A petition organized by a pro-family group is urging St. Norbert College in Wisconsin to cancel an address by feminist icon Gloria Steinem because of her advocacy for abortion rights.
As Greg Piper at The College Fix reports, Steinem, who is scheduled to speak at an event at the college in April, is described by the school in a press release as a “founder of the women’s movement,” an advocate for “social justice,” a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, and a “spokeswoman on issues of equality.” However, no mention is made about her advocacy for abortion.
TFP Student Action, a project of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property has organized the petition to pressure St. Norbert’s to cancel Steinem’s appearance. As of Friday afternoon, the group had collected over 14,000 of its 20,000-signature goal.
“Given that St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, is a Catholic institution, the invitation is causing confusion and scandal,” states TFP Student Action. “Pro-life students and alumni are deeply troubled by the decision which, if not canceled, will give a Catholic platform to a notorious activist who publically [sic] promotes the killing of innocent children.”
The student organization provided several of Steinem’s quotes related to her advocacy of abortion and same-sex marriage, as well as her view of religion:
In a 2011 interview with Abortion Review, she boasted about her own abortion at age 22, saying: “…it felt positive.”
“It [abortion] is supposed to make us a bad person. But I must say, I never felt that. I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be, trying to make myself feel guilty. But I never could! I think the person who said: ‘Honey, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament’ was right.”
On another occasion, speaking at a pro-abortion fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, Steinem said: “There is no organization in this country or the world that is more important than Planned Parenthood.” (NJ.com, Sept. 17, 2011)
More recently, she stated: “Approximately one in three women in this country needs an abortion at some time in her life. It should be a part of reproductive rights.” (The Washington Post, Nov. 19, 2013)
Gloria Steinem and same-sex “marriage”: In addition to actively supporting the Human Rights Campaign, the Los Angeles Times printed this: “Gloria Steinem called the fight for same-sex marriage inseparable from the pro-choice and feminist movement. ‘We are talking about the right of all individuals to form committed, loving, nurturing relationships,’ she said.” (Los Angeles Times, June 17, 1996)
Gloria Steinem and religion: “Religion is politics in the sky. When God looks like the ruling class, we’re in deep (expletive).” (Ms Magazine, Sept. 29, 2010)
Steiner’s appearance is planned during a week-long residency at the college by public intellectual bell hooks, who will speak about her work on “the theology of love and radical hospitality,” “community building,” “racial justice,” and other themes.
Steinem and hooks are scheduled to participate in a dialogue together on April 21.
The press release also states that St. Norbert “is the only small liberal arts college honored” to host hooks, who has been “heralded as a leading public intellectual by The Atlantic Monthly, as well as one of Utne Reader‘s ‘100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life.'”
“I find the invitation to have Ms. Gloria Steinem speak at St. Norbert College to be offensive on many levels,” said St. Norbert College alumna Andrea Erickson. “The work and writings of Ms. Steinem are antithetical to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church: to uphold the most basic right of all humans–the right to life; and to uphold the dignity of the Sacrament of Marriage between one man and one woman.”
Similarly, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told Breitbart News, “St. Norbert College has no business inviting Gloria Steinem, who once compared abortion to a sacrament, to speak on their campus.”
“Having Ms. Steinem speak on campus is a direct assault to the core teachings of the Catholic Church that hold abortion to be a grave evil. I hope St. Norbert College does not go the way of the University of Notre Dame and invite one of the most pro-abortion public figures in the country to their campus,” Hawkins added. “They should instead be training their students to more aptly defend their faith and grow as men and women who protect the most innocent among us.”