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Christian colleges increased support for Planned Parenthood, abortion after Roe reversal: study

Demonstrators gather during a protest vigil sponsored by The Christian Defense Coalition and Priests for Life outside of the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Carol Whitehill Moses Center on January 17, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
Demonstrators gather during a protest vigil sponsored by The Christian Defense Coalition and Priests for Life outside of the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Carol Whitehill Moses Center on January 17, 2019 in Washington, D.C. | Getty Images/Zach Gibson

Christian colleges' support for abortion and Planned Parenthood increased by 10% since 2021, and one in 10 have maintained some relationship with America's largest abortion provider, according to a study released by a national pro-life group. 

Students for Life of America's Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement recently assessed 767 colleges and universities affiliated with Christian churches in the United States as part of the pro-life group's "Christian Schools Project."

SFLA's Strategic Initiatives Team spearheaded the research. Outreach for the study was conducted between Nov. 1 and 30. The list of schools was compiled using Niche's 2024 Best Christian Colleges in America and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Catalog of Catholic Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

According to the survey SFLA provided to The Christian Post, 76 of the schools investigated, or around 10%, had ties to Planned Parenthood or supported abortion. Those schools shared a combined total of 185 "infractions."

The study defined "infractions" as actions by university officials that supported abortion, including internship opportunities with Planned Parenthood, publicizing abortion vendors as a health resource and hosting Planned Parenthood events.

When broken down by denomination, the study found that Methodist schools accounted for 22% of the total infractions, Presbyterian schools accounted for 20%, Catholic schools 18% and Lutheran schools 16%. 

A grading scale also rewarded schools with no infractions and ties to a pro-life pregnancy center with an A+, while schools with four or more infractions received an F. 

The study found that Christian school support for abortion appears to have increased by 10% since its 2021 study.

The U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade in June 2022 appears to have forced those who once considered themselves "in the middle" on the issue to take a stance, the researchers note.

For this year's research, SFLA added the infraction category of "General Abortion Support Statement" to assess schools that released a statement condemning the Supreme Court's decision. 

"Thus, 2022 also became a decision year for Christian schools: to apply or not to apply God's truth on the value of life," the report states. "In 2021, the conclusion of our Christian school outreach found 69 schools in total having infractions by the end of that year."

"However, following the Dobbs decision in 2022, schools with infractions skyrocketed back up to 76 in total throughout the following year, increasing by nearly 10%," it continued. 

The report notes that Holy Cross College, a Jesuit college in Massachusetts, was awarded an A+ grade in 2021. But after Roe's reversal, the school's Women and Gender Studies department condemned the decision on the school's website, "thereby demonstrating their commitment to abortion over biblical values."

Another example the study provided is the West Virginia-based Bethany College, a Disciples of Christ school that once received an A grade from SFLA. The college's score decreased after it hosted a series of events featuring Planned Parenthood speakers to discuss the "state of reproductive rights."

But as the study noted, Bethany College appears to have removed its records of the event, per SFLA's recommendation. 

About 45% of all infractions at Christian colleges and universities were the listing of Planned Parenthood as a health resource. The second most common infraction was schools listing Planned Parenthood as a school-accredited internship opportunity within the last two academic years. 

The Monrovian College, a school of the Monrovian Church in Pennsylvania, was one of the schools that listed Planned Parenthood as a potential internship within its psychology department. According to the study, the college has defended its relationship with the abortion vendor via email communications, stating that it "'will help [students] understand the world they are entering."

"Especially at Christmas time, it's disappointing to see so many faith-affiliated institutions fail to teach the students about the irreplaceable value of every life, born and preborn," SFLA President Kristan Hawkins said in a statement provided to CP.

"Cultural change needs to begin with the church and with those who say they are dedicated to teaching enduring values." 

The study also lists Oklahoma City University (OCU), a Methodist campus, as promoting Planned Parenthood on its website five times as a "Health & Wellness" resource. 

"Not only should Christian schools like OCU avoid referring students to Planned Parenthood due to the organization's defiance of biblical principles, but there is no actual need for Planned Parenthood to be listed in the first place," the report reads. "A quick search on the StandingWithYou.org resource directory shows that more than ten life-affirming resources exist within Oklahoma City, offering not only the same services as Planned Parenthood (without selling abortions) but many additional for low to no cost."

According to a report by SFLA's Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement released in March, 87.6% of Planned Parenthood's 563 facilities in operation are within 5 miles of a college campus. This demonstrates an increase from a similar report released around a decade ago, which found that 79% of Planned Parenthood facilities were located within 5 miles of a college campus.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: samantha.kamman@christianpost.com. Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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