Catholic University Uninvites Speaker for Pro-Abortion Views

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic University Uninvites Speaker for Pro-Abortion Views

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 29, 2004

Fort Wayne, IN ( — A Catholic University in Indiana has rescinded the invitation it gave a doctor who is a medical correspondent for ABC News because of comments she made suggesting abortion. The University of St. Francis told Dr. Nancy Snyderman that it no longer wants her to give the college’s commencement address.

The university faxed a letter on Tuesday to Dr. Snyderman, according to an AP report. Sister M. Elise Kriss, the university’s president, pointed to remarks Snyderman made on ABC’s "Good Morning America" in 1997.

During the morning show, Snyderman discussed the case of a woman who had problems conceiving and then found herself pregnant with septuplets. Snyderman said it "was imprudent to deliver seven babies," and that doctors often suggest "selective reduction" — the abortion of one or more babies to supposedly increase the chances the others will be born healthy.

"As a Catholic university, we have no choice but to rescind the invitation,” the letter to Snyderman said.

According to the Associated Press, Snyderman’s comments were presented to the university by Bishop John M. D’Arcy, head of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Roman Catholic Diocese.

However, Bishop D’Arcy did not ask Kriss to withdraw the invitation. He said Wednesday he made "no request or even a suggestion that Snyderman not speak to the graduates. I understand and respect academic freedom."

He told university officials that he would decline to receive an honorary degree from the university as long as Snyderman was the commencement speaker. Even though Saint Francis has withdrawn the request, D’Arcy said he does not plan to attend the ceremony.

Snyderman says that the report wasn’t representative of her beliefs.

D’Arcy "has no idea what my personal beliefs are," Snyderman, a Fort Wayne native, told the Journal Gazette newspaper. "The bishop is in a position of leadership and he is in a position to inspire," Snyderman said. "But instead he has used his station in life to stomp on the First Amendment."

However, Fred Everett, the director of the Office of Family Life for the diocese, said Snyderman "refers to abortion as the ‘deliberate removal of fetal tissue’ and lists various types of abortion methods as valid options."

"A bishop is bound to preach the truth, not only in words, but also by his actions," Bishop D’Arcy said in a statement. "The church’s position on unborn life is well known, and the church’s position is my position."