On Abortion, Speech, and the Catholic Campus: Vatican Responds to Petition Against Georgetown


In a move that could lead to repercussions felt far beyond a Washington hilltop, a Vatican official has lent credence to a petition started by William Peter Blatty—a Georgetown graduate who’s best known for writing The Exorcist—to force Georgetown University to conform to a strict and exclusionary vision of Catholic identity.

The petition, which has garnered about 2,000 signatures, suggests that the Vatican require Georgetown to implement the papal decree Ex Corde Ecclesiae. If not successful in addressing concerns, it calls for “the removal or suspension of top-ranked Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic or Jesuit in any of its representations.” The Vatican declined to do so, but still gave Blatty and his fellow hardliners a pat on the back. A letter from Archbishop Angelo Zani, who serves as secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, referred to the petition as “a well-founded complaint.”

“Our Congregation is taking this issue seriously,” Zani wrote, “and is cooperating with the Society of Jesus in this regard.”

Founded in 1789, Georgetown is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States. According to the school’s website, “Jesuits have played a significant role in the growth and evolution of Georgetown into a global research university deeply rooted in Catholic faith. … The ideals and principles that have characterized Jesuit education for over 450 years are central to Georgetown’s mission and character.”

So why does a group of hardline Catholics want to crack down on Georgetown? Well, outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius spoke to the students in 2012, angering those who see the Affordable Care Act’s emphasis on preventive care—and especially a requirement that says insurance companies can no longer discriminate against women by charging them additional copays for birth control—as morally equivalent to throwing flaming axes into a nursery.

What’s more, Blatty objected to students being able to choose from courses, including “Political Theology: The Case of Islam” or “Feminist Theology,” to fulfill the second half of Georgetown’s undergraduate theology requirement. And of course there is the matter of H*yas for Choice, an unofficial student group working toward increasing the availability of condoms on a campus that refuses to allow campus stores and medical facilities to sell them.

Rachel Pugh, director of media relations for the university, responded to the petition in an email to The Georgetown Voice. “Our Catholic and Jesuit identity on campus has never been stronger,” she said.

It’s purely ridiculous to suggest that Georgetown is not Catholic, and it’s offensive. Blatty’s petition is an attack on Georgetown University as a whole: its students, its faculty, its administrators, its alumni network, and the community it serves. It is an attack on academic freedom, religious pluralism, and the free exchange of ideas. It is an insult to the very Jesuit ideals of the university, and the many practicing Catholics on campus.

This Is Personal

Full disclosure: I am an alum of Georgetown University, and I have a dog in this fight. I am keenly aware of how the school’s discriminatory policies hurt its women students.

Back in the dark ages of 2002, I was on a university student health plan and a modest student budget. I needed to fork over a $110 copay to refill my birth control prescription at a drug store off campus, even though I was paying my full premiums with the expectation that my health-care needs would be covered. I count myself lucky that needing to scrimp on my grocery expenses was the only consequence.

In 2012, I expressed my anger and embarrassment in an open letter to university President John DeGioia that a law student with polycystic ovarian syndrome in similar circumstances couldn’t afford to continue refilling her contraception, leading to the growth of a cyst and ultimately having an ovary surgically removed. (Georgetown has since accepted the Obama administration’s accommodation for religiously affiliated institutions that refuse to pay for the coverage themselves, and began to include contraceptive coverage in its health plans in August 2013.)

I say this as someone with deep respect for the university’s heritage and traditions: Georgetown could do massive good for its students by adopting more common-sense approaches to its “pro-life” identity at the ground level. As evidenced by the existence of groups like Catholics for Choice and regular polling of Catholic people, the hardline approaches taken by the all-male hierarchy of the Catholic Church on matters of sexual morality are hardly representative of the whole.

Today I am an active and engaged alum, regularly returning to campus to mentor women students, judge student debates, and participate in panel discussions about leadership and nonprofit management at the career center. Recently, I gave a talk about the underrepresentation of women and politics and the media as part of Choice Week 2014, organized by H*yas for Choice. So when the Washington Post asks a source in its story about Blatty’s petition “how a Catholic school could satisfy Ex Corde if it hosts people and conversations supporting abortion rights,” it is clear we are, among other things, talking about an effort to exclude real people who give freely of their hearts, minds, and wallets to their beloved Georgetown community—including me.  

Not “Pro-Life” Enough?

