Catholic University, NAACP Officials Meet Over Abortion Dispute

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 17, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic University, NAACP Officials Meet Over Abortion Dispute

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 17, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Days after denying a student chapter of the NAACP official status, Catholic University officials met with leaders of the civil rights organization to discuss the situation.

Earlier this month, the Catholic University of America, located in Washington, D.C., decided against approving an NAACP campus chapter’s application to become an officially recognized student group because its parent organization adopted had a position in support of abortion.

Though both sides met Wednesday to discuss the impasse, an agreement could not be reached.

Rev. David M. O’Connell, president of CUA, attended the meeting and told the Associated Press that two other groups already exist on campus that promote civil rights but not abortion.

"The feeling was manifested by the student life personnel that some of goals of the group could be met by groups that already existed," Rev. O’Connell told AP. "And, as this discussion continued over several months, in February it came to the attention of the student life personnel that the NAACP had adopted a pro-abortion stance. And that made that concern part of the discussion."

O’Connell has decided "the most appropriate and the best venue for reevaluating the decision and discussing it fully" is to hold a meeting with students as soon as possible after classes resume in the fall, according to an AP report.

After the decision, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said it was "outright discrimination and intolerance all rolled into one."

Mfume, a former Maryland congressman who built up a solid pro-abortion voting record during his tenure, threatened to sue if CUA officials didn’t relent.

Rev. O’Connell said Mfume continued to discuss the possibility of a lawsuit.

"He deeply feels that the best place to resolve this question is, in his own words, in the court of law, in the court of public opinion," O’Connell told AP.

Two CUA organizations promote the interests of African-American students on campus: the Black Organization of Students at Catholic University of America and Minority Voices, an umbrella group for minority organizations.

In February, for the first time in the 95-year history of the nation’s largest civil rights group, the NAACP officially announced a position in favor of keeping abortions legal.

The organization also co-sponsored a nationwide rally in April sponsored by leading abortion advocates such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood. They rally attracted less than half of the amount of people organizers expected.

Mfume said the CUA decision was the first time in decades that a college had not allowed a group of students to establish an NAACP affiliate.

ACTION: Make your views known. Contact the NAACP about their decision to endorse abortion at NAACP, 4805 Mt. Hope Drive, Baltimore, MD 21215 or call (877) NAACP-98. Email [email protected].