February 09, 2021
Abby Johnson was invited by the Cardinals for Life, a student organization at The Catholic University of America, more than a year ago. The student group followed University policy to obtain approval for the speaker. The University gives student groups broad latitude to invite speakers of their choice to campus.
The Cardinals for Life invited Ms. Johnson to speak on her memoir, Unplanned. Ms. Johnson’s first-person account of her experience working at Planned Parenthood, and her subsequent journey to embrace the pro-life movement were considered by the students to be a unique and powerful message.
As the event drew closer, we began to hear from a number of our students representing various communities on campus that strongly opposed the presentation by Ms. Johnson. The students cited various social media postings by Ms. Johnson that they found deeply offensive.
In his role as chaplain, Father Jude DeAngelo sought to bring the concerns of the students to the Cardinals for Life, and to foster dialogue between the student groups. He sought solutions that would give him more time to do the work necessary to build community.
Ultimately the Cardinals for Life decided not to continue with the planned event, but the College Republicans volunteered to sponsor Ms. Johnson. The event named “Fight for Life” will take place as planned. An event entitled “Recenter, Refocus, Remind: A Conversation on the Consistent Ethic of Life,” hosted by the Student Government Association Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, will be held at the same time.*
* This statement has been amended to include the names of the events.