In 1992, after much pressure from the Archbishop of Washington, and likely Rome, via a petition, then Dean of Students John DeGioia removed the university’s recognition of student-founded group GU Choice just one year after approving it. That decision led to the formation of the unofficial group H*yas for Choice as it continues today. Not being officially recognized means the group doesn’t receive tuition-backed student activities funds accessible to other groups and can’t use or rent tables, Laura Narefsky, a graduating senior and outgoing president of H*yas for Choice, told RH Reality Check.

It also means that disclaimers abound. At my recent talk on the underrepresentation of women in politics and the media, Narefsky opened the session with: “The views and opinions expressed by members of H*yas for Choice are those of the individuals and our presence here and the fact that we are on the Georgetown University campus does not imply endorsement by Georgetown University or the Society of Jesus.”

That disclaimer has been around a long time, at least as long as the first meeting she attended as a first-year student in 2010. “As far as I am aware, that is not something other groups do,” Narefsky said.

Accessing space for events, meetings, and tabling is an issue, Narefsky told RH Reality Check, noting that H*yas for Choice couldn’t use “the big lecture halls,” although a “Memorandum of Understanding: New Strategy for Speech and Expression Policy” released by the university on May 15 and obtained by RH Reality Check says that “Classrooms and other Registrar spaces are places of dialogue and free exchange. The University will accommodate equally all students and student groups who wish to schedule an event or public meeting in classroom spaces subject to availability.” The review came after controversy earlier this year when campus police removed a table H*yas for Choice was using to distribute free condoms.

As for Blatty’s petition, Narefsky minimized its claims and support. When asked what she would say to those who allege that the campus has become intolerant toward people who hold “pro-life” views in accordance with church teachings, the emotion rose in her voice. “I would invite them very cordially to come and look at the crucifixes in every classroom and I would invite them to speak with the student body, which is more conservative [than many campuses],” she said. “I don’t believe the people who say Georgetown is hostile to pro-life values have ever set a foot on campus. It is blatantly untrue.” 

University Ideals, Vatican Hypocrisy

The Blatty petition, and the Vatican’s supportive acknowledgement of it, happens during a broader discussion about the role of free speech, and in particular controversial speakers, on campuses across the country. This commencement season, left-leaning students protested over the inclusion of various speakers, leading Condoleeza Rice to decline an invitation to Rutgers and Christine Lagarde to cancel at Smith, among others.

Liberal journalist Michelle Goldberg has criticized that tactic, telling Vox in an interview that “free speech and the free exchange of ideas and kind of open-ended intellectual inquiry – they’re values that are worth defending in and of themselves, full stop.” It is appropriate to see Blatty’s attack on Georgetown from the right in a similar vein, both against the general value of intellectual integrity and the specific aims of the school. Georgetown says on its website that “we provide students with a world-class learning experience focused on educating the whole person through exposure to different faiths, cultures and beliefs.”

How sad that Blatty and a small, vocal minority in the community aim to change that, and how hypocritical of a Vatican representative to give it any credence, especially when the Pope, a Jesuit, has urged the Catholic Church to focus more on the whole person and less on “small-minded rules.”

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  • Harley Rummel

    “Small minded rules?” Like not approving of infanticide?

    • Jennifer Starr

      Who’s talking about infanticide?

      • Harley Rummel

        The Petition was triggered by Georgetown’s invitation to Kathlees Sebelius to be honored as a commencement speaker. The traditional role of commencement speakers is to be an example to the graduates, and to advise them on how to live fulfilling lives. As Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius vetoed every restriction on abortion, things like parental notification, that came to her desk, was a contributor and close friend of George Tiller,
        “Gosnell the Butcher’s” role model, and was denied communion by her bishop. And THIS is the person the oldest Catholic University in America invites as a role model and to advise the graduates? Admittedly, it takes some secondary cerebration, but, sorry, your complaints about the canon law petition are dancing all around — and avoiding — that central fact.

        • Jennifer Starr

          George Tiller was a very good man and a wonderful doctor who was assassinated by a terrorist. And none of what you just mentioned has anything to do with infanticide.

          • Harley Rummel

            My God! I’ve now heard it all! It’s a stomach-churning example of the deadening of the moral sense that not only “Macbeth” was about, but goes a repellent step further in making its host a veritable Moloch.
            I made a terrible mistake. You are are impervious to dialogue and argument so much as a millimeter distant than that area slightly below your belt. Bye!

