150+ Catholic colleges with connections to Planned Parenthood

From the Cardinal Newman Society:

New Report Exposes More Than 150 Catholic College
Connections to Planned Parenthood

Manassas, Va. – Today, April 11, 2011, The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) issued a devastating report titled “A Scandalous Relationship: Catholic Colleges and Planned Parenthood” unearthing more than 150 current and past connections of Catholic colleges and universities to the national abortion provider, as documented on the Internet.  In the report, CNS urges Catholic colleges and universities to “embrace a no-tolerance position for any relationship with Planned Parenthood,” which CNS asserts is “a leading contributor to what Pope John Paul II labeled a ‘culture of death’.”

A brief introduction to the CNS report follows:

For 18 years, The Cardinal Newman Society has exposed scandalous activity at many Catholic colleges and universities.  Although today we are beginning to see some movement toward a renewal of Catholic identity in Catholic higher education, serious problems remain.

Current public attention to Planned Parenthood—the largest abortion provider in the United States, responsible for extensive promotion and distribution of contraceptives—prompted us to perform a simple, public search of the websites of Catholic colleges and universities.

Despite the Catholic Church’s unambiguous teaching on abortion and contraception, we discovered referrals to Planned Parenthood for “health” services, internships and fellowships with Planned Parenthood, seemingly boastful disclosures of employees’ past work with Planned Parenthood, and other ties to this and other “pro-choice” organizations.  The problems are spread across dozens of institutions, with occasional concentrations at highly secularized institutions like Georgetown University and Seattle University, two leading Jesuit institutions.

What is publicized on the Internet often indicates more extensive concerns hidden from public view, so while the information contained this report is shocking and scandalous, it is only based on a rudimentary search of college websites and likely does not capture all ties to Planned Parenthood at Catholic colleges and universities.

If one considers—from a faithfully Catholic perspective—the fact that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States and a leading contributor to what Pope John Paul II labeled a “culture of death,” any relationship to Planned Parenthood or those who have worked for such an organization is simply unacceptable.  In no way can the work of Planned Parenthood be considered compatible with the mission of Catholic higher education or the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

Furthermore, any relationship to Planned Parenthood endangers students who may develop a sense of comfort with an organization that destroys innocent lives, ruins souls and plays a leading role in the demise of American culture.  A Catholic educator who cares for the wellbeing of students would do everything possible to dissuade a student from entering the doors of a Planned Parenthood clinic.  Nothing good can come of it.

Finally, the brazen manner in which Catholic colleges and universities are publicly disclosing—even proudly touting—their ties or the ties of their employees, students and alumni to Planned Parenthood is shocking.  There appears to be a pervasive attitude toward Planned Parenthood that regards the abortion and contraceptive agency as benign.  This attitude is simply inconsistent with a genuine Catholic sensibility.

We urge Catholic colleges and universities to embrace a no-tolerance position for any relationship with Planned Parenthood—including disqualifying candidates for teaching positions with previous experience working with or for pro-abortion organizations.

There are matters of Catholic identity which require discernment and which may not point to simple solutions.  There is no such nuance here—Planned Parenthood is a serious danger to the health, lives and souls of innocent students.  There is no place for Planned Parenthood on a Catholic campus.

Click here to read the entire CNS report.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Emanations from Penumbras, Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Bryan Boyle says:

    Is it just me…or do I sense that those CINO (as in, when mom and dad bring their pride and joys for the obligatory campus visit pre-enrollment…and showcase the wonderful spiritual surroundings and ‘opportunities for development’…which disappear as soon as said mom and dad drop off their offspring in the fall…) colleges are also in the forefront of dissent, denial, and just plain moonbattery are also in the forefront of promoting this racist and eugenicist organization?

    Just sayin’. I note, with no pride and some sorrow (but not surprise), my alma mater mentioned in there. But, as I said…no surprise…they don’t even highlight that they are Catholic anymore. Rather…they’re the ‘Jesuit University of New York City’. ‘Nuff said.

  2. Brooklyn says:

    I actually just saw this online and sent an email to you Father. This is scandalous beyond words. Pope Benedict XVI once said that the church will become small and to a great extent have to start over. I think right here you are seeing why this may very well be true. I do hope that the Bishops will at least have the courage to take away the “Catholic” classification from these colleges and universities.

