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US Catholic university bars campus workshop that ‘destigmatizes’ abortion methods

Georgetown would not allow H*yas for Choice's demonstration using a papaya, but only after complaints from outside groups.
Tue Jan 28, 2020 - 6:21 pm EST
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A Loyola University med student demonstrates an abortion technique on a papaya.

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Georgetown University has barred a student group from offering an abortion workshop on campus that demonstrated how to perform an abortion. 

Unofficial campus club H*yas for Choice had reserved a room at the Catholic university to present their “Papaya Workshop,” a pro-abortion presentation meant to minimize the gravity of a suction-aspiration abortion. 

During similar presentations, women have been invited to use surgical tools, including a manual vacuum aspirator, to simulate a first-trimester abortion on a papaya fruit. According to online magazine Vice.com, the workshop aims to “demystify and destigmatize” abortion.   

After complaints were lodged by TFP Student Action, Georgetown told H*yas for Choice that they could not hold their January 22 event on campus. 

In a statement to online student newspaper The College Fix, a Georgetown spokesperson indicated that abortion demonstrations do not align with its Catholic identity. 

“Consistent with our Catholic and Jesuit identity, Georgetown University does not support or allow for the demonstration or training of abortion procedures in any classroom or reservable space on our campus,” the spokesperson said.   

On its Facebook page, H*yas for Choice protested the decision. 

“Georgetown revoked our room reservation for this event and told us explicitly we are unable to hold our Papaya workshop in any university classroom,” the group stated.  

“We see this action as a violation of Georgetown's Free Speech Policy and their recent timing as a deliberate action to prevent us from providing information about reproductive health to the student body.”

H*yas for Choice pledged to move the event to the headquarters of the sex-education foundation Advocates for Youth. 

TFP Student Action’s short petition to Dr. John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, has attracted more than 19,000 signatures. Dated January 20, it urged DeGoia to cancel the  “Papaya Workshop” abortion simulation.

“This class is a direct attack against the 5th Commandment of the Law of God and has no place on a Catholic campus,” it stated.  

On January 23, TFP Student Action thanked its supporters. However, the group’s director voiced his dismay to The College Fix that it took the TFP to stop the event. John Ritchie told The College Fix that if “TFP Student Action hadn’t sounded the alarm bells, I think the disgraceful abortion class would have happened.”

According to The College Fix, a “Papaya Workshop” event took place in 2016 at the Catholic Loyola University in Chicago. 

Fiorella Nash, a pro-life bioethicist and the author of The Abolition of Woman: How Radical Feminism is Betraying Women, expressed her disgust for the “Papaya Workshop” to LifeSiteNews. 

“A baby is not a piece of fruit,” she said via social media. 

“Such an exercise gives no sense whatsoever of the horrific reality of abortion as experienced by both mothers and practitioners.”

According to its website, H*yas for Choice is “the pro-choice, sex-positive, reproductive justice organization at Georgetown University.” 

“We are an anti-racist, queer-affirming organization working to provide direct sexual and reproductive health services and improve access to resources for people of all genders (sic) on Georgetown's campus,” the group states. 

By its own admission, it provides free “safer sex supplies,” among them condoms and so-called “emergency contraception,” on Georgetown’s campus. H*yas for Choice states that it is the “only source for comprehensive information on sexual health, pregnancy, and abortion services.”

It also states that it receives “no endorsement or support” from either Georgetown University or its Jesuit founders and operates “as a financially independent organization that relies on donations.” 

The group uses asterisk in “H*ya” because they are not permitted to use the trademarked term “Hoya”, a word referencing both the Georgetown “Hoyas” athletic teams and Georgetown students themselves.  

In 2018, the Georgetown student newspaper published an editorial recommending that “H*yas for Choice” be recognized by the university. 

LifeSiteNews reached out to both Georgetown University and H*yas for Choice but has not yet received a response from either organization.


  abortion, catholic, fiorella nash, georgetown university, h*yas for choice, jesuit universities, john degioia, papaya, tfp student action

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