Washington, D.C. – Speaking February 26 at the Capitol Hilton, NOW President Eleanor Smeal finally had the chance to address Catholic University Law School students. Smeal had been denied space to speak on campus twice in January due to protests from pro-life undergraduates.
In her talk, Smeal attacked the Catholic Church for its opposition to abortion and contraception, claiming that, “We are in the majority everywhere…including Catholic lay thought.”
One pro-lifer present, John Cavanaugh-O’Keefe, distributed flyers detailing the massive, and illegal, abortion programme of former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, and the pro-life views of President Corazon Aquino, whom NOW has supported. The flyer asked when NOW would grant Aquino a forum on abortion, and when Smeal would support free choice for women in China who do not want to undergo coerced abortions.
Cavanaugh-O’Keefe was told he was under arrest and hustled from the hotel by D.C. police. As he was taken past Smeal, she said, “I’m really sorry this is happening.”
Cavanaugh-O’Keefe told ALL News, “Smeal was denied a forum at Catholic University on the grounds that Catholics paid for the facilities. That was what all the fuss surrounding her speech was about. Then I was denied a forum because she had paid for the room in the hotel.”