  3. Dirichlet says:

    This is infuriating, to say the least. I am sure these are the same elements behind all the liberal movements, the wyminpriests and other aberrations. We need to work hard for the control and suppression of these elements.

    Pope Paul VI was right… the smoke of [person] has entered the Church :(

  4. TNCath says:

    No surprises to this bit of news. It’s been going on a long time. Added to this catastrophe is the number of “Gay Straight Alliances,” an organization that supports homosexual behaviors on “Catholic” college campuses. One was started not long ago at the only “Catholic” college in our city. And nobody seems to even bat an eye about it. Where are the bishops on these issues, and why aren’t these connections being shut down immediately? Because “Catholic” colleges are “independent”? Because of “academic freedom”? Hogwash.

  5. Random Friar says:

    Alumni, to your pens! Let the “alma” mater know that the will not be receiving one red cent from you. Politely but firmly!

  6. benedetta says:

    I had read how Georgetown Jesuits had said that they see their role in terms of getting the students to “ask the right questions”. As a lay woman I certainly don’t presume to do anything different when I wonder if they might put on that list of questions one that asks, when it comes to PP and the genocide industry, now that the results are registered as to the millions slaughtered, would it be appropriate to say “What is the price tag on a human life”?

    What the world of higher education in this country seems to bank on in general is the fact that they can easily prey upon young people with this destructive rhetoric, and by and large with work experience, marriage and children, only then they come to realize that they were had.

    Since the push to regard innocent lives, and female (and male) sexuality as disposable and cheap is so readily available, just about, everywhere, then, I question why these places feel it their responsibility to further push the consumerist status quo. It’s not like everybody else isn’t offering and providing, all of the same.

    And it calls into question whatever other efforts are carried out on behalf of oppressed members of society, whether it be, habitat for humanity, inner city tutoring, volunteer corps opportunities in different parts of the world. How can one sign up for any of these activities buying into the popular notion advanced by the culture of death that, even when you look someone who is poor and vulnerable in the eyes, you can privately countenance that their mother could have acceptably aborted them? Yet in these places there is a refusal, obstinate, to even use the words “culture of death” so as not to appear to give, excessive respect towards, who, exactly? Such a waste. A generation, led to their deaths, all because of narcissism, pride, ego, stubbornness, righteousness, defining one’s self as better or more tolerant or evolved, while children go to their graves. If the exact time to confront the culture of death is at the level of young people in their early twenties, then when is the best time. Where have these higher education administrators, professors, chaplains, etc been all these years. Do they think that prolife is only about one vote every four years, or about prayer in front of an abortuary? Do they even know any prolifers in their social circles? What do they think that prolife has ben doing all this time? It would probably take just one quick phone call, one email blast. But that seems, not worth the bother.

  7. JaneC says:

    I wonder what the Cardinal Newman Society would expect a university to do, in the event that it discovers that its students or professors have involved themselves with Planned Parenthood. What are the limits of a university’s ability to police the extracurricular activities of its students? And in the case of professors, what can be done if they are tenured? What would you suggest?

    I ask this because my alma mater, Gonzaga University, is listed in the document. The university does not provide referrals for jobs, internships, or medical treatment to PP, but some students and professors have done volunteer work there. GU is far from perfect, but it’s one of the less-bad Jesuit schools and I got a very good education there, especially from the excellent philosophy faculty.

  8. Is it me or do Jesuit institutions seem to be over-represented?

    In any case, I was glad (and surprised, to be honest) to not see my alma mater, St. John’s U of Collegeville, Minn., on the list.

  9. PM says:

    I searched the report for Notre Dame, which a) likes to think of itself as setting the standard for what is Catholic in American education and b) has an increasingly hard time persuading anyone to take this claim seriously. I found four references. One faculty member (a librarian) lectured at a Planned Parenthood lunch, while another “touts” her service on PP’s Local Advisory Council (at the place where she lived prior to coming to Notre Dame several years ago). The Gender Studies Program “encouraged” students to participate in an event on “Reproductive Justice” co-sponsored by PP. Another organization, ND WATCH (“an independent collective to inform, mentor, and support women faculty at the University of Notre Dame”) recommends as “useful websites” those of PP and other abortion supporters. On the whole Notre Dame’s connection with PP seems less than organic.