          • Jennifer Starr

            Dialogue? No, you haven’t provided any. Nor have you provided any cogent arguments. I don’t know what you’re rambling on about with Moloch and Macbeth, and I suspect you don’t either. I’m sorry that hearing actual facts about Dr. George Tiller distresses you so, but that’s your issue. .

          • Harley Rummel

            Or is it perhaps that you lack the literacy to be familiar with either Moloch or Macbeth.

          • fiona64

            No, you just suck at analogies … and lack the literacy to understand why. Pro-tip: in order for something to work as an analogy, it has to be ::wait for it:: analogous to the comparative example.

          • Jennifer Starr

            No, I’m quite familiar with both. I’m not too sure that you are.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            The Bible and Shakespeare. What is your point? I mean beyond the name dropping.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told regardless of what is right, especially the Roman Catholic religion.
            Don’t bother with the invective. I am a Catholic baptized and confirmed.

          • Harley Rummel

            And yours is the Monitor Nose of the Universe that unerringly detects truth from falsehood?

          • Jennifer Starr

            Isn’t that something that He-Man had?

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Harley is a Drama Queen.

          • Jennifer Starr

            What Plum is saying is that blind obedience to a doctrine does not equal morality.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Correct. Thank you. It is stupid and it will take more than one of us to drive the point home.

          • Harley Rummel

            First one CHOOSES the doctrine. Therefore, obedience to it is not blind.

          • fiona64

            First one CHOOSES the doctrine

            Which is why no one is ever “born and raised” in a faith.

            Oh, wait.

          • Jennifer Starr

            It doesn’t equal morality.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            There is no choice involved in forming Catholic doctrine. It is imposed from on high.

          • goatini

            I wonder who he is on National Catholic Review. He’s probably one of the trolls that caused the message boards to be taken down temporarily because of vicious, vile comments from the “holier than thou” types.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Just google the name “Harley Rummel” and who wrote that movie.

          • goatini

            Yeah, I think it is Batty Blatty, impotently spewing radical theocratic misogynistic hate speech.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            I used to go there and post. Sad.

          • goatini

            The message board on an article from yesterday, “New day dawning for women priests 20 years after ‘Ordinatio Sacerdotalis’”, had to be closed within 24 hours of the article’s posting.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Wow.

          • fiona64

            William Peter Blatty, is who he is.

          • lady_black

            Seriously? That’s who I’ve been debating? I’m SO disappointed in his debating skills. Listing a National Review opinion piece? Why didn’t he just link to Newsmax?

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Catholicism does not demand obedience. You are not a Roman Catholic.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXB8eACUwjM

          • lady_black

            No, it’s pretty much a lack of effort into choosing. And who can blame you? It’s much less effort to be told what to think than to put the effort into doing the actual thinking.

          • cjvg

            And then one demands that others who did NOT choose that doctrine obey it because it makes you feel good!

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            You have your truth. Only God is The Truth.

          • fiona64

            Here’s a little pro-tip for you: a ranting lecture does not constitute “dialog”; it’s nothing more than logorrhea.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Insult is not argument.

          • lady_black

            Flounce away, you pseudo-intellectual poser.

          • Arekushieru

            So, let’s review: according to you, women whose pregnancies threatened their lives or carried fetuses that were doomed due to genetic abnormalities could not have their pregnancies terminated, as these women were Dr. Tiller’s patients, and should have been forced to carry them to term, despite the fact that you being male would preclude you from ever having to put your health and life at risk in a manner that YOU suggest for pregnant women, and you say JENNIFER is the one with the deadening moral sense equivalent to Moloch?

            Besides that, if you read some of the stories of women who talked about abortion on the I am Dr. Tiller website, you would have read stories about women who say that knowing that there were abortion providers like Dr. Tiller out there provided them with the courage to CONTINUE with their own pregnancies. Oopsies, again.

          • goatini

            We’re impervious to vicious theocratic misogynistic hate speech against the inalienable civil, human and Constitutional rights of innocent female US citizens to reproductive justice.

