Pro-Abortion Speakers Prohibited at Catholic University, Maine Church

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 7, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Speakers Prohibited at Catholic University, Maine Church

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 7, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Pro-abortion speakers have been prohibited from giving talks at Catholic University of America, in the nation’s capital, and at a church in Maine. The decisions have set off a debate about whether pro-life Catholic institutions should be prohibiting such speakers.

Three weeks ago, officials at the Catholic University of America prohibited actor Stanley Tucci from speaking at a forum because of his involvement in pro-abortion organizations.

The CUA decision has prompted some faculty and staff to write letters and support petitions to the college’s officials protesting the decision.

The protest against the actions by the college’s administration is reaching such a heightened proportion that one professor says it could be the beginning of a long, intensive debate about CUA policy.

Ernest Zampelli, a longtime economics professor, told the Washington Post the decision was a "watershed event" for CUA.

But CUA spokesman Victor Nakas told the Post that the speaker’s policy isn’t new and CUA has no plans to change it anytime soon.

He also said a recent decision by the nation’s Catholic bishops bolster’s CUA’s decision. The bishops issued a document this summer that, in part, calls on Catholic universities to not give "awards, honors and platforms" to those who oppose the Catholic church’s position on abortion.

Tucci has been criticized for using his celebrity status to raise money for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion facility.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Diocese of Portland canceled a planned talk to be given by a state legislator because of his stance in favor of abortion.

Rep. Arthur Lerman, a Democrat from Augusta, planned to talk about prescription drugs at a meeting of Catholic women. However, when his election opponent, Republican Michael Hein, called the Diocese and informed officials that Lerman backs abortion, Catholic officials nixed the speech.

Bishop Richard Malone had recently issued a statement saying that politicians who support abortion would not be given a platform by being allowed to speak at events hosted by churches or groups affiliated with the diocese.

Diocese spokeswoman Sue Bernard told the Kennebec Journal, "We said we do not want to endorse, or even have it look as if we’re endorsing, any candidate to begin with — and especially not a pro-choice candidate."

"My opponent makes no bones about being a pro-life candidate. I think that’s one of his primary platforms," Lerman said about Hein.