Thursday, May 1, 2008

University of St. Thomas: More Controversy

University of St. Thomas - St. Paul, MN Campus

Tara Borton, a first year law student at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, thought Planned Parenthood was a fine place to fulfill the public service requirement for graduation. She was set to start there on May 12.

But then she ran smack into abortion politics and Catholic doctrine. She’s also ignited a bit of firestorm at St. Thomas.

St. Thomas is a Catholic university, and the church has an issue with Planned Parenthood because it is a leader on abortion rights. So the student committee that oversees public service choices grudgingly gave her permission work with Planned Parenthood as long as she stayed clear of anything related to either birth control or abortion.

Under the excuse of fulfilling Catholic doctrine, St. Thomas is once again turning its back on the important work Planned Parenthood does for the community, such as counseling rape victims. Another example of doing politics instead of doing good. But hey, what else is new?!

The fact that, nine years ago, the school denied an internship to an undergraduate student who wanted to volunteer at Planned Parenthood to help victims of acquaintance rape, says alot about the supposed moral compass of the leadership there. They claim to have a social justice mission, but somehow if a person is raped they are exempt from compassion. You don’t have to be a catholic to attend that university. People do choose it for its small class sizes and solid curriculum. If the leadership is so into catholic doctrine, how does a business school fit in? They want some of the trappings of modern society - the ones that bring in cash. But catholic doctrine kicks in when it comes to SEX. By the way, Planned Parenthood offers a multitude of services. They do regular gynecological exams for women, including pap smears, which are critical in detecting cervical cancer. How is that bad?

Each year Planned Parnthood provides millions of cancer screenings and tests and treatment for STDs, in addition to birth control to prevent pregnancies that if they occurred, may be terminated through abortion. These services are 97% of what they do. Their primary client base is low income people. Those that howl about PP’s abortion services, which comprise only 3% of the services they provide, clearly cannot see the forest for that one little tree. The law student seems to get it though. Kudos to her. I hope that if she finds out UST won’t accept it as her community service, she donates her time anyway.

St. Thomas just can't seem to keep from stirring up controversy, this is the same kind of stuff that makes me think back to May 2006 when my childhood friend, Ben Kessler, who was a St. Thomas football player and at that time was about to go to seminary, stirred up a shitload of controversy with his commencement speech.

1 comment:

Scott W said...

No different that UW system schools not allowing church volunteer time to count toward community service time for graduation.

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