Students for Life of America’s (SFLA) Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement investigated all 767 colleges and universities affiliated with Christian churches in the United States, finding that 76, or about one in ten Christian schools, maintained some type of relationship with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.
Planned Parenthood remains the nation’s largest abortion vendor. According to the organization’s own 2022 annual report, Planned Parenthood ended the lives of 374,155 preborn children through abortion violence last year. Considering location data proving Planned Parenthood targets college students with 87% of its locations within five miles or less of a college campus, it is no surprise that Planned Parenthood has also crept its way into faith-based schools.
However, what should surprise us is the growing number of Christian school administrations, health centers, and professors willing to compromise biblical values by promoting a known abortion vendor (such as Planned Parenthood) or by making direct, public statements in support of abortion in the wake of Roe’s reversal. According to new findings, Christian schools have increased their support of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry by 10% since 2021. With Christian administrators losing sight of the biblical principles that formed the institutions they were hired to safeguard, schools across the nation have misled students, families, and donors.
The goal of SFLA’s Christian Schools Project is to raise public awareness of Christian schools maintaining relationships with Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby in order to encourage infracting schools to restore their Christian values by cutting ties with the industry of death. This tactic is working as at the time of publication, eight schools have already removed all or some connection they had with Planned Parenthood or the abortion industry, thanks to interventions and awareness facilitated by the Christian Schools Project.
- Christian schools’ support for abortion increased by 10% since 2021 in the wake of Roe‘s reversal.
- One in ten Christian schools maintained some type of relationship with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.
- Nearly half of the infractions overall were Christian schools referring students to Planned Parenthood as a “health resource.”
- Eight Christian schools removed ties to the abortion industry after initial contact with researchers. 42 Christian schools have also made life-affirming improvements since the conclusion of the 2021 study.
Research was spearheaded by SFLA’s Strategic Initiatives Team throughout 2023.
For the scope of this research, a “Christian school” was defined as an institution of higher education affiliated with a Christ-centered denomination and publicly claiming historical Christian faith in its founding. SFLA identified 767 colleges and universities in the United States that aligned with this definition. To compile this list, SFLA referred to established online resources such as Niche’s 2024 Best Christian Colleges in America and USCCB’s Catalog of Catholic Colleges and Universities in the United States.
Additionally, each institution’s mission statement and historical background were reviewed to ensure their identification with Christian values before inclusion in the final list of 767 Christian colleges and universities.
The number of Christian schools on the 2023 list is slightly fewer than the 2021 report due to school closures and some schools’ dropping their faith affiliation.
To assess a school’s connection to Planned Parenthood or the abortion industry in general, researchers conducted a thorough analysis of the school’s website. Once a connection to Planned Parenthood or abortion was identified, a time-stamped screenshot was captured and saved to prove the location and type of infraction. It was also researched and documented whether the school had connections to nonviolent abortion alternatives, such as local pregnancy resource centers.
Final research was confirmed October 2023, and outreach was conducted between November 1— November 30, 2023. Respective school administrations or related academic departments were contacted via phone and email. Our team informed them of the identified infractions, in case they were unaware, and requested the removal of the offending content.
Infractions ranged from a Christian school’s relationship with Planned Parenthood or other independent abortion vendors to official abortion support directly from the university administration. The following infraction categories considered:
- An internship opportunity that recommended or credited work at Planned Parenthood or another local abortion vendor actively promoted on the school’s website.
- Planned Parenthood or another local abortion vendor publicized as a health resource where students could receive services.
- Planned Parenthood identified as a class resource.
- Events hosting Planned Parenthood or an abortion industry leader from 2020 onward advertised on the school’s website.
- Planned Parenthood or another local abortion vendor discussed/published as a volunteer opportunity.
- Planned Parenthood touted as a future career opportunity.
- The school administration or an academic department (i.e., “Women and Gender Studies”) published direct support of Planned Parenthood or abortion in general.
Christian schools that engaged in the above forms of relationship with the abortion industry were given infractions and assigned a grade ranging from “A+” to “F” based on the quantity of infractions. Repeated instances of the same type of infraction resulted in separate infraction credit. For example, if there were two different places a pro-abortion internship was promoted, this counted as two separate infractions.
