Christian university will sever ties with Planned Parenthood

Whitworth University, a Christian liberal arts university in Spokane, Wash., will sever its ties to Planned Parenthood, Campus Reform reported Wednesday.

The university’s Students for Life chapter objected last fall to Planned Parenthood’s status as a “community partner” of Whitworth, which has an enrollment of 3,000 and is affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The partnership allowed university students to intern at the organization for school credit.

In an email to students Tuesday, which was obtained by Students for Life, Whitworth President Beck Taylor wrote that he instructed the school “not to renew” its “limited partnership” with Planned Parenthood.

“At the end of the current academic year, Whitworth will no longer offer credit-bearing service-learning placements or internships with the organization,” Taylor wrote, adding:

For some, this will be a welcome decision. The idea that a Christian university would partner with an organization that provides, among other things, abortion-related services is understandably difficult for some to reconcile. For others, this decision will be seen as a discouraging statement on Whitworth’s willingness to support an organization that provides important access to many health-related services to women and communities.

Given the prominent place that Planned Parenthood holds in our nation’s discourse on issues of freedom of choice and sanctity of life, I have decided that Whitworth’s relationship with the organization, even as limited and tangential as it currently is and has been, sends a confusing signal to many of our constituencies. My hope is that Whitworth will always support both women and gender-related issues and affirm God’s love for all life. Being connected to an organization like Planned Parenthood sends the unintended message to many that Whitworth has taken a side in this social and political debate.

Taylor said that “people on all sides of the debate will continue to be able to advocate for and discuss their perspectives and viewpoints.” He supports having both pro-life and pro-choice student groups on campus.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement that Whitworth University “deserves credit for cutting Planned Parenthood from their campus community and providing an example of a Christian university making an attempt to educate and support students, rather than send them to the nation’s largest abortion provider.”

A spokesperson for Whitworth did not immediately return TheBlaze’s request for comment on the email.