    Any connection at all is, of course, discouraging and regrettable, even if other schools go much farther. But the faculty participation is clearly on their individual initiative. One could argue that a serious educational institution has no room for the likes of “Gender Studies Program” in the first place. But there is no reason not to believe that any students who did participate in the program stood against the prevailing mentality (I would not be surprised at all to learn this; but neither, alas, would I be surprised to learn the contrary). And I’d certainly not demand that students refuse to speak to PP and its epigones, if only because, as citizens, they need to know what these things are. ND WATCH takes a defensive, confrontational toward the University administration, and is hardly a representative of the official university (albeit the university does facilitate the “collective,” allocating it an nd.edu web address). It takes a cynical, or, more accurately, snide attitude toward the university’s claims to a “Catholic character” (although it does recommend Father McBrien’s book as a good source for what Catholic character means at Notre Dame, which is not too far off the mark).

    And I think there is a genuine dilemma here, for Notre Dame and the other schools as well. For ND WATCH any concern for Catholic character is a threat to academic freedom. But for academics, academic freedom cannot be a trivial concern–and if you want your freedom you have to accord it to others. Notre Dame (and some of the other institutions) aspire to be “first rate institutions,” and “first rate” is going to be judged according to the secular standards of American education generally. Individual faculty are going to be judged by their contributions to their disciplines, not by how Catholic they are. The result is a faculty that looks pretty much like the faculty of any comparable secular institution, with the general (median) attitude ranges from a tolerant indifference to religion to a militant secularism.

    I hope there is some way to work through these contradictory pressures; but we should not deny that a Catholic school with serious academic aspirations is bound to face these pressures. And that some will choose the lesser good over the greater.

  10. Mark R says:

    Seattle University…a leading Jesuit institution?

  11. Brooklyn says:

    PM – are you seriously suggesting that abortion is the “lesser good?” Are you suggesting that tearing babies apart in their mothers’ wombs is a “lesser good” and that we need to be tolerant of those who support this so that Catholic institutions are not denied “serious academic aspirations?” I agree, a good education is important, but I think that the state of someone’s soul and their eternal life carries more weight. I assume you are aware of the Catholic teaching that the killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified, and that those who knowingly cooperate in any way in this evil cannot be Catholics in good standing.

  12. benedetta says:

    JaneC and others I would say that in the very same way that in different periods that universities look into the type of overall climate that they encourage, with respect to diversity, with respect to other aims, then it would not be so difficult to create an atmosphere that at the very least puts the accent on prolife and makes it known throughout the school climate that this is a value which is embraced. I think in fact that it is easily done especially in 2011 when young people more than ever are speaking out against abortion, in fact many who are leading the way are from the younger generation. Will they have to turn away certain donations and have to answer to the political sphere which most exalts abortion as a value, probably. But then those are the sacrifices that are worth making. And clearly a donation or political support which comes with a price tag that must be translated in terms of pressure on the student body to do one thing or another which is immoral is problematic anyway. One might better off saying, thanks but no thanks and weaning of this sort of revenue. If these administrators would make just a few steps in the right direction then I am sure that they would find a lot of support. If they just listen to half the country on this one, to half of their student body, and assure that there is equal time across the school climate, then, that would be different from just assenting, through silence, through omission, through excuse after excuse, that a genocide should be enabled to just continue without question.

  13. MichaelJ says:

    But the faculty participation is clearly on their individual initiative

    Ahh yes. The old “Personally opposed but…” argument applied to an institution. Seriously, if, as you suggest, Notre Dame cannot be “successful” and remain faithful to its Catholic Charter, it should at least have the honor to stop referring to itself as a Catholic institution.

