Pro-Life Groups Ask Villanova to Cancel Casey Graduation Speech

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 13, 2011   |   4:38PM   |   Philadelphia, PA

Two pro-life groups are asking Villanova University to cancel a planned graduation speech by Sen. Bob Casey, who has upset pro-life advocates by supporting taxpayer funding of pro-abortion organizations.

As reported, Villanova University, a Catholic college, is facing criticism for inviting Senator Bob Casey to give its commencement address. Casey claims to be pro-life but has repeatedly supported abortion and abortion advocates. Villanova will be honoring Casey with the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, and have asked the Democratic senator to deliver the Commencement Address for the Class of 2011.

This year alone, Casey voted against a bill to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business, voted against repealing the Obamacare law that funds abortions, and voted for judicial nominees committed to supporting Roe v. Wade.

Now, two pro-life groups — Students for Life and the Cardinal Newman Society — sent a letter to Father Peter Donohue, President of Villanova University, asking him to reconsider the University’s decision.

“It is our hope in writing to Father Donohue, that he reconsider his decision to give Senator Bob Casey, a Senator who’s voted time and time again for pro-abortion legislation and nominees, an honorary degree from the University and to host him as the speaker for the 2011 Commencement Ceremony this Sunday,” said Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America.  “For a Catholic university to honor a Senator who has publicly opposed Church teaching is to allow his actions to seem acceptable and conventional. Villanova should be setting the example for its graduates by creating a culture of Life on campus and encouraging its 2011 graduates to continue to do so in whichever career path they choose.”

The letter to Father Donohue reads as follows:

Dear Father Donohue,

We approach you today about the Class of 2011’s Commencement Speaker and Honoree, Senator Bob Casey. Senator Casey has a long history of supporting legislation and Supreme Court Nominees who directly oppose Church teaching.

Senator Casey has voted in favor of numerous pieces of pro-abortion legislation  namely the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” or Obamacare, which does not include language to exclude abortion or to protect conscience rights for medical professionals, but will lead to  rationing of care for those who need it most.  Senator Casey also voted against the “Mexico City Policy” allowing the U.S. Government to pay for abortions overseas. He recently voted against the de-fund Planned Parenthood Amendment for the 2011 budget. Additionally, he voted to place pro-abortion Justice Elena Kagan on the U.S. Supreme Court for a life term.

As members of the pro-life and Catholic community, we ask you to reconsider your decision to host and honor Senator Casey because of his public opposition to Church teaching and because of his pro-abortion record in the U.S. Senate.

For Life,

Kristan Hawkins                                                                                                Patrick Reilly
Executive Director                                                                                           President
Students for Life of America                                                                       Cardinal Newman Society


Hawkins said Casey “has a long history of sending taxpayer dollars overseas to pro-abortion organizations. Most recently, he voted for the pro-abortion Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and against the recent De-Fund Planned Parenthood Amendment to the 2011 Budget.”

She pointed to the voting scorecard maintained by the National Right to Life Committee showing, on 17 votes, Casey voted against the pro-life position 10 times and with pro-life groups on just seven occasions. Casey also voted against cutting of funding of international groups that promote and perform abortions in other nations and use taxpayer dollars to lobby countries to change their pro-life laws. In some of the votes, Casey has gone against the publicly-stated position of the nation’s Catholic bishops.

Villanova’s 2011 Commencement Ceremony will be held this Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Villanova Stadium. Villanova University is an Augustinian university.