Emmanuel College in Boston recently joined a number of Catholic colleges across the country in officially sponsoring a chapter of Her Campus, an organization that supports contraception and recommends Planned Parenthood to students, despite the potential Catholic identity concerns of being linked in any way to America’s largest abortion provider.
Any college student can apply to be a campus correspondent with Her Campus and establish remote chapters at their universities, but not all of those chapters get official recognition and funding from their respective universities. In Emmanuel College’s case, the Her Campus chapter “secured its position as an official club on campus” in October, according to the student newspaper The Hub.
The student leader of Emmanuel’s Her Campus chapter told The Hub that “being associated with the SGA [student government association] gives us a lot of opportunities,” including the ability to “apply for funding,” the College’s “help in advertising” and other resources.
Her Campus is billed as “the #1 global community for college women,” with more than 290 campus chapters. The organization’s website routinely publishes articles and advice for college students on topics including career-building, health and relationships. However, a perusal of the website reveals many Her Campus pieces that advocate student usage of contraception and Planned Parenthood.
The Cardinal Newman Society reached out to Emmanuel College to inquire why Her Campus had been granted recognition and whether its advocacy of Planned Parenthood would be addressed by the College, but no response was received by time of publication.
One article on the Her Campus website, titled “Where to Get Contraception Off Campus,” lists recommendations for students that include Planned Parenthood. “College can be a confusing time for a whole lot of reasons, but nothing can be quite as daunting as buying contraception, particularly if you go to a more conservative or religious school,” the article reads. “Luckily, we’ve put together a list of places for you to go … to get whatever contraception you’re looking for.” The piece goes on to recommend visiting the local Planned Parenthood clinic and several websites including AfterPill.com and KwikMed.
Another article walks college students through the process of procuring an abortion and urges students in crisis pregnancy situations to visit Planned Parenthood. “[I]f you are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy or abortion, you are not alone,” the article urges. “Go to your local Planned Parenthood.”
The vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, Paige Johnson, was interviewed for the article, and advised college students to visit their local Planned Parenthood clinic for “unbiased, non-directive options counseling.”
“As long as it’s legal and women seek care early, [abortion is] the safest outpatient medical procedure,” Johnson told Her Campus. “Childbirth is about 11 times as risky.”
And the co-founder and CEO of Her Campus, Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, wrote an article urging students to recognize “all of the things that your birth control makes possible for you.”
“[I]t’s birth control that enables me to build my career, continue to live my early 20s lifestyle, and enjoy my relationship with my fiancé, without getting nervous about pregnancy or allowing the fear of it to take the fun out of intimacy,” wrote Lewis. The article concludes with Lewis encouraging college students to join her on social media “by saying ‘Thanks, Birth Control’ and using #ThxBirthControl to help get this crucial conversation started.”
Official affiliation with an organization that advises students to act contrary to Church teaching could cause concern for Emmanuel College’s Catholic identity, particularly taking into account Her Campus’ support of Planned Parenthood. In August, following a Newman Society report exposing connections between Catholic colleges and Planned Parenthood, the Newman Society urged a “no-tolerance position for any relationship with Planned Parenthood.”
Other Catholic colleges with officially recognized chapters of Her Campus are DePaul University in Chicago; Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn.; Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.; Seattle University in Washington; Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia; and Xavier University in Cincinnati.