Print Article | Email Article | Write To Us

Georgetown Law v. the Catholic Church?

A new class at Georgetown's law school offers students the chance to work with an abortion rights advocacy group that opposes legal challenges to the HHS mandate.

Monday, October 28, 2013 7:36 PM Comments (10)

If you think Georgetown Law School is a place where crusading students--Catholic or not-- learn how to fight for human dignity, or for constitutional liberties, like the free exercise of religion, think again.

The pontifically-erected university offers a class entitled, 
"Regulatory Advocacy: Women and the Affordable Care Act."  The "practicum" part of the course offers students an opportunity to 

work with the National Women's Law Center to develop projects that will assist in the organization's regulatory advocacy efforts. Students will have the opportunity to participate in strategy meetings and conference calls with the partner organization and other coalition members.

What sort of "projects" reflect the center's special brand of advocacy? 

Well, the ceneter opposes the work of crisis pregnancy centers, and is critical of mergers between Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals that result in outcomes that protect the right to life of unborn children. And its  senior legal counsel, Kelli Garcia, is teaching the Georgetown Law School course, a shocking fact first reported by the Cardinal Newman Society.

There is a media report on the center's website, entitled "Do Bishops Run Your Hospital?" which quotes Garcia, the professor for this class, accusing the U.S. bishops of enforcing ethical rules that threaten the lives of female patients with ectopic pregnencies.

The LWLC has filed amicus briefs that oppose lawsuits filed by for-profit employers who oppose the law on moral grounds.  States the center:

These cases involve suits brought under the First Amendment to the US Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. These cases will decide whether a boss’s religious beliefs trump women’s health and women’s access to the health care they need.    

LWLC has a right to pursue its agenda. A Catholic university also has the right to uphold church  teachings that affirm and defend the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. There are plenty of secular law schools where the well-credentialed Garcia would be very welcome. But why Georgetown?

Now, with Bill Blatty's  canon law petition to have the Holy See require Georgetown to implement Ex Corde Ecclesia or lose the right to call itself Catholic, the law school's new class, "Regulatory Advocacy: Women and the Affordable Care Act," can be added to the trove of evidence documenting the university's drift away from its religious legacy. Its founders were Jesuits whose English brother- priests were once hunted down and extermined by a brutal state that refused to let Catholics be "God's servant" first. 

Georgetown is a pontifically–erected university, as listed in the Annuario Pontificio. And as one source alleged in an email to me:  "This class is presumptively sponsored by the Holy See." 

Filed under

About Joan Desmond

Joan Desmond
  • Get the RSS feed
Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in Menlo Park, Ca, in the San Francisco Archdiocese.