Positively, if no infractions were found (resulting in an “A” grade), schools were considered for a promotion to “A+” if the institution also referred pregnant and parenting students to a local Pregnancy Help Center commonly found within the Standing With You directory (www.StandingWithYou.org).
|A school with zero infractions and a relationship with a local, life-affirming Pregnancy Help Center.
|A school with zero infractions but no proof of relationship with a local, life-affirming Pregnancy Help Center.
|A school with one infraction.
|A school with two infractions.
|A school with three infractions.
|A school with four or more infractions.
A+ Promotion Opportunity
The research team also emailed all “A” schools to request the promotion of pregnant and parenting student resources to the student body, enabling schools to later join the prestigious “A+ Christian Schools List” and be eligible for a scholarship award. To be awarded the “A+ Christian School Award,” these Christian colleges were responsible for providing web-based evidence of at least one of the following life-affirming criteria:
- Promotion of their local Pregnancy Help Center as a resource on their website.
- Promotion of job and volunteer opportunities at Pregnancy Help Centers.
- Establishment of scholarships for pregnant and parenting students.
- Partnership with Standing With You, a SFLA initiative to further support their pregnant and parenting students, by promoting www.standingwithyou.org/ as a pregnancy resource.
1 in 10 Christian colleges and universities maintained some type of relationship with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.
Out of the 767 total Christian schools investigated, 76 schools were initially found to have ties with Planned Parenthood or support abortion. The schools shared a combined total of 185 infractions. See Appendix A for the full list of Christian schools with remaining infractions.
Figure 1. Depicts the breakdown of final grades received.
Of those 76 initially infracted schools, 16 received a “F” grade (having four or more infractions), 16 received a “D” grade (for three infractions), 19 received a “C” grade (for two infractions), and the remaining 25 schools received a “B” grade (for one infraction). “F” grade schools made no life-affirming changes between 2021 and 2023, with some institutions doubling-down on their support of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. Some examples can be found below in emailed statements from institution representatives to IPA researchers:
- Moravian College: “I have repeatedly replied to your organization. We have told you we will continue to support the internship at Planned Parenthood for our students because it is important for them to best understand the world they are entering.”
- Earlham College: “The Religious Society of Friends [Quakers] does not have a unified stance on abortion, rather it is seen as a matter of individual conscience.”
- Pacific Lutheran University: “We’re not interested – we market Planned Parenthood’s contraception and women’s services.”
In addition, other institution representatives from schools such as Trinity University and Chaminade University of Honolulu hung up mid-conversation while discussing the Christian Schools Project with IPA researchers.
The remaining 691 Christian schools received an A or A+ rating because there were no infractions found on their websites. Within that segment, 45 were promoted to an A+ for listing their local Pregnancy Help Center on their school website. See Appendix A for a full list of A and A+ schools.
Christian schools’ most common infraction was listing Planned Parenthood as a “health resource.”
At Christian colleges and universities, the most frequent infraction was Planned Parenthood appearing as a student resource. This was almost half (45%) of all documented infractions, as Christian colleges and universities promoted Planned Parenthood to students by listing the abortion vendor as a reliable and trusted health resource either from the school health center’s landing page directly or within a linked document of local resources.
Figure 2. Depicts the frequency of the specific type of Planned Parenthood infractions among the group of infraction Christian schools.
For example, Oklahoma City University (OCU), a Methodist campus in Oklahoma, lists Planned Parenthood a total of five times throughout their website as the abortion giant is linked as a “Health & Wellness” resource, covering categories such as Sexual Health, Women’s Health, Local Hospitals and Physicians, and Sexually Transmitted Disease help.
Not only should Christian schools like OCU avoid referring students to Planned Parenthood due to the organization’s defiance of biblical principles, but there is no actual need for Planned Parenthood to be listed in the first place. A quick search on the StandingWithYou.org resource directory shows that more than ten life-affirming resources exist within Oklahoma City, offering not only the same services as Planned Parenthood (without selling abortions) but many additional for low to no cost.
