Medical school expels student for pro-life beliefs, lawsuit claims

A former University of Louisville student claims he was expelled from the medical school over his pro-life beliefs.

The university maintains a relationship with a medical center that local news reports is an abortion provider.

Austin Clark was a fourth-year medical school student at the University of Louisville before he was expelled prior to his May 2021 graduation. In his lawsuit filed against school President Neeli Bendapudi, Austin alleges that the school cut ties with him over his pro-life beliefs. 

Austin claims in the July 23 suit to have faced a litany of abusive behavior ranging from having his intelligence questioned to having his grades altered. 

Austin Clark was involved with the pro-life movement while on campus. He was on the board of the Louisville Medical School Students for Life chapter. His time at the school took a turn for the worse when he invited pro-life Evangelical pastor Alex MacFarland to speak on campus. 

MacFarland isn’t shy on his abortion views. The blog on his website has an article titled, “The Answer to the Abortion Question is Simple--It’s a life. Period.” He’s also expressed joy at the rising pro-life views among millennials. 

[RELATED: Emory workshop promotes abortion advocacy]

Clark claims the school’s administration responded by erecting several barriers to make holding the event more difficult. The administration imposed expensive security fees. Universities sometimes enact these measures to discourage groups from bringing conservative speakers to campus. The situation became so bad that Clark tapped the Alliance Defending Freedom to help make sure the event could be held. 

Speaking with Campus Reform, Kristi Hamrick, Chief Media and Policy Strategist for Students for Life of America, said that Clark’s experience is not rare. 

“Students for Life of America knows from experience that students’ free speech rights are too often not respected. We hope Austin gets his day in court to make his case,” Hamrick stated.

According to Clark, his experience in the medical school deteriorated so dramatically that he developed depression and mental health decline. He claims that he endured a series of increasingly escalating confrontations with faculty within the medical school. 

He said that faculty called him “stupid” and asked whether his brain “was working.” Clark then claims he told the faculty member “you are not going to talk to me that way” and called him “the worst preceptor I have ever had.” 

Clark claims that his instructor, Dr. Thomas Neely, would not allow him to sit in his office and that he had to ask questions through an open door while standing outside. 

Clark believes that the faculty’s negative opinions of his abortion views caused them to change his grades. He claims that they failed him on an exam that he passed through his objective numerical score.

He claims he was forced to sign a professionalism agreement that left him with the options of either taking a medical leave or potential dismissal after a hearing with the Student Promotions Committee.

[RELATED: Nearly all Americans oppose late-term abortion, UC survey finds]

In a press release from Students for Life of America, Clark elaborated on his experience, “They are saying that I was being unprofessional, but all I’ve done is to be a vocal pro-life student, standing up to bullies,” Clark said. 

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Louisville for comment, but they declined citing pending litigation.

The University of Louisville does have official ties to abortion providers, local news outlet WDRB reports. The university maintains an official relationship with nearby EMW Women’s Medical Center, which provides women with abortions. 

Campus Reform reached out to Austin and Neely for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.