          • Harley Rummel

            May God help you all! Here is an excerpt from the testimony of a nurse before a congressional committee that describes the procedure your hero Tiller was famous for. And as you read, bear in mind that a consensus of pediatric neurologists now agrees that at 20 weeks gestation and beyond, the baby feels the pain and much more intensely than you or I:

            “Nurse
            Brenda Pratt Shafer gave her testimony to Congress under oath:

            “I stood at the doctor’s side and watched him perform a
            partial-birth abortion on a woman who was six months pregnant. The baby’s heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen. The doctor delivered the baby’s body and arms, everything but his little head. The baby’s body was moving. His little fingers were clasping together. He was kicking his feet. The doctor took a pair of scissors and inserted them into the back of the baby’s head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall. Then the doctor opened the scissors up. Then he stuck the high-powered suction tube into the hole and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby was completely limp. I never went back to the clinic. But I am still haunted by the face of that little boy. It was the most perfect, angelic face I have ever seen.”

            And Tiller was a good man. Really. God help you all.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Yes, a good man who was killed by a terrorist. I haven’t changed my opinion.

          • goatini

            Nothing more than another notorious amoral, perjurer, just like like Stanek. And neither of these notorious perjurers ever worked for the martyred Dr Tiller.

            The vicious radical theocratic misogynist Phill Kline was utterly and completely unsuccessful in his witch hunt against the martyred Dr Tiller. The late Dr Tiller was a good, compassionate, responsible, law-abiding physician.

          • lady_black

            Go away you foolish person. You know nothing.

          • fiona64

            A woman who makes her living telling lies about medical procedures is your best source, really?

            BTW, dumbass, fetii are physiologically *incapable* of feeling pain at 20 weeks’ gestation. The myelin sheath is not complete until approximately 28 weeks’ gestation (at which point abortion absent medical necessity is a moot point anyway) … and it is the myelin sheath that completes the “circuit” for experiencing sensations. And no, response to noxious stimulus is not a pain response. Pithed frogs will respond to noxious stimulus, but they are literally incapable of feeling pain because of the pithing.

            You need to learn some basic biology instead of believing absolutely unadulterated bullshit.

          • cjvg

            Medical consensus does NOT agree that a 20 week fetus can feel pain, in fact by far the majority agrees that it is physically impossible for a 20 week fetus to feel pain. You know who most certainly can feel pain, a woman! That’s right women are living breathing aware sentient and sapient human beings.

            The abortions that doctor tiller provided where for women who had severe threats to their lives and would die without one, or they were carrying “babies” that who where so severely damaged that they would not have lived any way or would have very short painful lives before expiring. Your extreme willingness and want to see these women die or see these babies suffering prolonged and increased is disgusting.

        • Dez

          Shouldn’t you Catholics worry about all the child rape victims before trying to do something about ones not born yet?

          • Harley Rummel

            Another offering of ignorance and bigotry. Some years back Hoftsra University, not a Catholic institution, released the results of an exhaustive study showing that the chances of a student in a public school wing sexually molested by a teacher or school employee were roughly 100 times — absorbing that figure? — yes, 100 tie greater than a pupil in a Catholic school.

          • Jennifer Starr

            But it’s generally only in Catholic institutions where it will be hushed up while the priest is shuffled off to another parish for fresh victims. And some Catholics still believe that the clergy should be immune from secular law enforcement.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Citation please.

          • Harley Rummel
          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            The work you cited does not support your contention. Please quote the portion you think does support your contention.

          • Harley Rummel

            Unbelievable. From Wikipedia: ”

            “Media reports[edit]

            “According to a 2006 National Review Online opinion column republished by CBS News, Shakeshaft said that “… the physical sexual abuse of students in [public] schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by [Catholic] priests.”[4] She estimated that about 290,000 students were victimized between 1991 and 2000.[5]“

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Citation please. Not an opinion piece. Real research. You can tell the difference between fact and opinion, right?

          • fiona64

            “Is likely” is not the same as “is,” you know? That’s *conjecture,* not fact.

            You aren’t too good at this stuff, are you?

          • ChrisFunguy79

            Well of course Plum Dumper didn’t bother to actually read the link. That might prove her wrong.

          • lady_black

            Um no. Opinion pieces are not proof of much of anything.

          • fiona64

            His mommy hasn’t taught him that part of Debate 101 yet.

          • lady_black

            For citing *a 2006 National Review Online opinion column (ROFLMFAO!) * as a source of scholarly information, you have received a grade of “F” for failure to discern what an actual source of scholarly information is. You do realize that Wikipedia may or may not be a reliable source, but a National Review opinion column definitely is NOT a reliable source.

