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Elizabeth Kirk, J.D.

Associate Scholar

Elizabeth Kirk is the Director of the Center for Law and the Human Person and a research associate at the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America. She writes and speaks on matters pertaining to the family in law, policy and the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition, and has a special interest in adoption law and policy. She also provides strategic guidance, such as legislative analysis, on related matters to policy leaders and legislators.

Her work has appeared in various publications including Public DiscourseFirst ThingsNational Review OnlineThe National Catholic RegisterThe Washington Examiner and Aleteia. She has been a guest on various radio & TV programs.

Elizabeth previously served as Director and Kowalski Chair of Catholic Thought at the Institute for Faith and Culture at the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas (2019-2020), as associate director of the University of Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture (2005-2011), and as a resident fellow in cultural and legal studies at the Stein Center for Social Research at Ave Maria University (2012-16).

Elizabeth has a demonstrated commitment to promoting the dignity of human life, having served in various capacities with pro-life institutions and ministries for over twenty years. Most notably, in 2010, along with University of Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture Director David Solomon, Elizabeth founded the Vita Institute, an intensive interdisciplinary training program for leaders in the national and international pro-life movement.

Elizabeth has also practiced law, clerked for a federal appellate court judge (the Honorable Daniel A. Manion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit) and taught law (at The Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and at Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan).

She holds a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from University of Notre Dame Law School and a bachelor’s degree in English literature, cum laude, from the University of Missouri.

Elizabeth serves as a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life committee. She is a board member of The Catholic Bar Association, a board member and secretary of The Sycamore Trust, and a member of the Catholic Women’s Forum at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

She resides in Maryland with her husband and four children.

Latest Research & News

  • Update: COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates and Abortion-Derived Cell Lines | September 30, 2020

    To view this chart as a PDF, see: COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates and Abortion-Derived Cell Lines   Updated June 2, 2021   Accurate information about the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines is essential, especially because many proposed candidates use newer molecular technologies for production of a viral vaccine. One concern regarding the ethical assessment of […]

  • A Visual Aid to Viral Infection and Vaccine Production | June 15, 2020

    This is Issue 1 in CLI’s On Science. To view this report as a PDF, see: A Visual Aid to Viral Infection and Vaccine Production   Updated November 2020   Introduction As a result of the rapid spread of the new coronavirus technically known as SARS-CoV-2, the United States and other governments have begun crash […]

  • The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Ethics of Triage | March 26, 2020

    by R. J. Snell, Ph.D. This paper can be viewed as a pdf here: The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Ethics of Triage   As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Italy, many hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, necessitating difficult triage decisions that can seem like choosing who lives and who dies. In the United States, already […]

  • Pro-Life Topics for Lawmakers Regarding Coronavirus | March 25, 2020

    This is Issue 43 in CLI’s On Point Series. To view this report as a PDF, see: On Point 43 Pro-Life Topics for Lawmakers Regarding Coronavirus.   Abortion advocates have found a new ally—COVID-19.   During this intensely stressful time, the vast majority of Americans are focused on protecting their health and the health of […]

  • Abortion Jurisprudence Primer | October 21, 2021

    This is issue 70 of CLI’s On Point Series. To view this report as a PDF, see: Abortion Jurisprudence Primer   During its upcoming term, the Supreme Court will review the Mississippi Gestational Age Act, which forbids abortions after 15 weeks’ gestational age, except in cases of medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormalities.[1] This case, […]

  • Impact of the Strict Scrutiny Standard of Judicial Review on Abortion Legislation Under the Kansas Supreme Court’s Decision in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt | March 19, 2020

    This is Issue 42 in CLI’s On Point Series. To view this report as a PDF, see: Impact of the Strict Scrutiny Standard of Judicial Review on Abortion Legislation Under the Kansas Supreme Court’s Decision in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt   This paper is focused on a narrow matter, namely, the nature of the […]