar share (13%) take the position that abortion should be legal in all cases, without exceptions.

            About seven-in-ten Catholics say abortion should be legal if the pregnant woman’s life or health is threatened (69%), and two-thirds say it should be legal if the pregnancy is the result of rape (66%). At the same time, roughly two-thirds of Catholics say how long a woman has been pregnant should be a factor in determining abortion’s legality (63%), with larger shares opposing abortions in the late stages of a pregnancy than in the early stages.

    2. iowan2: your analogy is incorrect. Nazis convinced Germans that Jews were the cause of WWI and the aftermath of poverty and deprivation that followed. Up to that time, Jews were the neighbors, doctors, dentists, concert performers, teachers and university professors who were acceoted just like non-Jews. Later on, after they had the power to silence and kill anyone who opposed them and they had control over newspapers and radio (the only forms of mass media at the time) Nazis convinced themselves that Jews were not people, so it was OK to enslave, starve and kill them. And it wasn’t just Jews–it was Romanis (i.e.–:”gypsies”), Catholics, homosexuals, and people with physical and mental disabilities. There is no comparison between abortion and the holocaust. The issue with abortion is whether a woman has the right, up to the age of fetal viability, to decide to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, or whether the government has the right to force her to continue carrying an unwanted pregnancy because of the religious beliefs of other people with which she does not agree. Calling a fertilized egg or undeveloped fetus in the primitive stages of deelopment a “baby” is one of the emotional appeals used by anti-abortion activists.

        1. iowan2: do you have reading comprehension problems? I SAID that it was the NAZIs who sold the German people on the concept that Jews were the cause of WWI and the aftermath of poverty and deprivation, which is true, This is how persecution of the Jews came about, beginning with forced registration, banning them from holding public office and attending public schools, forcing them to wear the Star of David, forcing them into ghettos, and then to concentration camps. The AHC channel has a series on Nazis that goes through this history–starting with Hitler when he was a chlld, when he was homeless, in the army, in a psychiatric hospital, his rise to power and propaganda he used to turn Germans against Jews. Maybe you should educate yourself about the holocaust and how it came about before comparing it to abortion. There’s lots of books I can recommend–several from the first-person perspective–try “Underground in Berlin” and “Night” by Elie Weisel. And, nothing I said was even remotely anti-Semitic.

          1. You read and spout lies and are for murdering babies.
            If you, as a not fully developed fertilized embryo were aborted, you wouldn’t be here. Only a demoncrat is unable to comprehend that absolute fact.

            1. Everyone does not agree that a fertilized egg or undeveloped fetus incapable of life outside of the womb is a “baby”, something you don’t get. In a free society, everyone does not have to live according to the rules of one religion.

          2. This is how persecution of the Jews came about,

            You spelled genocide wrong. Like squad member Omar is quoted. “Some people, did some things”. You try to claim there was persecution….Not the murder of over 6 million humans….Because the people were convinced they were not in fact human. You are blatant in your attempt to wash from history the murder of millions.

            1. iowan2: your ignorance and hubris in spouting things you know little to nothing about are stunning. The REASON Nazis put certain people in concentration camps was to stamp out people who are NOT Aryan–a fictional “race” of people Nazis claimed were superior to other people. Non-Aryans included Russians, Romanis, Poles, blacks, of course, and Jews. Whether you were a member of the “Aryan race” was determined based on things like eye and hair color, among other physical traits, even though, ironically, Hitler and most of his top henchmen didn’t match the description and there were plenty of blonde, blue-eyed Jews, Russians and Poles. If you ever went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, you would see one of the eye color charts actually used by the Nazis. The goal of the “final solution” was to stamp out non-Aryans, especially Jews. Nazis also had a Liebensborn project–institutions where Aryan women would get impregnanted by Aryan men–to crank out more Aryans.. The issue was not whether non-Aryans were or were not “human”–but whether they were inferior to Aryans. But, as I’ve learned, you Cult 45’ers cannot absorb facts, so arguing with you is a waste of time.

      1. “or whether the government has the right to force her to continue carrying an unwanted pregnancy because of the religious beliefs of other people with which she does not agree.” “Other people” is also known as “Society”. Society should decide the rules we live under. Unfortunately for you… there ARE people who disagree with you. By your standards, armed robbery should not be a crime because there are people who think armed robbery is just fine (usually the armed robbers). Just because someone else’s religion says it is wrong should not matter.

      2. “Calling a fertilized egg or undeveloped fetus in the primitive stages of deelopment a “baby” is one of the emotional appeals used by anti-abortion activists.” In your words, unborn humans aren’t considered humans until after birth (and sometimes then some). So that makes them “trans human” from conception to birth. Aren’t all trans people supposed to be treated as though they already were the description to the right of “trans”? Trans Humans have rights!

        1. Re: Emotional appeals….

          Hakeem Jeffries
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          the more ILLEGITIMATE it becomes.
          America deserves to know whether we
          have a FAKE President in the Oval
          Office #RussianInterference
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          Hakeem Jeffries
          We will never bend the knee to the
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          7:00 AM • 10/14/22 • TweetDeck

      3. What does religion have to do with it. Is the prohibition of homicide based on religion. Can an atheist charged with homicide use that as a defense.

  13. Odd isn’t it…..a pro-abortion Professor at a Catholic University gets her nose out of joint (there’s a “J” for you….when the Student Newspaper reports on her actions, writings, and speech in the furtherance of her pro-abortion agenda.

    Then…decides to file a law suit and insist how evil the students were that clearly did their homework and turned it in for publication.

    I hope the Students do like the Covington Kids did….and file a counter action and seek compensatory and punitive damages from the Professor.

    If they do and win….it will not be “thin soup” it shall be a large meal of Crow on a very cold platter.

  14. Were there ever a collective of more insufferable cry babies than the modern left? I still say: aristocracy on steroids. Typically the privileged left reminds me of pretty much any other ignorant, entitled fool I’ve known who had a trust fund. Boo hoo. Also love the hypocrisy of suing children because they hurt your feelings. There simply are no grown ups in that direction. Just none. Nada.

    1. She’s afraid her job might be under the knife, she might be aborted from the university, so she lies and fights, in hopes she can save her own neck from the extraction forceps.

  15. 1L Torts: the plaintiff is a limited-purpose public figure, and/or was speaking on a matter of public concern. Therefore, there can be no liability absent proof of malice – that what the students said was false and they knew it was false or showed reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity.

    1. It won’t matter if it ends up in front of a jury of Demofascists who have 0 regard for law.

  16. When a girlfriend of one of the Rover editors becomes pregnant, they will send her to this professor for help.

    1. Not everyone is an irresponsible ghoul. But I can understand how thinking so may be comforting to irresponsible ghouls.

      1. Like knocking up a stripper, then trying to get out of paying child support, denying the child’s use of your last name and your family tells aides not to mention or acknowledge the child?
        That is ghoulish.

        1. This is one circumstance where the selfish biden syndicate has inadvertently helped someone – That kid is way better-off being as distant as possible from those aholes.

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