  14. Blissmeister86 says:

    My alma mater, the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, surprisingly, was on the list.
    I acknowledge that there are certainly problems at UST, but you can still get an excellent, faithfully Catholic education there, unlike many of the other Catholic schools in the country. The Catholic Studies Department (http://www.stthomas.edu/cathstudies/)is faithfully Catholic, as are the Philosophy Department (http://www.stthomas.edu/phil/) and the Law School (http://www.stthomas.edu/law/).
    St. Thomas also has an overflowing college seminary (http://vianney.net) and major seminary (http://www.stthomas.edu/spssod/), a vibrant Catholic subculture, well-attended daily Masses twice a day, three Masses celebrated on Sundays, Confessions heard daily for an hour, and student-organized Eucharistic Adoration nonstop Mon-Fri. Moreover, there are residences for Catholic Men and Catholic women and growing Catholic Men’s and Catholic Women’s floors in the college dormitories. The director of Campus Ministry is a good and faithful JPII-Generation priest that is bringing good renewal, especially to the Masses on campus at UST. I was just there over the weekend and the music consisted of chant and the Sanctus, Mysterium Fidei, and Agnus Dei were all chanted in Latin (I think this is something special for Lent).
    Renewal is coming to St. Thomas, and as an alumnus who grew in his faith there, I’d highly recommend UST to anybody. You have to be prudent in who you take for theology courses, but you can still get a quality Catholic education if you know where to look (The college seminarians and the Catholic Studies students can help with that, and faithful Catholics at UST form a family that looks out for each other).
    St. Thomas is certainly a spiritual battleground, but don’t let that scare you away from attending it or considering it for your son/daughter/niece/nephew.
    Actually, there is a plus side to this. Students learn well how to engage those who are not faithfully Catholic, and learn firsthand how to participate in the New Evangelization. I am thankful for what I learned about my faith and how to bring it to others on campus who are not faithful Catholics. That’s an experience that I don’t think many other places can teach you.

  15. wanda says:

    Calling all Bishop’s! Bring your big stick, time to run off the wolves! Please?

  16. “I tell my relatives to send their college-age children to secular institutions where they will have to fight for their faith, rather than to Catholic institutions, where it will be stolen from them.”
    Bishop Sheen

  17. green fiddler says:

    This is heartbreaking on many levels.

    I hope and pray that the culture of death on the wayward campuses may be reversed before the local bishops have no choice but to remove their Catholic identity. The bishops are in a difficult position as they work to try to change these situations. It will be equally sad if the end result is a secular college/university where such abuses continue. What we want is the return of our schools to the Catholic Christian values of their founders.

    Several years ago I read about an elderly woman who had recently passed away. Many years
    ago she graduated from a small Catholic college. Anna was a bright, accomplished person who enjoyed a long career serving others. She lived a simple, humble life. A photo of her living room was shown in the college newsletter: very sparse furnishings, images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary on the wall. Anna had not married and had no heirs. She left her sizable estate to the Catholic college she remembered from her youth, a place which no longer existed. I’m sure she had no idea that her alma mater was supporting Planned Parenthood and all the rest. So in the end, this lady’s life savings went to build a co-ed dorm… not exactly an environment to foster chastity and quite possibly an environment that has fostered more abortions. Anna would not have wanted this to be her legacy.

    At each of those schools listed in the Cardinal Newman Society report, could one pro-life Catholic who receives the alumni newletter (where it lists donors by class year) forward a copy to the local pro-life organization? Could some pro-life Catholic students who currently attend those schools volunteer to go through the list and contact donors who are up in age, to make sure they are on the same page? I believe the elderly people would be grateful for someone to inform them what is happening, someone who would help them to write letters of dissent to the boards of directors. The directors have the power to reverse bad decisions. If pro-life alumni become aware of current policies and refuse to fund them, things may change.

    I keep returning to the images of the LIFE mob in Chicago. The young people give me hope.

  18. PM says:

    Brooklyn: I’m suggesting that academic freedom is the lesser good; and I suspect they’ll choose it every time.

  19. Blissmeister86 says:

    I’m a recent alumnus of the University of St. Thomas (UST) in Saint Paul, MN and I just tell people that are concerned about UST’s Catholic identity to target their donations to Catholic Studies and Catholic Studies alone at UST if they want to support renewal at UST. That way, they know that they are supporting the renewal of the Catholic identity of the University of St. Thomas.

