South Dakota’s Catholic Presentation College Axes Pro-Abortion Grad Speaker

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 12, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota’s Catholic Presentation College Axes Pro-Abortion Grad Speaker

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 12
, 2008

Aberdeen, SD ( — South Dakota-based Presentation College is in the news because officials at the Catholic school have decided against allowing a pro-abortion state lawmaker to deliver the commencement address. State senator Nancy Turbak Berry had been named as the graduation speaker.

Turbak Berry was slated to deliver the keynote address during the 57th annual commencement ceremony Saturday.

However, Bishop Paul Swain of the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese wound up delivering the remarks to the graduating class of 171 students after Presentation officials notified Turbak Berry earlier in the week she would no longer do so.

According to an AP report, college officials told her that her pro-abortion views were incompatible with Catholic Church teachings.

Turbak Berry, a University of California Berkeley grad and trial lawyer who became a state senator in 2006, told AP she had received an invitation to deliver the address in January and that her abortion views have been a matter of public record for a long time.

AP indicated her name appeared in the program but that the reason for her absence was not discussed during the ceremony.

A Presentation College representative said the college made "an administrative decision" to withdraw the invitation.

Swain, the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Sioux Falls who was ordained in October 2006, had already been pegged to preside over a commencement Mass.

Presentation College is an independent Catholic educational institution, sponsored by the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and founded in 1922. It is a specialty Health Science Baccalaureate Institution with branch campuses in Eagle Butte, South Dakota and Fairmont, Minnesota.

ACTION: Send a thank you to Presentation College president Sr. Lorraine Hale to 1500 North Main Street, Aberdeen, SD 57401 or call 800-437-6060. You can email the school at admit @