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Hoyas Whip the Irish

As a son of Georgetown University, I laughed at the pathetic Irish of Notre Dame when they made news [1] for putting on their board Roxanne Martino, who gave a measly $27,000 to EMILY’s List [2], a group that works to elect pro-abortion politicians. That’s a trifle by Georgetown’s standards.

All sarcasm aside, the Notre Dame story recalls a scene from a few years back, during my White House days. At a meeting on other subjects, the retired head of a prominent “ecclesial community” mentioned a new international group he was forming. He wanted to have a prestigious Catholic onboard, but one must, you know, be careful. So the gentleman was pleased he had persuaded Jack DeGioia, president of Georgetown, to join: “There won’t be any trouble from him.”


I winced and thought back to my own years on the Hilltop, when I briefly crossed paths with then-grad student DeGioia. He was serving, believe it or not, as teaching assistant to Hadley Arkes, the professor whose powerful moral teachings – based on reason, not revelation – led my younger, atheist self to oppose abortion.

Which only makes things sadder today, because one rather doubts that DeGioia will ever be able to plead invincible ignorance regarding the Church’s moral teachings – teachings which receive scant respect from DeGioia’s supposedly “Catholic and Jesuit [3]” university.

My favorite example on this score is Melissa Bradley, class of ’89, now serving on the  Board of Governors [4] of the Alumni Association. While Ms. Martino of Notre Dame merely contributed to EMILY’s List, Ms. Bradley actually serves on the board [5] of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which last year alone poured over $2 million into the election of candidates fighting for same-sex marriage and, of course, abortion. (The Victory Fund explicitly requires [6] every candidate it endorses to “demonstrate support of federal, state or local efforts to safeguard privacy and reproductive rights.”)

And that’s just one of Ms. Bradley’s achievements in her spare time. At her day job, she is CEO of the Tides Foundation, a public charity that donates millions to support what Pope John Paul II called the “culture of death.” Among their 2010 grants [7] alone, one finds NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation [8] ($39,385), Center for Reproductive Rights [9] ($12,500), California Latinas for Reproductive Justice [10] ($440,000), Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice [11] ($322,500), etc. etc.

Georgetown: Still a city set upon a hill

Planned Parenthood’s empire especially benefits from Tides’ dollars. Again counting only 2010 contributions, $50,000 went to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund [12], the empire’s electoral and advocacy arm, with an additional $441,500 going to local, national, and international Planned Parenthood groups.

Because Tides is largely used as a pass-through for other funders, it is true that outside donors, not Ms. Bradley, originally chose many of those pro-abortion grant recipients. Yet Tides remains proud of its pro-abortion work. Its most recent available annual report is from 2008 (when Ms. Bradley served on Tides’ board but was not its CEO). There Tides brags that it “granted $5.1 million to LGBT issues including more than $1.1 million to support educational efforts in support of marriage equality in California.” It also “granted $9.6 million to women’s rights and reproductive justice including successful efforts to stop anti-choice ballot measures in Colorado, Oregon, and California.”

In short, one doubts Ms. Bradley would try the hoary obfuscation of “personally opposed but” on the question of abortion.

These millions of dollars she wields in the trenches of America’s battles over innocent children and traditional marriage don’t bother Georgetown. The school not only has her on the Alumni Association board, and on the LGBTQ Initiative Working Group [13]; they recently celebrated her at a big John Carroll Weekend in San Francisco [14]; the alumni magazine featured a fawning interview [15] in its “Career Spotlight” series to celebrate her elevation to CEO of Tides; and the school gave her its Reed Alumni Award [16], noting that she lives “with her partner/wife, Allessandra,” also a Hoya, and their six children.

Not that Ms. Bradley is unusual. At the same John Carroll Weekend another alumna was featured, Winnie Stachelberg, whom the school magazine [17] describes as living “with her partner, Vicki Phillips, and their two boys. After years working for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading LGBT civil rights organization, she now works for the Center for American Progress as senior vice president for external affairs.” (Don’t miss the Center’s More than a Choice [18] report for the latest in how to fight for abortion rights while also working for “equitable” access to in vitro fertilization; “more contraceptive options for men”; the right to marry regardless of “sex, sexuality, or gender identity”; and much more.)

Of course, Georgetown’s law school outdoes the rest of the university in its work for the culture of death, what with professors who win landmark Supreme Court victories [19] for Planned Parenthood and a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program that pays fellows to work [20] at Planned Parenthood’s Public Policy Law and Litigation Department.

Many more examples could be added, but let’s close with another Georgetown story. Recently a young lady called me from Georgetown, probably an undergrad tasked with money-begging as part of her work/study financial aid package. I told her I won’t give the school money until it’s Catholic again. She snorted, “I know what you mean” and hung up.

Scott Walter is a senior fellow at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The views expressed are his own.