by Steven Ertelt
September 9, 2005
Helena, MT (LifeNews.com) — A Catholic college in Montana is drawing criticism from Planned Parenthood after telling the abortion business its participation on a symposium about end and beginning-of-life issues is unwelcome. The college says the pro-abortion views of the organization conflict with Catholic church teaching.
Last week, Carroll College President Tom Trebon called Sarah Fredrickson of Planned Parenthood of Montana and told her she was disinvited form participating in the workshop.
He told the Helena Independent Record he discussed the matter with Carroll staff, board members, and various members of the community before making the final decision.
"Planned Parenthood’s stance on certain issues, including abortion and reproductive rights, violate Carroll College’s mission as a Diocesan Catholic college," Trebon told the newspaper.
"I believe the presence of a representative of Planned Parenthood on a panel at a public gathering on campus would violate the college’s mission, mission statement, and commitment to Catholic values and ideals," he explained.
Planned Parenthood officials derided the decision.
Tara Jensen, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Montana, said the abortion business was disappointed not to be participating in the seminar.
"We’re disappointed as a health-care group," Jenson said. "It is unfortunate that an academic institution would not include us."
"We do so many wonderful things for so many people," Jensen told the Helena newspaper. "Carroll is an academic institution where all sides of an issue should be openly discussed. It’s unfortunate we’re not being included."
Carroll College has planned a three day conference from September 15-17 entitled "Science at the Edge of Humanity."
Because the college canceled Planned Parenthood’s appearance, the college also asked Eric Schiedermayer of the Montana Catholic Conference not to attend as well.
Trebon called the withdrawal of the Catholic Conference’s invitation unfortunate but said it was done in an effort to maintain balance on the panels.
Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, says it is right for Catholic colleges and universities to not have abortion advocates speak on their campuses.
"We don’t think those positions are appropriate. We don’t think they should be using platforms at Catholic institutions to present those positions," he explains.
Last summer, the nation’s Catholic bishops adopted a document that calls on Catholic colleges and universities not to give a platform to elected officials who back abortion.
"Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles," the bishops said. "They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."
The statement, called "Catholics in Political Life," was adopted by a vote of 183-6 last summer.
Related web sites:
Cardinal Newman Society – https://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org