Auburn Seminary, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, honored Planned Parenthood President and CEO Cecile Richards at its annual “Lives of Commitment Benefit Breakfast.” Richards heads the nation’s largest abortion company, responsible for over 300,000 abortions each year, and a key lobbying group against conscience rights for religious employers.
The seminary’s website called Richards “a champion of critical family planning and reproductive rights for all.” The website also makes a point of emphasizing Richards was featured on TIME’s 100 Most Influential People List in 2012, ranking higher than President Obama and Lady Gaga. According to the event’s organizers, Richards’ remarks were to focus on “clergy involvement in social justice and reproductive health.”
Planned Parenthood’s advocacy of the Obama HHS mandate has alienated people of faith across the country. The HHS mandate gives the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to tell employers what they must offer in their insurance plans, regardless of whether they have objections on religious or moral grounds. Pro-life organizations have argued that while currently the mandate forces coverage of contraceptives, it could easily be used to force abortion coverage. Planned Parenthood aims to repair its image by appearing friendly to people of faith.
In addition to touting the Auburn Seminary event, a Planned Parenthood in California launched a 40 Days of Prayer event, a knock-off of the widely successful pro-life prayer campaign 40 Days for Life. The campaign urges participants pray for abortion providers and to thank God for the legality of abortion on demand. Contrary to the campaign’s objectives, it has only further damaged Planned Parenthood’s credibility.
Prominent faith leaders have been bold in their opposition to the Obama Administration and Planned Parenthood’s attacks on religious liberty.
Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life” and pastor of the Saddleback Church in California, tweeted, “I’d go to jail rather than cave in to a government mandate that violates what God commands us to do.” Richard Land, a top official in the Baptist Church, called the Obama HHS mandate “reprehensible in its demands for people to violate their conscience.” He added, “We are not going to do this. We have a First Amendment right to freedom of conscience, and we’re going to defend it. If we have to defend it by going to jail, so be it.”
The head of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal Timothy Dolan has had tough words for the Obama Administration and its pro-abortion allies on the issue of religious liberty. Dolan said, “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.”
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Beyond being one of the staunchest opponents of conscience rights for religious employers, Planned Parenthood’s Clergy Advisory Boards have repeated opposed religiously affiliated pregnancy resource centers, which do not refer for abortions. Planned Parenthood’s website says, “Crisis pregnancy centers often pretend to be real health care providers — but many are not. These fake clinics often trick women with false advertising. They may make women think they will be offered unbiased information and a full range of health services.” Planned Parenthood’s allies have even gone as far as to challenge pregnancy resource centers’ right to exist in the first place.
No matter how many seminaries try to market Planned Parenthood as a friend to people of faith, the abortion provider’s record speaks for itself.
ACTION: Complain to Auburn Seminary at https://www.auburnseminary.org/contact
Auburn Theological Seminary
New York, NY 10027