          • fiona64

            Citation does not support your contention. In fact, it negates your contention due to flawed methodology. From your link:

            Citing the Times Picayune, however, the Post also noted that Shakeshaft’s report had been criticized by two large teacher organizations, for not separating sexual harassment of students and actual molestation, lumping them both together, claiming that makes the problem seem worse than it is.[6]

            Your choice is simple: admit that you were making crap up, or cough up the citation
            .
            Why? Oh, because of this:
            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Child_sexual_abuse_in_the_Roman_Catholic_Church

            You’re welcome.

          • Harley Rummel

            Logic 101: If sexual harassment and actual molestation were not separated out in the study, then that fact applies to both public and Catholic schools and there is in fact no distortion. Please stop this foolish flailing.

          • fiona64

            You’re so cute when your desperation is showing. You, my dear, have been hoist with your own petard. Why don’t you just admit it?

            The information on the Roman Catholic child sexual abuse problem is very clear. It is specific to molestation. It is a rigorously documented matter … as is the cover-up — which was the major reason behind Ratzenberger stepping down as Pope. I’m sorry that you’re not able to comprehend that, but that’s really not my fault.

          • Jennifer Starr

            No flailing, just logic. On our end, not yours.

          • fiona64

            Citation needed. Thank you.

          • Dez

            Are these schools acting as a moral authority that millions of people look up to? You would think the catholic church would be held up to a higher standard to the average person. Yet the catholic church to this day knowingly covers up child rape and we are suppose to see them as symbol of morality. Sorry if I don’t take a criminal organization that moves around child rapists seriously.

          • cjvg

            You forgot to include the altar boys and those abused by priests!
            I guess you did not like the number it jumped up to then.

            Of course the catholic SCHOOLS did not sexually abuse that many, they where mostly run by nuns. Include the plain jane physical abuse though and it already is not looking so good for your claims.

          • goatini

            I’m Catholic. And when a minor is violated by a priest, the priest is protected and shuffled off to another diocese where he can start all over again.

          • fiona64

            Oh, sweetie. That’s so funny. Why? Because the methodology was flawed. Incidents of sexual harassment were lumped in with incidents of molestation and conflated. Oh, and you forgot to say who paid for the study: the Catholic church.

            Oopsy, Fr. Blatty. I hope you’ll confess to bearing false witness before mass …

        • Jennifer Starr

          You realize that about half of Georgetown students are not Catholic,correct? And while I do know that two theology courses are required along with two philosophy courses, I can find nothing which states that the exact courses you list are a requirement for every student. Why must you insist on buying fanaticism?

          • Harley Rummel

            Thank you for so frankly laying bare your bias. Devotion to the tenets of Catholicism constitute “fanaticism.” So we could have saved a great deal of time and words had you simply announced your intense bias to begin with. Still, better late than never.

          • Jennifer Starr

            You’re just a mite thin-skinned aren’t you?

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            You ignore Ratzinger.
            “Over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. Conscience confronts [the individual] with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even of the official church.”
            (Pope Benedict XVI [then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger], “Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II”, ed. Vorgrimler, 1968, on Gaudium et spes, part 1, chapter 1.)

          • Jennifer Starr

            How much devotion is there with a man who’s had four spouses within a faith which supposedly doesn’t allow for divorce?

          • lady_black

            There is no obligation for non-Catholic students to be devoted to Catholic tenets. Thinking there is such an obligation is fanaticism.

          • goatini

            I’m Catholic. The Church is guilty of perpetuating institutionalized misogyny.

          • fiona64

            You might have done us the same courtesy, Fr. Blatty, instead of coming here under the pretense of being just another poster who happens to agree … with yourself.

        • fiona64

          ‘Fess up; you were typing with one hand while you wrote out that fantasy, weren’t you?

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            It came when it typed “Gosnell the Butcher.” Fap fap fap …

        • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

          98% of Catholic women use contraceptives. Catholic women have 23% of the abortions nationwide.
          The Roman Catholic Church does not hear the voices of women, so Catholics ignore ‘the rules.’

        • Erin Matson

          Genuine question: Do you think Georgetown should not have President Obama come to speak on campus, as he has? Do you think Georgetown should not boast that President Clinton graduated from the School of Foreign Service?

        • goatini

          //George Tiller, “Gosnell the Butcher’s” role model//

          Only in the radical misogynist’s bizarro world view is a compassionate law-abiding martyr a “role model” for a tried and convicted criminal.

          Using the same tortured logic, we could say that Scott Roeder is YOUR role model. Unfortunately, it’s likely that this is an actual fact.

