Loading
Georgetown class requires work with abortion group
Edward Bennett Williams Law Library at the Georgetown University Law Center. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.
Edward Bennett Williams Law Library at the Georgetown University Law Center. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.
By Adelaide Mena
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A Georgetown University Law Center class offered next spring will require students to work with a lobbying group which a lawyer said is known for its work promoting abortion rights.

“Georgetown offers a course that will require students to work with an organization dedicated to promoting abortion and contraception and actively attacking religious freedom,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, told CNA Oct. 25.

She added that Georgetown's offering of the course is “a disgrace to its Catholic identity.”

“Georgetown students will be given course credit for advancing the very policies that our bishops are fighting in court and promoting abortion and contraception that, as our faith teaches us, do violence to both women and children.”

On Oct. 24, the Cardinal Newman Society was the first to report that Georgetown University Law School will be offering “Regulatory Advocacy: Women and the Affordable Care Act,” in its spring 2014 semester, taught by Kelli Garcia.

The course will require that students work alongside the National Women's Law Center, a D.C.-based advocacy group whose healthcare platform pushes for abortion, sterilization and contraceptive provision as health care.

The organization’s work aims specifically to “oppose challenges such as pharmacy refusals and religious restrictions,” of individuals and religious groups who find these products and procedures as unconscionable.

The NWLC website decries organizations such as crisis pregnancy centers and Catholic hospitals for their unwillingness to participate in abortions, and labeled the ethical rules governing Catholic hospitals, bans on sex-selective abortions, and restrictions on the abortion of babies capable of feeling pain and living outside of their mother as “Threats to A Woman’s Right to Decide Whether to Have an Abortion.”

This policy and legal work against religious freedom in favor of abortion provision is headed by Kelli Garcia, senior counsel for NWLC, who “oversees the Center's efforts to address religious restrictions” on abortions and contraception, the organization’s website states.

Garcia will be both teaching the course and coordinating its practical component.

This is Garcia’s second time at Georgetown: from 2011-2012, Garcia was an O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law representative at Georgetown.

The class she is teaching will instruct students on the intersection of women’s health – which is often code for the provision of abortions, sterilization and contraception – and the Affordable Care Act, as well as on its rules, including the HHS mandate, which requires employers to provide and pay for abortion-causing and contraceptive drugs, even against their deeply-held religious beliefs.

Students in the class will also be required to “work with the National Women's Law Center to develop projects that will assist in the organization's regulatory advocacy efforts,” and participate in “strategy meetings and conference calls with the partner organization and other coalition members.”

Some of the organizations partners are the Ford Foundation, which is a supporter of expanding abortion programs, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, among other organizations in other topic areas.

The National Women’s Law Center also addresses other areas of law regarding women, including equal pay laws, maternity leave, elimination of discrimination against pregnant women, sexual harassment, early childcare education, poverty support for struggling families, and fighting discrimination in the workplace against mothers of young children.

Georgetown University Law Center said in a statement to CNA that the class “is an optional course” and is part of a broad education and emphasized that the “practicum will explore a number of issues,” including eating disorders, maternity coverage, and other topics.

The university also stressed that “there are no assignments pertaining to abortion, and certainly no requirement that students adhere to a particular set of beliefs.”

“Georgetown University embraces academic freedom and supports the free exchange of ideas in order to foster dialogue on critical issues of the day – such as issues relating to the Affordable Care Act,” Georgetown University Law Center continued.

“The issues discussed in this class, or any class, do not imply any institutional endorsement of a particular course of action.”

It is unclear whether students will be able to choose to work on a project related to abortion or contraception for the final practical project.

As of the publishing of this article, the Archdiocese of Washington was not able to comment on the class or the instructor to CNA, saying that they would look more into the situation.

Severino explained that while students may not be forced to assist directly in abortion-related activities, it is “still disheartening to see a Catholic school offering a platform for an organization that is diametrically opposed to the Church on abortion, contraception, and religious liberty.”

She explained that the “language of the course description may sound potentially neutral, but the content is almost certainly not.”

The National Women’s Law Center “has been active in promoting and defending the HHS contraception/abortifacient mandate,” Severino said, adding that the mandate “not only will increase the use of drugs that the Church teaches do violence to both women and their children, but it also is being used to force religious organizations and Catholic business owners to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients or pay crushing penalties.”

“The course description is about learning regulatory advocacy in health care, and the HHS Mandate is precisely the type of regulation the NWLC is advocating.”

“It is outrageous that Georgetown is employing a professor whose agenda is specifically focused on increasing abortions, even when that comes at the expense of religious freedom,” Severino said.

“What is key here is also that this is not an issue of a Georgetown professor whose personal beliefs do not line up with (the) Church – there are surely many of those as can be expected in a large university. But this course appears to be designed specifically to teach Georgetown students how to advocate for contraception and abortion and against religious freedom.”

Tags: Kelli Garcia, Regulatory Advocacy

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
22

Liturgical Calendar

December 22, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Sam 1: 24-28
Gospel:: Lk 1: 46-56

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14