Georgetown University’s Lecture Fund, a student-run organization, has invited Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, to deliver a speech on campus on April 20. Richards’s acceptance of the invitation has triggered considerable backlash from the university’s student-run Right to Life organization, which claims the event is contrary to Georgetown’s identity as a Jesuit institution.
Two petitions have been launched — by Georgetown University Right to Life and Students for Life of America and by the Cardinal Newman Society — both calling for Richards’s visit to be cancelled, citing Planned Parenthood’s status as the nation’s largest abortion provider.
A statement issued by administrators defended the Lecture Fund’s actions, stating that the university sought to “provide a forum that does not limit free speech.” However, the statement also referred to the continued strength of Georgetown’s Jesuit identity and reaffirmed the university’s commitment to the “sanctity and human dignity of every stage of life.” Michael Khan, president of Georgetown University Right to Life, has condemned the administrators’ “lack of moral courage” in refusing to oppose Richards’s upcoming speech.
The Archdiocese of Washington, led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, also released a statement, which criticized the absence of “morality, ethics and human decency” on a campus that purports to uphold Catholic values.