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Students promote the pro-life message at Georgetown on the day of Cecile Richards talk.Students for Life of America

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards received a standing ovation at Georgetown University Wednesday, when she delivered a lecture at the Jesuit school despite opposition from the archbishop of Washington and pro-life students.  

The Hoya, Georgetown’s student newspaper, tweeted that the president and vice president of H*yas for Choice, Georgetown’s pro-abortion student group that is not officially recognized by the university, introduced Richards.

Richards praised H*yas for Choice and the Lecture Fund in her speech, during which she also praised abortion activist Wendy Davis, birth control crusader Sandra Fluke, and the millennial generation for what she claimed was its belief in “LGBT rights” and “reproductive rights.”

Richards only used the word “abortion” four times in her speech, which she posted on the website Medium, and repeated the claim that Planned Parenthood is focused on providing “health care.”  Her speech heavily focused on contraception as necessary for women’s progress.


“Fully one-third of the wage gains women have made since the 60s are solely because of access to birth control,” Richards said.

The Georgetown Lecture Fund’s sponsorship of the event was “a way for them to skirt the system” that doesn’t allow H*yas for Choice to host speakers, Georgetown senior Amber Athey, who attended and live-tweeted Richards’ talk, told LifeSiteNews.

“Considering it’s a GU Lecture Fund sponsored event, and H*yas for Choice is not a recognized group by the university, and the…argument for why this event was being allowed to happen was because it was sponsored by Lecture Fund and not H*yas for Choice…it almost seems like a way to work around that issue of H*yas for Choice not being able to host speakers,” said Athey.

Richards spoke for 30 minutes, participated in a moderated session for about 20 minutes, and answered audience questions for 10 minutes.

The moderators asked the audience to give a round of applause for abortion providers and for Texas opening more abortion facilities, Athey said.

Athey called the moderated session “horribly biased” and noted that the moderators discussed “How they were so excited [Richards] was endorsing Hillary Clinton, how she’s involved in the campaign, and nothing about the potential moral objections to abortion.”


“From my understanding, the moderators were supposed to be unbiased [and] non-partisan, and GU Lecture Fund as an organization is non-partisan, but both of the moderators were very clearly pro-choice,” Athey continued. “One of them said during the event that God is pro-choice and that she’s a devout Catholic but she believes God is pro-choice.”

The Hoya tweeted that Richards said it’s necessary to expand access to family planning services—which would include abortion—in order for women to be able to make as much money as men.

Athey was one of four students who asked Richards a question.

“I asked her why she paints pro-lifers as extremists considering the majority of Americans believe life begins at conception,” said Athey.  Richards “said that Planned Parenthood is all about providing choice and didn’t really answer anything about why she paints pro-lifers as extremists.”


“Her position is that life begins at birth,” said Athey, referencing an infamous interview during which Richards said her children’s lives began when she delivered them.  “I was wondering why is that not considered extreme but ‘life begins at conception’ is?  It doesn’t make any sense.”

Athey said that Richards was “incredibly rude” to a student representing Georgetown Right to Life who asked Richards why Planned Parenthood promotes abortion over adoption.

“Cecile basically belittled her” and “didn’t answer her actual questions,” Athey said.

The president of the Lecture Fund tweeted that it had been “unequivocally one of the best days of my life” and that she had woken up “feeling like it’s Christmas morning” because Richards was coming to Georgetown and “we’re making history!”

Students for Life of America hosted their We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood display on campus and protested outside the building where Richards spoke.

Georgetown police asked Ruby Nicdao, an independent pro-life activist, to stop showing an image of an abortion victim on campus.

“You can be on the campus, but not with that banner,” they told her.

On Wednesday H*yas for Choice passed out contraception and Planned Parenthood material in a “free speech zone” on campus and asked students to write “thank-you” letters to abortionists.

Georgetown Right to Life also planted one flag for every baby aborted daily in the United States on campus.  The group stayed with the display all day and spoke with students and passers-by about abortion.  Georgetown Right to Life also hosted former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, who spoke just hours after her former boss.