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Cecile Richards, former president of Planned ParenthoodClaire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

SAN RAFAEL, California, April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A formerly Catholic university near San Francisco is hosting a speech and book signing by Cecile Richards, the outgoing President of Planned Parenthood, tomorrow.

Dominican University, which began as a Catholic school, now considers itself “non-denominational” but has “Catholic tradition,” a representative of their admissions office told LifeSiteNews.

The college “has not been a recognized Catholic University for many years,” Mike Brown, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, told LifeSiteNews.

“Labels can be deceitful,” Patrick Reilly, President of the Cardinal Newman Society, told LifeSiteNews. “We've seen time and again that without total commitment, Catholic identity can become a mask to hide confusion, dissent, and immorality.”

Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion company. Richards, who is resigning next month, led the organization as it oversaw 3.5 million abortions from 2006 to 2018. During her tenure as its president, Richards had to do damage control after undercover investigations from Live Action and the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) revealed Planned Parenthood’s willingness to cover up child sex abuse, aid-and-abet sex traffickers, and profit from selling body parts of aborted babies.

Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America, said it was “extremely disappointing” that a once-Catholic university would “highlight an event headed by Cecile Richards, someone who personally directed Planned Parenthood while abortion vendors she controlled ended the lives of 3 [and a half] million preborn babies.”

She said “at the very least,” Dominican University should have also invited a pro-life speaker to talk about Richards’ legacy and the deadly harm abortion causes babies and their moms.

“As a Catholic myself, I hope that leaders in our institutions will present the truth about not only what the church teaches, but what women have experienced,” Hawkins told LifeSiteNews.

Dominican University was run by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, the order whose K-12 school San Domenico School removed 162 statues of Catholic saints to be more “inclusive” in 2017. That school has since stopped calling itself Catholic.

According to Reilly, Dominican University hasn’t been listed in the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Official Catholic Directory since 2012. It’s not a member of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities but is listed on that organization’s map of Catholic institutions.

Its website says Dominican sisters remain on its faculty and serve as board members.

“There's no place at any academic institution – Catholic or otherwise – for advocacy that promotes killing innocent people, especially when the speaker is personally responsible for thousands of deaths,” Reilly said. “This is appalling, and academic freedom is not an adequate defense.”

The campus ministry page on its website says: “Dominican University of California Campus Ministry works with the University community to help individuals develop and strengthen their spiritual lives. Using the Dominican Ideals: Study, Reflection, Community, and Service as our foundation, Campus Ministry engages with our community in an ecumenical spirit. Our graduates leave Dominican spiritually stronger and ready to make a difference in our world.”

The school has a number of Catholic Masses available to students, including a Mass of the Holy Spirit in which “students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Board of Trustee members” participate. Its heads of school were all Dominican Sisters of San Rafael until 1980.

Richards’ speech is hosted by the school’s Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS) and Book Passage, a left-wing Bay Area bookstore.

Richards will be discussing her new book, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead – My Life Story. Attendees of the $40 event will receive a signed copy of it.

“Ms. Richards, daughter of late Texas Governor Ann Richards, has been president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund since 2006,” Dominican University’s announcement of the event says. “She was a featured speaker at the Women’s March on Washington last year, and a ‘heroine of the resistance’ (Vogue) who has spent a lifetime fighting for social justice and women’s rights.”

“The speaker series, a cooperative effort between Dominican’s Institute for Leadership Studies and Book Passage, features some of the country’s leading figures from the worlds of business, politics, entertainment, academia, and literature,” the university’s website continues. “The series has entertained and educated thousands of Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area residents for the past 14 years.”

It lists a past speaker as pro-abortion Maria Shriver, the former First Lady of California.

Dominican University’s instagram feed is scattered with photos of its students engaging in LGBT activism.

At press time, Dominican University had not responded to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews about why it is hosting the abortion executive.