  20. JaneC says:

    Benedetta, with respect, though I’m sure your suggestions will be helpful in the case of other schools, but not in the specific case of Gonzaga. Gonzaga does not make job or internship or medical referrals to PP, as some of the universities listed do. Gonzaga’s problem, as pointed out by the Cardinal Newman Society, is what students, professors, and one law school board member do in their spare time. A university can try to create a pro-life atmosphere, just as it can try to create an atmosphere in which students and employees are discouraged from engaging in other types of sinful behavior, but students and employees will nevertheless go and be sinners. How much can the university police behavior which is legal but reprehensible, and which happens off campus, outside school hours?

  21. BenFischer says:

    I dunno what Gonzaga can do, but maybe it’d help if the V-logs, and the attitude that goes along with promoting the V-logs weren’t on campus. Just a thought…

  22. Andrew Mason says:

    I’m actually surprised that my school (Marymount Univ. in Arlington, VA) wasn’t on the list. They may not be as bad as Georgetown, but I had at least one professor who spoke of people like Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinham as if they were saints and there wasn’t any clear connection made between the academic and religious aspects of the institution. Also, their graduate commencement speaker last year was Sr. Carol Keehan. Maybe they just don’t publicize the connections that their faculty and staff have to PP, but I really wouldn’t be surprised if there was at least one person there with such connections.

  23. Andy Milam says:


    I too am an alum of St. Thomas. I called them today to let them know that my check for support has stopped until this situation is reconciled. Completely stopped. They were not happy, but to be honest, I don’t really care. I will not give another dime to that school until they ammend their ways. I will fall on my sword for this. Every Catholic should fall on their sword for this. This is deplorable.


    That is pretty bold, putting in her bio on a Catholic University’s website.

  24. benedetta says:

    Hi JaneC, Just scanning the Newman list it shows that the universities themselves list the activities, even if those of professors or students or trustee or board member, in the universities’ own literature. Perhaps if the school itself is not very proud to proclaim these associations, whether by faculty, trustee, board member or student, then it could elect to not place it in their literature. Even schools which are merely “Jesuit” or whatever it is and don’t say “Catholic” or minimize it. No one has a right to have something included in university website or alumni listing and the school can merely announce its policies that it supports Catholic values ahead of time so no one has to be shocked at the idea. No school, whether Catholic or of any religious affiliation, is obligated to print up every item.

    And creating a prolife school climate wouldn’t necessarily have to interfere with the much touted “academic freedom”. If a campus can’t answer affirmatively that prolife is given equal time in academic inquiry then perhaps there is not in truth any academic freedom in such a place to begin with. I would question the academic rigor of such an environment. If both sides aren’t presented with equal vigor but one side dominates then that is not academic freedom, that is the reverse, which is, the chilling effect on freedom of speech, and the worst sort of restraint on the free exchange of ideas and then you are heading down the road of the dread parochialism, the enemy of the freethinking liberal institution of higher learning.

    At any rate if a student or a professor is listing volunteering for PP as an item for their resume that in and of itself is curious — we don’t really have to speculate too much to know what that would entail. Since PP is supposedly all about “health care services”, a mere intern or volunteer would likely either work on fundraising efforts and networking, or, serving as an escort to women into the abortuary. In fact by regulation it would be very unlikely that a volunteer or intern would have any substantial role. As far as internships go, young people could do better for themselves than that and for a professor well it’s hardly something to add to a c.v. unless you are there to be making a big statement. And then at some point they provide this to the university which for their part put it out there in their literature in some shape or fashion.

    Now if a school takes on as a trustee or board member, this is a Catholic institution, someone who also serves in a leadership role on the board of the local or regional PP, then again, that information is readily available or vetted. Given PP’s history in eugenics, it would be insulting to a diverse campus to place a person affiliated with them in a leadership position in a Catholic institution. What does a person such as this have to offer to a Catholic institution exactly? It’s not necessary and doesn’t add much and in fact is damaging.

  25. Dave N. says:

    Not that this isn’t good work by the CNS, but how about a list of Catholic Universities who accept multimillion dollar donations from pro-abortion politicians? I somehow don’t think we’ll be seeing that list anytime soon.

  26. Brad says:

    At my secular university, the resident Newman Center has sent a few emails to the Catholic students during Lent. The majority of them are the constant, almost daily drum of social justice (very aggressive CA-style) and giving up carbon for Lent. Not joking. Measuring their eco-footprints as salvation history relevancy and morality. No promotion of STATIONS, adoration, rosary, anything bedrock.

Comments are closed.