          • Harley Rummel

            See above. And for someone who would call this moral monster a “role model,” soulless barely does the job. How about “human garbage!”

          • goatini

            The late Dr Tiller was a compassionate, law-abiding martyr.

            Scott Roeder, and all other radical theocratic misogynistic forced-birthers, are human garbage.

          • goatini

            I hear that the “Rummel” sock is actually Blatty, posting here to impotently attempt to defend his indefensible BS.

          • fiona64

            It’s not just a rumor …

          • Arekushieru

            The one whose soulless is the one who believes women with life-threatening pregnancies or whose fetuses are doomed, anyways. and would only suffer in their short lives once born anyways should be able to have their pregnancies terminated? And the one who is NOT soulless is the one who would condemn these women to death and/or their fetuses to severe trauma and suffering? WOW. Up is down and down is up with you people.

          • fiona64

            Fr. Blatty, you are making Baby Jesus cry with the horrible way you speak of people you’ve never even met …

        • Arekushieru

          So, I guess what is good for the gander is not good for the goose, or vice versa. You think that parental notification should ONLY be triggered when a teenager is about to have an abortion? If parental notification laws are so good, then you would ALSO complain about lack of parental notification laws for when a teenager gets pregnant, otherwise we all know that this is just about punishing women (young girls) for having consensual sex for purposes other than procreation. Oops.

          Gosnell, the Butcher, was actually anti-choice like you. Oops. A pro-choice person does not inspire anti-choice people to follow them. If they did, we would not be arguing, sweetheart.

          Sorry, but a LOT of good Catholic women have abortions AND use contraception. Where is THEIR spokesperson? Or do you not actually believe in freedom OF religion, which not only means freedom TO practice (all or in part). but freedom FROM practicing (all or in part); religion. And, unlike what you fanatics claim, the (majority of) the US founders were NOT Catholic. And their intent on founding the US was to escape religious extremism in their OLD countries. Oops. So, actually, they were referring more to the LATTER than the former. TBSFS. What about the nine-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather and was excommunicated for having an abortion to save her life, but the one who PUT HER IN NEED OF AN ABORTION, in the first place, because he raped her, was not. The Catholic Church is fucking sick and diseased. Even in my own country I have my OWN example of how sick and diseased they are, with the recent kerfuffle over Justin Trudeau’s decision on what members can enter the Liberal party.

          You do know what freedom of speech is, right? It prevents the GOVERNMENT making laws to RESTRICT someone’s freedom to and FROM speech being practiced but does not prevent Government from making laws to restrict the SPACES or forums in which the speech is practiced or not, because your freedom of speech is being upheld no matter what, either way. To restrict these spaces in such a manner, on a scale that balances the least privileged’s to the most privileged’s need to access these spaces, would be the most fair option, however. Therefore

          • Harley Rummel

            Here’s a description of the procedure your hero Tiller was notorious for by Nurse Brenda Pratt Shafer under oath before a Congressional hearing:

            “I stood at the doctor’s side and watched him perform a partial-birth abortion on a woman who was six months pregnant. The baby’s heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen. The doctor
            delivered the baby’s body and arms, everything but his little head. The baby’s body was moving. His little fingers were clasping together. He was kicking his feet. The doctor took a pair of scissors and plunged them into the back of the baby’s head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall. Then the doctor opened the scissors up. Then he stuck the high-powered suction tube into the hole and
            sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby was completely limp. I never went back to the clinic. But I am still haunted by the face of that little boy.”

            There is a consensus among pediatric neurosurgeons that at least by 6 months the infant feels the pain and feels it more exquisitely than would an adult. Sebelius donated to Tiller and was a close friend. If that’s the company you admire, well … The word soulless does come to mind.

          • goatini

            Here’s the SAME response to the SAME BS that you’ve already trolled this reproductive justice website with:

            Amoral perjurer Shafer is nothing more than another notorious amoral perjurer, just like Stanek. And neither of these notorious perjurers ever worked for the martyred Dr Tiller.

            The vicious radical theocratic misogynist Phill Kline was utterly and completely unsuccessful in his witch hunt against the martyred Dr Tiller. The late Dr Tiller was a good, compassionate, responsible, law-abiding physician.

