This past week, the Archdiocese of Washington rightly criticized a Georgetown University student group’s invitation to the president of Planned Parenthood to speak on campus. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood of America, is scheduled to speak on campus in April. She was invited to speak by the school’s student-run Lecture Fund.
Georgetown University, the United States’ oldest Jesuit university, believes that the student group’s invitation was justified and that it would be “sustaining a forum for the free exchange of ideas … even when those ideas may be difficult, controversial or objectionable to some.”
The archdiocese said the issue is not about free speech because “lacking in this choice by the student group is any reflection of what should be an environment of morality, ethics and human decency that one expects on a campus that asserts its Jesuit and Catholic history and identity.”
This invitation, even if it is made to one who is not being offered a stipend for her talk and even if it is for a private group and not for the general public, is inappropriate. Georgetown is a university run by the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order. It is a university that is in the Catholic tradition and as such, must represent Catholic ideals.
It is fine to be open to the culture and to dialogue, but Planned Parenthood is an organization dedicated to the wholesale slaughter of innocents. It can and should have no part of any exposure or publicity on a Catholic university’s campus.
Georgetown University, especially the Jesuit community there, needs to step up to the plate and be more outspoken about this invitation to Planned Parenthood.
There are ways of dialogue without offering a public forum for abortionists and running the risk of giving the impression that America’s first Catholic university advocates the work of Planned Parenthood.