More than 40 Catholic university professors expressed outrage Wednesday after their Campus Ministry hosted a recent screening of the pro-life film “Unplanned.”
Though the Catholic Church teaches that abortion is evil and every human life is valuable, not all the professors at King’s University College in Ontario, Canada share that view.
On Wednesday, more than 40 professors signed an open letter to the Catholic universty principal, David Malloy, demanding a “formal apology” for showing the film, Breitbart reports.
In the letter, the professors said they had “great concern” about the Catholic university’s “public endorsement of an anti-abortion stance.” They also argued that showing the film hurt the university’s efforts “to recruit and maintain excellent students, staff, and faculty.”
“Unplanned” is based on the true story of Planned Parenthood director-turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson. The film received overwhelming support in American theaters last spring.
The King’s University professors, however, claimed that the film and pro-life advocates’ concern for the unborn are “hostile to women.”
“In speaking to the media, the Director of Campus Ministry stated, ‘I hope it sends a message to women that we are concerned about unborn children.’ This position is hostile to women,” they wrote in their letter.
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They listed a series of demands, including that Malloy “assure faculty and the broader King’s community that the institution will uphold its mission of the respectful and critical dialogue of difficult subjects in a scholarly, just and ethical manner and that the Unplanned event did not meet the threshold of those elements within the Catholic intellectual tradition.”
Malloy responded by welcoming discussion on the abortion issue. He defended the “Unplanned” showing as “consistent with King’s mission to be a place where controversial topics can be presented and discussed,” according to the report.
He said open discussion, debate and dialogue on controversial issues are “vital” to Catholic university life.
“King’s, like any other university, is where challenging political, social, and religious topics can be discussed in an environment that is respectful and safe,” he said. “Open dialogue and debate about uncomfortable truths is part of our mission. We are not advocating for any side of this debate but rather being a vehicle for the conversation.”
Several Canadian theaters reported threats after they announced plans to show “Unplanned” last summer. At least one canceled its screening out of concern for the safety of its staff, and others saw protests by radical abortion activists.
The film experienced obstacles in the U.S. as well, including a media blackout, an ‘R’ rating designed to discourage viewers and little publicity outside conservative media circles. Still, “Unplanned” opened in fourth place during its first weekend at the box office. It earned more than $18 million, and stayed in the top 10 in its second week at the box office.
Abby Johnson previously commented about the hostilities in Canada.
“I have to wonder what they’re afraid of,” she said, previously. “I’m also deeply concerned that many people here have not been able to speak publicly, because they are concerned about punishment. That is not democracy; that is oppression.”