Abortion debate sparks free speech controversy at Catholic university

A group called Women in Politics recently held a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood on their Catholic campus.

In response, the school released a statement against the fundraiser, also announcing a reexamination of its policies regarding student-organized activities to “ensure stronger alignment with our mission.”

LMU’s Women in Power released a statement of their own and protested the school following the school’s official statement.

A private Catholic school located in Los Angeles, California, is currently in the process of changing its policies on student-organized activities after a college group held a Planned Parenthood fundraiser on campus. 

A student group called Women in Politics put together the controversial fundraising event at Loyola Marymount University (LMU).

The Nov. 5 fundraiser held on campus was a mixture of games, dancing, raffles, and prizes. The event was advertised as the “school’s most controversial event of the year” in a Nov. 2 post on the organization's Instagram page. 

Announced in a Nov. 7 Instagram post, Women in Politics raised over $4,100 for Planned Parenthood, an organization whose practice of abortion and abortion advocacy does not align with Catholic teaching. 

[RELATED: Pro-Life student group exposes Christian universities with ties to Planned Parenthood]

Following this fundraiser, the university explained the school’s decision to change policies regarding student-organized events to prevent occurrences like this from happening in the future. 

The event being held this evening by Women in Politics, an independent student organization, is neither sponsored nor endorsed by LMU," the school said in statement that has since been removed from its website, adding that "The university does not support, nor does it fundraise, for Planned Parenthood."

"LMU regrets the concerns this situation has caused our community members and Catholic partners. The university remains firmly committed to its Catholic, Jesuit, and Marymount values. Moving forward, LMU is reexamining and revising its policies and practices regarding student-organized activities to ensure stronger alignment with our mission," it continued.

In response to the school's statement, Women in Politics released a statement of its own, in which the group came out against the school for wanting to revise its policies.

“We will not accept any changes to university policy that restricts our freedom of speech and expression, which has been granted to us in the past, as well as to conservative RSO’s. This university prides itself on its love of diversity and constructive discourse, and that includes extending student organizations the ability to act in ways that may be controversial to the traditional values of administration,” reads Women in Power’s statement

In addition to providing a statement, the group held a Nov. 17 protest, holding signs in support of Planned Parenthood.

One student’s sign read, “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!!”

Another student help a sign that said, “IF ABORTION IS MURDER, Masturbation IS MASS GENOCIDE”

Yet another sign accuses the university of caring “more about their donors than their students!”

[RELATED: REPORT: Documents reveal UPitt may have used organs from live fetuses]

LMU’s College Republicans released a statement expressing dissatisfaction with the fundraiser, the university, and the university’s president, Dr. Timothy Snyder

“The California College Republicans (CCR) condemn the private Catholic university, Loyola Marymount, and university president Dr. Timothy Snyder, for hosting and promoting a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, a leading abortion services provider,” said the group

Will Donahue, the president of LMU’s College Republicans, was surprised that the Planned Parenthood fundraiser took place on campus to begin with.

“My first reaction was shock,” Donahue told Campus Reform. “I couldn’t believe that admin allowed the event to be approved. LMU claims to be Catholic, [so] allowing a fundraiser for the nation’s largest abortion provider on campus and providing them a space for free is beyond heretical.”

According to Donahue, Loyola Marymount University does not claim to be the Catholic university they say they are.

“The number of Catholic students and faculty on campus has been dwindling for years. The school cares more about diversity and racial quotas than about upholding their doctrine.”

He also told Campus Reform about Women in Politics’s dwindling support in response to their fundraiser and protest. 

“Women in Politics faced some harsh criticism for the event. The Archbishop said he was disappointed in the school.”

On top of disapproval from the Archbishop, Donahue says “many members of the Christian Life Community refused to go to the protest and/or quit the organization out of spite.”

Drew Alcorn, the president of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) at LMU, was also surprised to see a Planned Parenthood fundraiser on campus.

“I personally, at first, just felt that it was more of the usual progressive politics. It wasn’t until I shared [the fundraiser] with YAF and College Republicans that I began to realize this was a much bigger deal,” Alcorn told Campus Reform.

In regard to the university’s motion to reexamine their policies on student-organized activities, Alcorn is in full support. He even questioned why the school waited so long to consider this change.

“I think the school has every right to, and perhaps they should have been doing so before all this.”

Senior Claire Gute told Campus Reform that she “was shocked” after learning about the fundraiser, “especially because it contradicts the values of the Catholic church.”

“It seems that in a short amount of time, LMU has greatly shifted to the left and does not live up to the Catholic values it was founded upon,” said Gute. 

Overall, Gute is concerned about the path her school is taking. As a student at a Catholic university, she expected the school to uphold those values, but instead, she has experienced the complete opposite.

“[The event] essentially symbolizes the way Jesuit universities have become more progressively liberal in recent times.”

Campus Reform reached out to LMU’s Women in Politics and Loyola Marymount University for comment, but did not receive a response.