‘Shocking’ Report Details Purported ‘Scandalous Relationship’ Between Catholic Colleges and Planned Parenthood

A Catholic advocacy group recently released a report detailing the purported “scandalous relationship” between more than two dozen Catholic colleges and embattled health care organization Planned Parenthood.

The Cardinal Newman Society said that it found more than 60 ties between 27 Catholic higher education institutions and the controversial organization, detailing the findings in an August report titled, “A More Scandalous Relationship: Catholic Colleges and Planned Parenthood.”

“The mission of Planned Parenthood has nothing in common with the values of the Catholic Church,” the report’s introduction reads. “And no Catholic college should be collaborating with Planned Parenthood or its representatives on any matter — most especially those related to sexuality or the education of young adults.”

Photo credit: Shutterstock
Photo credit: Shutterstock

The document — the inception of which was spawned by recent undercover Planned Parenthood videos purporting to show the sale of aborted fetal tissue — is a follow-up to a similar effort the group undertook in 2011, when it found 150 purported instances of Catholic colleges being tied to Planned Parenthood; the group said that the 2015 report found 63 connections.

“When you highlight each instance it very often seems like an exception, and so doing a round-up and looking at Catholic colleges around the country helps to expose that the problem is much more widespread than individual colleges,” Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick Reilly recently told TheBlaze.

See an excerpt from the “shocking” report below:

An excerpt from the Cardinal Newman Society report on Planned Parenthood and Catholic Colleges
An excerpt from the Cardinal Newman Society report on Planned Parenthood and Catholic Colleges

Reilly said that some of the connections involved colleges referring students to jobs at Planned Parenthood, or included the hiring of staffers who are still currently — or were formerly — employed by the controversial organization. He also emphasized that the Cardinal Newman Society only looked at online materials, speculating that the connections could run even deeper.

“We only looked online. This was not as deep an investigative report that it could have been,” he said. “We were looking at online evidence at a problem that is probably much more widespread then what we found online.”

After the 2011 reported captured a great deal of attention, Reilly said that many of the colleges removed the exposed links to Planned Parenthood from their websites, but he said that the removals don’t necessarily mean that the problems were corrected.

Less than one month after the latest findings were released, the Cardinal Newman Society reported on Thursday that seven colleges removed references on their websites to Planned Parenthood.

In sum, 14 of the 63 references have been removed following the 2015 report, with an update published on the Cardinal Newman Society website listing the following schools among those that decided to ax references:

DePaul University in Chicago, Ill.; the University of Dayton in Ohio; Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio; Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Saint Mary’s College of California; Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., and the University of San Diego (USD) have updated their websites to remove or change references to Planned Parenthood.

According to the Cardinal Newman Society, Mount Mercy University, Stonehill College and the University of Dayton all responded via letters to express regret over Planned Parenthood connections, saying that some of the materials were old and outdated.

A representative for the University of San Diego told TheBlaze on Thursday that Planned Parenthood is not permitted to market its services on campus and that the posting and promotion of internships with the organization is also barred.

While two remaining links belong to faculty who had involvement with Planned Parenthood in the past, the university spokesman said that the other links highlighted in the report were not “deliberate attempts on the university’s part to promote Planned Parenthood,” and said that the school appreciated that the Cardinal Newman Society pointed them out.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 05:  A Planned Parenthood location is seen on August 5, 2015 in New York City. The women's health organization has come under fire from Republicans recently after an under cover video allegedly showed a Planned Parenthood executive discussing selling cells from aborted fetuses.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
A Planned Parenthood location is seen on August 5, 2015 in New York City. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

On a wider scale, Reilly posited that the 63 connections might not have been made as deliberate attempts to contradict Catholic teaching, but he said that they are rooted in a failure to understand Catholic culture.

Reilly said that one of the issues at Catholic schools is that individuals are sometimes hired who have little to no understanding or appreciation for the Catholic identity — something he decried.

“We strongly encourage attention to Catholic identity even in the hiring of lower level employees,” he said. “A lot of people who aren’t Catholic don’t completely understand the situation.”

Reilly explained that most Catholic colleges in the U.S. are not owned by the church, nor are they owned by the Catholic bodies that founded them, explaining that most were handed off to boards of trustees in the 1960s and 1970s.

“Legally, the church does not have direct control,” he said. “What the church does have is the right … to determine whether a college or university can call itself ‘Catholic,’ and that’s really the ultimate penalty to declare a college no longer Catholic.”

See another excerpt from the report below:

An excerpt from the Cardinal Newman Society report on Planned Parenthood and Catholic Colleges
An excerpt from the Cardinal Newman Society report on Planned Parenthood and Catholic Colleges

While that’s a punishment that can be given to colleges, the bishops have rarely done so, with Reilly noting that Catholic leaders have opportunities to put pressure on colleges in an effort to make change, but are careful in how they handle the delicate situation.

“The last thing a bishop wants to do is to lose one of these institutions completely,” Reilly said. “I believe that the bishops have been trying very hard to bring colleges back into the fold, so to speak.”

Reilly said that he and others at the Cardinal Newman Society are hoping to see the report spark reactions that are similar to what unfolded after the 2011 document was released, at which time numerous schools removed Internet links to Planned Parenthood.

“We’re just in the process now of following up with the colleges and trying to see if that’s what’s happening,” he said. “And hopefully in those cases it’s not just a matter of removing them from the website.”

Read the report in its entirety here.

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