SAN FRANCISCO, November 8, 2010 ( – The University of San Francisco (USF) has announced that on November 23 it plans to honor Sr. Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, whose support for the abortion-expanding healthcare overhaul was applauded by President Obama and decried by U.S. bishops as “a wound to Catholic unity.”

Keehan’s support for the Obama administration’s top domestic priority, which CHA endorsed even before a first draft was published, was acknowledged by the president and onlookers alike as a key element in the bill’s success.

USF’s office of University Ministry plans to honor Keehan at its “Stand 4 Conference” later this month. According to the University, the conference “recognizes religious and spiritual leaders whose actions symbolize a life of courage, commitment, and advocacy.” She will deliver a talk entitled “Health Care as a Social Justice Issue.”

The USF website reads: “This year we honor Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, President and CEO of the Catholic Health Association … in her letter sent to Congress representing 59,000 Catholic nuns and more than 50 heads of religious congregations and organizations she remarks, ‘health care reform is a faith mandate for life and dignity of all of our people.'”

Sr. Keehan won the support of these religious sisters for the healthcare bill in spite of the fact that the U.S. bishops urged Congress not to approve it, because the bill failed to include sufficient conscience protection provisions and left open the door to government-funded abortions.

Last May, leaders in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Bishop William Murphy and Bishop John Wester — issued a statement stating that Keehan’s support for the bill “represented a fundamental disagreement, not just with our staff as some maintain, but with the Bishops themselves. As such it has resulted in confusion and a wound to Catholic unity.”

Cardinal George even said point-blank that Sr. Keehan and her associates were “to blame” for the bill’s success.

The Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic university watchdog group, is urging USF to rescind the scheduled honor and speaking platform.

“It is unspeakable that the University of San Francisco should choose to honor someone who severely damaged pro-life efforts in this nation and undermined the express will of the U.S. bishops,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society.