          • Arekushieru

            Yes, the word soulless certainly does apply to people like you. After all, if pain really was an issue with people like you, you would at least be nearly as concerned about the pain and trauma rapists can and do endure when their victims defend themselves, the pain and trauma that the WOMAN feels at giving birth (some context, my mother has high pain tolerance so much so that childbirth was the most painful thing she had ever experienced, EVEN IN RETROSPECT, up until she had to have an MRI done to determine the cause of her spinal degeneration and the iodine used apparently came into contact with exposed nerves) and, by YOUR logic, the pain and trauma a FETUS (not an infant) endures during childbirth. When a surgical abortion is performed a woman is given anesthesia, which is passed along to the fetus (why DO you think that women are, in part, denied most, if not all, medications while pregnant?), the fetus is still being kept in a near-comatose state by the amniotic sac AND is given digoxin prior to the abortion. During birth, the amniotic sac, in normal cases, no longer surrounds the fetus AND

          • fiona64

            Tell the truth, Fr. Blatty … you typed that using only one hand, didn’t you?

          • Suba gunawardana

            What you described is a method of euthanasia that ensures a painless death through quick destruction of the brain. What exactly do you find wrong with this?

          • Arekushieru

            EXACTLY.

        • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

          “Gosnell the Butcher”
          Right Wing Meme. Drink!

    • fiona64

      I didn’t see a single word in this article referring to infanticide. Neither did anyone else … including you.

    • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

      FetusFreak has brought its murderporn for show-and-tell. Now isn’t that special?

      • fiona64

        Fr. Blatty has appeared for our amusement, I guess, since it’s been decades since any of his books were on the NYT bestseller list.

    • purrtriarchy

      Idiot.

  • David C.

    Liberals, in general, do not understand the value of obedience especially in a religious setting. The issue here is that Georgetown is a Catholic University run by a Catholic Religious Order who took among others the vow of obedience. Therefore, they should follow the rules and live up to what is expected of them.

    It is the same with Charter schools. They operate independently but they receive public funding therefore there is an obligation for them to follow the State’s rules otherwise they loose public funding. The Church is the state and the Georgetown and the Jesuits are the charter schools. If they don’t follow the agreed rules, then they don’t deserve to be called a Catholic University.

    • Jennifer Starr

      Georgetown University receives federal funding. Not from a church, but from the US Government. And over half of students attending receive federal financial aid. So no, the church is not the state in this case.

    • fiona64

      So, Georgetown isn’t taking any Federal money (Pell grants, etc.)?

      Oh, wait … why yes, yes they are.

    • lady_black

      Georgetown takes taxpayer money.

      • ChrisFunguy79

        So does Planned Parenthood.

        • Dez

          And they abide by the law, not the catholic church. Your point?

          • ChrisFunguy79

            Gay marriage is still outlawed in most states.

            Do you think we should abide by all laws…just because it is the law?

          • L-dan

            The civil portion, i.e. state recognition, of gay marriage is outlawed by those states. And yep, people tend to abide by that and work to change the law involved instead.

            Not sure what your point is other than to move the goalposts around.

          • lady_black

            Yes I do. And I’m proud to tell you the number of states outlawing marriage equality is falling rapidly. It’s been legal in my state for 2 days now, and people are marrying. Hurrah!

          • cjvg

            Courtesy of religion and their undue political influence, what was that about separation of church and state again?

          • Dez

            Actually since the states are subject to federal laws, yea. Unless you are a states rights person. Of course the religious were states rights people that wanted slavery like same religious people that want to ban same sex marriage.

        • lady_black

          Yeah, I don’t think Planned Parenthood is forcing religious ooga-booga down anyone’s throat.

          • ChrisFunguy79

            Last time I checked, nobody is forced to go to Georgetown.

          • Arekushieru

            Um, last I checked forcing beliefs down someone’s throat just because of their birthplace was discrimination. It’s the same thing that happened to two schools in central Alberta in towns in and around my city and also my birthplace. The schools had to change their policies. Oops.

          • lady_black

            People choose to go to Georgetown because of the quality of their programs. Just like any other college or university. Or it could be simply because they are located in the area. Neither of those factors allow any discrimination based on religion. Georgetown must be welcoming of students of all religions, and none at all. That’s because they get federal dollars. If the Catholic church was paying for it, they could do as they please.

          • ChrisFunguy79

            Do you own a house, because if so, you are getting federal dollars. That doesn’t mean the public can dictate how you run your living room.

