It was a whirl-wind road trip for the Students for Life team as we drove from Manassas, VA to Chestnut Hill, MA and back again within 28 hours. On Monday, we joined Live Action; the Catholic Action League; Operation Rescue of Boston; the Ancient Order of Hibernians; Tradition, Family and Property; and others outside the Boston College graduation ceremony to protest Ireland’s 1st pro-abortion Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, giving the commencement address and receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the Catholic institution.
Irish Catholics as well as students from all over the North East gathered together in prayer and to be a public witness in standing up for women, showing the value and worth of all children in the womb, and voicing support for keeping Ireland abortion-free – something BC should have done itself. Father Neil Xavier O’Donoghue, born in Ireland and ordained in New Jersey, led us in prayer and saying the Rosary as we stood in public witness on the sidewalk outside the entrance to the graduation ceremonies. We got honks and shouts of support from graduates and families entering but three graduating seniors came by for two minutes to hold signs for choice in front of us on their way in.
We had a prime spot because Prime Minister Kenny and his motorcade had to drive by our demonstration. We were lined up on the sidewalk over 50 feet, so we know he saw our signs and got the message that there are people in the United States who know the truth about his abortion agenda.
Our press conference was a great success and the event was picked up in the media in the Associated Press, UPI, Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Wicked Local Newton, BostonInno, and the local NBC and CBS affiliates. We got international coverage from the Irish Times, Irish Independent (also here and here), Irish Examiner, RTE News, and BBC.
We even had an impromptu speaker to lead off our press conference. Dr. and Mrs. Daley were on their way to their son’s graduation, and they stopped by to talk to us and hold signs in protest. Although they honored their son by attending the commencement, they were upset about Kenny being honored at the Catholic school and wanted to register their opposition.
During the press conference, Kristan Hawkins, President of SFLA, said, “Abortion is the greatest human rights battle happening in Ireland right now, and Kenny is the face of the pro-abortion movement in Ireland. Because of this, Boston College, a Catholic University, should have rescinded their invitation of Kenny as soon as they learned about his pro-abortion stance. You know when Planned Parenthood praises your choice of commencement speaker, he’s probably not pro-life. Honoring a man who will be ushering in the genocide of millions of preborn babies and destruction of families in just a few months conveys the message that Boston College supports his stance, one that is in direct violation of Catholic Church doctrine.”
Kate Bryan, Communications Director at Live Action, spoke about her 2 1/2 years living in Ireland and her passion for keeping the country pro-life. Theo Purington, a post abortive father, spoke movingly about how his college girlfriend was pressured to abort by BC’s health center. Anna Atiyeh spoke, representing her brother who is graduating BC but refusing to attend commencement, about her family’s disagreements with BC over the years.
Other speakers included C.J. Doyle, Executive Director of the Catholic Action League; Bill Cotter, President of Operation Rescue Boston; Jack Falvey, a BC alum and lecturer; Irish-born John Byrne who is active with St. Cecilia’s Pro-Life Ministry in Rockaway, NJ. A whole community came together to chastise BC for failing to live up to its pro-life values and to defend Irish preborn children.
Inside the commencement, Kenny did not mention his pro-abortion stance. But he did insult the graduates by calling them “the Obama Generation.”
Prime Minister Kenny: We are NOT the Obama Generation, we are the Pro-Life Generation!
We oppose Prime Minister Enda Kenny because he and his governing party, Fine Gael, have gone against their election promises and introduced abortion legislation that would legalize abortion in Ireland under the guise of preventing the suicide of pregnant women. As there is no gestational age limit to the measure, it would mean abortion on demand, by threat of suicide, through all nine months of pregnancy. In addition, Catholic hospitals would be forced to comply with the proposed law as it does not contain conscience clause protections for physicians, nurses, and other health care workers.
We would like to thank the thousands of people from across the globe who took action on our website NotAtBC.com to voice their outrage over the decision and send messages of support to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who has been under attack by pro-abortion forces for boycotting the event. It is shameful that BC’s President, Rev. William Leahy, did not rescind the school’s invitation to Prime Minister Kenny, despite the outcry from the public and its Catholic leaders. Because Boston College wouldn’t stand for the preborn at its graduation ceremonies, we did.