Planned Parenthood Pres Gets Protests, Cheers at Georgetown

(Photo: David Shankbone, Creative Commons)

(Photo: David Shankbone, Creative Commons)

Anti-abortion advocates and Georgetown University students gathered together to protest an appearance to be made at the school by Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

Pro-life advocates from both on and off campus rallied with the anti-abortion student group Georgetown Right to Life to argue against the school’s decision to allow a pro-choice advocate to make a public appearance on the campus.  Georgetown Right to Life President Michael Khan said her views go against the values upheld by the schools, as well as “the dignity of each human life,” writes Toni Ann Booras for The Daily Caller.

Khan added that the group was “disappointed” in the university for allowing her to speak at the school.

“It seems as if Georgetown is endorsing this speech by Cecile Richards, where she was given such a significant platform on campus, so our goal today was to provide a stark contrast to that, to uphold the values of human dignity that should animate our university as a Jesuit school,” Khan said.

While on campus, Richards discussed her belief that women should be making decisions about abortions rather than politicians.  The event was only open to Georgetown University students.  “I can’t wait for the day that partisan politics gets out of reproductive health care in America,” Richards said.

Those who attended the event reported Richards receiving a standing ovation at the end of her speech, while Khan did admit that the campus was currently split in their opinions on issues such as abortion.  He said that although a strong pro-life group did exist on the campus, he believed a pro-choice group of equal strength was in existence at the school, reports Adelle Banks for The National Catholic Reporter.

The event was organized by the student-run Lecture Fund.  The group is in charge of bringing speakers such as former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former Democratic strategist James Carville and conservative commentator Ann Coulter to the campus.

Georgetown has spoken up in response to the accusations, saying that guest speakers on campus are not an endorsement from the school.  The school defended the right of the student group to invite Richards to speak on campus even when others view the ideas being discussed as “controversial or objectionable.”

“We respect our students’ right to express their personal views and are committed to sustaining a forum for the free exchange of ideas, even when those ideas may be difficult, controversial or objectionable to some,” the statement read.

The statement continued to say that while the school is aware that the views shared by some speakers may not align with the values upheld by the university, the school works to ensure their values are shared within the community while also allowing a place to speak freely on a variety of topics on campus.

As a result of Richards’ appearance, Right to Life is expected to invite Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director who is now a pro-life activist.  In preparation for her arrival, the group held a panel discussion on other options to abortion and planted pink and blue flags throughout the campus to represent the number of abortions that occur each day throughout the country.