Christian University in Washington Cuts Ties with Planned Parenthood

A Christian university in Washington has cut ties with Planned Parenthood because it doesn't want to be seen as taking sides in the national abortion debate.

(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)A Christian university in Washington has cut its relationship with Planned Parenthood.

Whitworth University, of Spokane, Washington, has officially ended its relationship with Planned Parenthood and will not offer any more credit-bearing internships or service-learning placements with the organization, Campus Reform reported.

"I recently instructed the Dornsife Center for Community Engagement not to renew...the only formal partnership the university currently has with Planned Parenthood," University President Beck Taylor said, according to a press release.

University president Taylor said ending the relationship was a necessary choice that had to be made as Planned Parenthood is a highly polarizing organization with a very prominent place in the nation's discourse in the issues of choice and the sanctity of life. 

"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 said.

The decision is seen as a big win for pro-life student group Students For Life. Last year, the SFL chapter at Whitworth petitioned the university to cut their relationship with the organization.

Chapter vice president James Silberman wrote in an op-ed that Whitworth has "a responsibility to take a stand on the issue of abortion and Planned Parenthood." He then called on the university to end its relationship with Planned Parenthood, remove flyers referring pregnant students to the organization, and to publicly repudiate "the bloodshed" it promotes through abortion.

Silberman told Campus Reform at the time that he was not asking Whitworth to become a Bible college. He does, however, emphasize that while the university doesn't want to take sides in any political issue, Planned Parenthood is "not just any political issue."

"A Christian institution refusing to acknowledge the inherent value of human life is moral cowardice, and their actions which appear to support this violence [are] heinous," Silberman said.

With Whitworth cutting its ties to the organization, SFL says it has taken a big step in the right direction.

"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," said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.