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College students pray during an April 21 University Mass for Life at Epiphany Catholic Church in Washington, one day after Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, gave a speech at nearby Georgetown University at the invitation of a stude

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Ex-PP official tells students about abortion’s reality; cardinal decries ‘choice’ rhetoric
April 26th, 2016
By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON – Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood employee of the year who has become an outspoken pro-life advocate, told Georgetown University students April 20 that even the most strident abortion provider can have a change of heart.

“I’m standing in front of you today as a testament to the power of conversion. No one is beyond the power of conversion. No one is beyond the power of Christ,” Johnson said.

Her address – attended by nearly 100 people – came just hours after a controversial lecture on the Jesuit campus by Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood.

Noting that the president of the largest abortion provider was invited to speak at the Catholic university, Johnson said, “I keep thinking, I keep believing and I have faith that one day instead of me standing here speaking on defending the sanctity of human life, it will be Cecile Richards standing here.”

Michael Khan, a sophomore at Georgetown and president of the university’s right-to-life chapter, criticized Georgetown University’s defense of having Richards deliver a lecture on campus as an issue of academic freedom and free speech. “Cecile Richards is not an academic. She is an activist,” he told the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Washington archdiocese. “Even if you believe in open dialogue (on the issue of abortion), she brings nothing substantive to the table. I am disappointed in Georgetown’s leadership for allowing her (Richards) to speak unchallenged.”

One day after Richards’ speech, Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl celebrated a University Mass for Life for college students at a nearby Catholic church, encouraging them to stand up for God’s gift of human life.

In his homily at the April 21 Mass at Epiphany Catholic Church, Cardinal Wuerl warned about a powerful politically correct movement and environment “all around us. ... It says to set aside such things as the value of human life and substitute the politically correct position that actually you should be free to choose to kill the unborn child. But the word of God says to us, ‘Don’t conform yourself to this age.’”

He encouraged students not to be “deceived by the politically correct rhetoric that uses words to hide true meaning. Those in favor of killing the unborn child often speak of ‘the product of conception’ as opposed to the child in the womb. They speak about ‘facilitating the conclusion of the life cycle’ instead of ‘assisting a suicide.’ So it is with that buzz word ‘choice.’ When you use the word ‘choice,’ you have to complete the sentence. What is it you choose?”

He noted that students aren’t free to smoke in the university cafeteria or park wherever they want without consequences.

“Choice only makes sense when you complete the sentence,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “The word ‘choice’ is a smoke screen behind which those killing unborn children take refuge. Every chance you get, blow that smoke away, so everyone knows what it is we’re talking about.”

From April 28, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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