Christian university cuts ties to Planned Parenthood

Whitworth University, a Christian university in Spokane, Washington, has officially cut its ties with Planned Parenthood.

The school’s Students for Life chapter brought the issue to light last year, protesting the inclusion of Planned Parenthood as a “community partner” with which students could complete accredited internships.

[RELATED: Pro-life students challenge Christian school’s cozy ties to PP]

University President Beck Taylor announced the change in a campus-wide email Tuesday, according to an SFL press release.

“I recently instructed the Dornsife Center for Community Engagement not to renew...the only formal partnership the university currently has with Planned Parenthood,” Taylor stated. “At the end of the current academic year, Whitworth will no longer offer credit-bearing service-learning placements or internships with the organization.”

Noting that Planned Parenthood is a politically polarizing organization, Taylor said he ultimately concluded that it was necessary to end the relationship, lest Whitworth be seen as taking sides on the issue.

[RELATED: Eight Catholic schools cut ties with Planned Parenthood]

“The idea that a Christian university would partner with an organization that provides, among other things, abortion-related services is understandably difficult for some to reconcile. For others, this decision will be seen as a discouraging statement on Whitworth’s willingness to support an organization that provides important access to many health-related services to women and communities,” he explained. “Given the prominent place that Planned Parenthood holds in our nation’s discourse on issues of freedom of choice and sanctity of life, I have decided that Whitworth’s relationship with the organization, even as limited and tangential as it currently is and has been, sends a confusing signal to many of our constituencies...Being connected to an organization like Planned Parenthood sends the unintended message to many that Whitworth has taken a side in this social and political debate.”

Taylor took care to point out, however, that the decision “does not signal a departure from Whitworth’s commitment to promote gender equity and inclusion,” nor was it “meant to quash academic freedom” or free expression.

[RELATED: Pro-life students accosted, again, at Ohio University]

“The school deserves credit for cutting Planned Parenthood from their campus community and providing an example of a Christian university making an attempt to educate and support students, rather than send them to the nation’s largest abortion provider,” Kristan Hawkins, president of the national SFL organization, said in a statement provided to Campus Reform.

“The email reflects the current nature of the college campus environment, where abortion advocates don’t think twice about offending pro-life students, vandalizing their property, or threatening them on social media,” she elaborated. “But we are so proud of our pro-life students, who face adversity with courage and resolve every day and never back down from defending preborn lives and the women betrayed by Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.”

Campus Reform reached out to Whitworth University for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AutumnDawnPrice