Fallout from Pro-Abortion Speakers

Commencement time for graduates has just passed. We again heard bad news about some of the invitees speaking at graduations, but in sharp contrast to two years ago, there was much more good news.

First the bad news. The University of Western Ontario granted an honorary degree to the notorious Canadian abortionist, Henry Morgantaler. Reacting to honoring this man, pro-life groups protested sharply, including a large demonstration at the university on the day of graduation. There was a silver lining to this otherwise unfortunate event. It was that a major donor to the university publicly rescinded a two million dollar bequest. The university’s board of governors admitted, “thousands of alumni were upset, and that had some effect.”

But the good news outnumbered the bad. First, we offer three cheers and congratulations to Summit Country Day School in Cincinnati, Ohio. They canceled an earlier invitation to the aggressively pro-abortion governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius. A graduate of the school and a titular Catholic, Governor Sebelius has an unbroken record of aggressive pro-abortion activity. When in the Kansas House, she sponsored legislation to make Roe v Wade a permanent Kansas law. If the Supreme Court ever reversed this decision, the goal was to insure that abortion would remain legal until birth in the state of Kansas. She voted to require taxpayer funding of abortion and against parental notification for minors. Sebelius also voted against requiring informed consent for women seeking abortions. Recently, there had been much publicity about unsanitary, insect-ridden and filthy conditions in abortion clinics. A law was passed to require them to meet the same health requirements as any freestanding surgical facility. She vetoed it. After which two more women died in these clinics. The law was passed again with enough votes to override her veto. Sebelius lobbied aggressively, changing several minds, so that when she vetoed the new law, the override failed. She even line item vetoed a three hundred thousand dollar appropriation to help poor women with their pregnancies. Two days after her pro-abortion record had been called to the attention of the school, its board of governors rescinded the invitation.

Little publicity was given to another very interesting happening. New York’s Cardinal Egan had instructed Marymount Manhattan College to not invite Hillary Clinton as a commencement speaker because of her strong pro-abortion stand and voting record. The school refused to comply. In reaction, the Cardinal publicly instructed the college to quit calling itself Catholic.

The Archbishop of New Orleans refused to attend the graduation ceremony at Loyola University because they were honoring Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu who has a pro-abortion voting record. Baltimore Cardinal Keeler boycotted Maryland’s Loyola College because it was honoring former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani who is pro-abortion.

Finally, a pro-abortion “Catholic” congressman, Sherwood Boehlert, withdrew from speaking at St. Elizabeth’s College in Utica, New York when Syracuse Bishop J. Moynihan publicly opposed his appearance.

All of the above good news is from Catholic institutions. It is a trend that all pro-lifers should cheer, for certainly, some Catholic institutions in the past have had a very spotty record on this. Why the change? The main reason was that last summer the National Conference of US Catholic Bishops published a statement that read in part, “the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” And all pro-lifers can only say, Amen!

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