Pro-Abortion ‘Guerrilla Girls’ Invited by Catholic College to Discuss Feminism
December 1, 2015 | By Kimberly Scharfenberger | Cardinal Newman Society
Stonehill College, a Catholic college in Easton, Mass., recently hosted the radical feminist group Guerrilla Girls Broadband on campus for a discussion on feminism and sexual assault despite the group’s advocacy for abortion, which Feminist for Life President Serrin Foster told The Cardinal Newman Society is “a betrayal of feminism.”
“The Guerrilla Girls Broadband were almost unable to come to Stonehill because of a disagreement over the College’s conservative views and the Broads’ (as they call themselves) belief in the right to abortion access,” Stonehill College’s student newspaper The Summit reported. The article did not mention how the disagreement was resolved.
Adding to the controversy, the event was promoted by the College in one of its official newsletters:
Next week, the Moore Center for Gender Equity is bringing Guerrilla Girls Broadband to campus for a number of events, which will be posted in the College Calendar. Want to read up on the group’s history before their visit? The Library has the film Women Artists: the other side of the picture, as well as articles such as “Transgressive Techniques of the Guerrilla Girls” and “Guerrilla Girls and Guerrilla Girls Broadband: Inside Story.”
The Guerrilla Girls Broadband website, which the College linked to, driving students to access the site, advocates for abortion in the header, menu and footer on the homepage, and contains imagery on the homepage that could be considered pornographic.
Martin McGovern, director of communications and media relations at Stonehill College, defended the College’s hosting of Guerrilla Girls Broadband in comments to The Cardinal Newman Society.
“At no point during their visit, which incorporated two main events, did members of the troupe discuss or promote abortion,” said McGovern. “As we agreed prior to the visit, their conversations centered on the issue of sexual assault and those discussions occurred within an academic context.
“As a Catholic college, Stonehill supports the church’s teaching on abortion. We also seek to ensure that academic discourse is free and open to a broad range of intellectual, cultural, religious, and political perspectives,” he continued.
Speaking critically of the College’s decision to host the pro-abortion group for a discussion about feminism, Foster, whose organization is “dedicated to systematically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion,” told the Newman Society that “abortion is a betrayal of feminism.”
“Pornography, stalking, interpersonal violence, sexual assault and abortions — these issues are all connected and are all violence against women,” said Foster.
Guerrilla Girls Broadband is an extension of Guerrilla Girls, a group of anonymous women who often wear gorilla masks at protests and rallies and specialize in producing posters and other printed media to promote feminism and abortion. One such poster found on the group’s website states the following:
Guerrilla Girls demand a return to traditional values on abortion. Before the mid-19th century, abortion in the first few months of pregnancy was legal. Even the Catholic Church did not forbid it until 1869.
“We carried this poster in the prochoice march on Washington, D.C., urging right-to-lifers — and the Catholic Church — to repent their sinful, modern ideas,” the website explains.
Guerrilla Girls Broadband focuses specifically on online media to advance their cause.
Their website has a section dedicated to abortion, which features a timeline of abortion advocacy historical events and an abortion map detailing abortion providers in each state.
Last spring, one of the Guerrilla Girls Broadband members reportedly spoke to a Stonehill faculty member about another visit to the College, but the group was disinvited because of the abortion map feature on their website, according to the Summit.
Even though Guerrilla Girls Broadband’s abortion advocacy conflicts with Stonehill College’s Catholic mission, “some faculty and students pushed for these events,” the Summit reported.
Foster said this kind of situation is prevalent on many college campuses, even at Catholic colleges. “Abortion is widely accepted among professors, which in turns influences students in the classroom,” she said.
The Summit reported that Candice Smith Corby, director of Stonehill College’s Carole Calo Gallery, was the group’s “point person of contact” and “thought the Broadband could help discuss the issue of sexual assault on campus.”
But the connection between sexual assault and abortion is often misunderstood by mainstream feminism, Foster explained. Too often, groups that push for sexual assault awareness and an end to domestic violence also support abortion. This is due to “a lack of understanding of what feminism is,” said Foster, and an inability to see that abortion is also violence against women.
Moreover, women are often abused and coerced into abortions. “Many of these groups don’t understand the connection between assault and abortion, especially when considering how often young women are abusively coerced into abortions,” said Foster.
Yet many Catholic colleges continue to host speakers who support abortion under the guise of discussing other issues such as sexual assault and domestic abuse.
In April, St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., hosted radical pro-abortion advocate Gloria Steinem to participate in a “dialogue” about feminism and domestic abuse. The College attempted to assuage concerns about Steinem’s pro-abortion beliefs by claiming that she would merely be headlining a “discussion of the history of the women’s movement, especially as it may be understood in the context of domestic violence.”
But the actual video recording of the night revealed that Steinem barely touched on the topic of domestic violence and within a few minutes of being introduced, launched into her support of abortion.
The Steinem event at St. Norbert College is a key example of why Catholic colleges inevitably suffer when speakers or organizations advocating for abortion are invited to speak, even if they allegedly will not be speaking on abortion. Too often, the college ends up inadvertently providing a platform for viewpoints gravely contrary to Church teaching.
Catholic colleges can resist this trend by ensuring the sanctity of life is embraced on campus, but this comes with significant challenges, said Foster.
Today’s students “have never known a day without legal abortion” and many campuses are filled with “professors and administrators who support abortion.” There is a pervasive “university culture which embraces abortion and thinks this is the best society can do for women,” but that mentality should be resisted, Foster urged.
Abortion “has been the social experiment on women that has cost countless women and children their lives,” said Foster. Catholic colleges have the potential to be at the forefront of a culture “where womanhood is celebrated, where mothers are supported, where fatherhood is honored and where every child is cherished, no matter the circumstances of their conception.”
ut to do that, Catholic colleges have to work at incorporating pro-life counseling on campus and encouraging a campus culture that values life and womanhood, said Foster.