          • lady_black

            LOL. Let’s move into the land of GET REAL. Yes I do own a home, and no I am not getting federal dollars. Where DO you people get these ideas from?

          • ChrisFunguy79

            Oh, so you don’t have a mortgage?

          • lady_black

            Yes I DO have a mortgage. And I take the standard deduction. End of discussion.

          • ChrisFunguy79

            So you’re getting federal dollars.

          • lady_black

            No, I don’t. I pay what I owe, just like everyone else. The standard deduction is the portion of your income (read: from working) that isn’t subject to taxation, and it works exactly the same for every tax payer. If you actually paid taxes, you would know that.

          • ChrisFunguy79

            ” I pay what I owe”

            So does the Catholic Church. I know, you’re against religious institutions having tax exempt status…well, too bad. It’s kind of based on why this country was founded (ya know, the whole separation of church and state) why we have tax exempt status for religious institutions.

            The great thing is, you can create your own tax exempt institution if you so wish.

            Me? I’m an Atheist, so we’re still working out the details on that…

          • lady_black

            The Catholic church doesn’t pay jack shit. They are free-loading property owners who break the rules by engaging in political activities, and it’s about time they got called out on it. They cost every other property-tax payer (including those who rent, because the property taxes are figured into your rent payments) a lot of extra money, because we have to make up for their free-loading. I can understand not paying taxes on their tithes. But when they’re engaged in businesses that make profits, like hospitals, universities and standard K-12 education, they ought to be paying taxes on their properties, just like everyone else. And if they don’t want to pay income taxes, they need to stay the hell out of politics. That’s one of the rules.

          • cjvg

            Separation of church and state would be more factual if the state did not force every single tax payer (regardless of the actual tax payers beliefs and convictions) pay for the benefit of the church.

            Churches enjoy all the public services and infra structure they want or need, without contributing a dime towards them. Churches are moochers who force others to cover their bill and have engaged the services of the government to do so.

            Only registered church members should be forced to cover the tax bill of their church!

          • Shan

            If you file your taxes, so do you.

          • lady_black

            The filing of taxes doesn’t involve anyone getting federal dollars. If you get a big refund, it’s YOUR MONEY. You have just given the feds a year long interest-free loan. Ideally, everyone should break even.

          • Shan

            I was thinking of deductions, either standard or itemized, and exemptions that a filer doesn’t get taxed on. If I get more money back at the end of the year than I actually paid in based on what was withheld according to my tax bracket (earnings), then the Feds are giving me money (IMO) because I engaged in life-behavior that they want to encourage. Like having (or adopting) a kid, buying a house, getting married, having a savings/retirement account, making charitable donations, having health insurance (or HSA) and actually using it, etc.

          • lady_black

            Lucky you. I’ve never had a refund that was more than I paid in, and several times when I was making really good money, I’ve had to pay in (even though I was claiming zero deductions on my W-4). I had to fill out a new W-4 and have them deduct extra from every check so I would come close to breaking even.

          • fiona64

            He gets his “ideas” from “crap I just pulled out of my ass.”

          • Harley Rummel

            Classy riposte. Thanks for showing us all what you’re made of, as if it wasn’t already nauseatingly apparent.

          • goatini

            Hey Blatty, naff off. I laughed at your idiotic “scary” movie back in the day too, just like I’m laughing at your impotent poutrage right now.

          • Arekushieru

            Says the man who thinks its soulless to have an abortion but not to deny the basic necessities for those who are BORN, obviously. Creep.

          • fiona64

            Well, Fr. Blatty, we’ve been dealing with “Chris” and his trolling for several months now, and “crap he pulled out of his ass” is exactly what he has.

            BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Exorcist” when I was in junior high. Now, since you will never have to worry about the complications of an unwanted pregnancy affecting your life or health, seeing that priests are supposed to be celibate and all, why don’t you leave this debate to those who are actually affected by it? Thanks in advance.

    • cjvg

      Blind obedience without the use of ones conscience leads to atrocities every time, when are people like you going to learn?
      I did not know is no exuse

  • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

    I am PRO life so naturally I am PRO choice.

  • cjvg

    No secular governmental tax exemptions, grants or subsidies should ever be paid to religious organizations ever! This would free these fine upstanding religious bulwarks from ever having to deal with sinners money so I’m sure they would thank us for this rule.
    Any students wanting to attend this institution can apply for student loans but no money will ever be paid directly to these institutions. No they can follow their own religious rules without interference