Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota has withdrawn an invitation to a commencement speaker because of her views on legalized abortion.
State Senator Nancy Turbak-Berry was scheduled to deliver the commencement address at the college on Saturday. According to the Associated Press, she said she was told on Friday that she could not speak there because of her views on abortion.
She had accepted the invitation to speak in January.
College officials reportedly said they had made an “administrative decision” to withdraw the invitation because her pro-abortion views were incompatible with Catholic teaching.
“I was told I was not welcome to speak because I do not share the Catholic Church’s position on the proper role of government in decisions about reproduction,” Turbak-Berry said. “While not an especially defining issue for me, I have always been candid about my view that government should have a limited role in what I consider to be very personal decisions.”
Bishop of Sioux Falls Paul Swain replaced Turbak-Berry as the speaker.
“The college made an administrative decision to withdraw the invitation,” said JoEllen Lindner, Presentation’s vice-president for enrollment and student retention services.
Patrick J. Reilly, President of the Cardinal Newman Society, praised the decision, saying in a press release, “Presentation College has honored its Catholic identity and has demonstrated respect for the dignity of human life by reversing its selection of a vocal abortion advocate for public honor. Faithful Catholic students, parents and alumni across the country are grateful to [Presentation College President] Sister Lorraine Hale for withdrawing Senator Berry's invitation.”
More than 1,000 people attended the commencement for the 171-member graduating class.