Standing With You aims to provide a reliable and vetted list of life-affirming resources to the general public and especially for pregnant and parenting students. The Standing With You online directory includes local, state, and national organizations ready to assist pregnant and parenting women in all circumstances so that they feel supported without promoting or committing abortion violence like Planned Parenthood. OCU was provided this information but has not replied or made changes as of the December 8, 2023 deadline.
The second most common infraction was schools listing Planned Parenthood as a recommended or school-accredited internship opportunity within the last two academic calendar years. This was almost a quarter (24%) of all infractions as many Christian colleges and universities listed internships at Planned Parenthood on their website, signaling to students that it is a trusted organization and suitable career option.
For example, Moravian College, a school of the Moravian Church in Pennsylvania, lists Planned Parenthood as an acceptable internship within their Psychology Department and has defended this relationship via email communication by saying that the abortion giant “will help [students] understand the world they are entering,” despite knowing Planned Parenthood sells more abortions than any other vendor in the country.
Understandably, interacting with abortion-minded patients would be a formative experience for a Psychology undergraduate, but the opportunity-cost of getting such experience should never be our Christian values. This would be akin to preparing law enforcement for the criminal landscape by suggesting they “intern” for drug lords or join a gang. We do not recommend working alongside those who commit violence in order to understand it.
Instead, we encourage Moravian College and others to promote internships at their local Pregnancy Help Center. These centers serve the same clients in difficult circumstances surrounding an unplanned pregnancy with one important distinction: their solutions for patients do not include the violence of abortion.
Abortion support has increased at Christian Schools by 10%.
With the historical reversal of Roe, the subject of abortion was launched into America’s public dialogue at levels likely not seen since 1973. Those “in the middle” were pulled out of their silence, and many forfeited unquestioned abortion support amid hostile environments. Thus, 2022 also became a decision year for Christian schools: to apply or not to apply God’s truth on the value of life. In 2021, the conclusion of our Christian school outreach found 69 schools in total having infractions by the end of that year. However, following the Dobbs decision in 2022, schools with infractions skyrocketed back up to 76 in total throughout the following year, increasing by nearly 10%.
An additional infraction category of “General Abortion Support Statement” was required during this year’s research as some school administrations and department heads took to their school’s website to comment on and condemn the reversal of Roe.
For example, Holy Cross College, a Jesuit Catholic college in Massachusetts, was awarded an A+ grade in 2021; however, following the reversal of Roe, their Women and Gender Studies department used the school’s website to “condemn” the decision, thereby demonstrating their commitment to abortion over biblical values.
Further contributing to the increase in Christian schools’ abortion support in this year’s research, some schools also reacted to the Dobbs decision by hosting events discussing the “state of reproductive rights” with pro-abortion speakers like Planned Parenthood. For example, Bethany College, a Disciples of Christ school in West Virginia, historically received an “A” grade, but the school hosted this type of event in 2023 which decreased their score.
Thankfully, it seems as though Bethany College applied our recommendation of removing the historical record of this event so that Planned Parenthood would not be considered a reputable organization. Researchers concluded this during a second round of research after contacting the school when they found the link to this past event is no longer accessible and seems to have been removed even when searching from within the school website.
Baptist, Pentecostal, Non-Denominational, and Wesleyan traditions maintained no relationships with the abortion industry throughout all schools within their denomination.
SFLA’s research investigated schools across the spectrum of Christian faith, from Catholic schools to schools affiliated with many Protestant denominations, including Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and several others. Two data points were analyzed within the infraction findings: (1) the share of infractions based upon religious affiliation within the total number of infractions, (2) the share of infractions within each denomination’s total schools.
When examining the share of infractions based upon religious affiliation within the total number of infractions, it was found that Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian affiliations made up the largest segments of infractions at almost one in five each, followed closely by Lutheran affiliations. Since there is not an equal number of schools within each denomination, further analysis was done to find the share of infractions within each denomination’s total schools. This was an important determination because while Catholic schools represented 14 infractions (19% of all total infractions), this made up only about five percent of schools within their denomination due to the number of Catholic schools in the country greatly outnumbering any other religious affiliated school.
Conversely, religious affiliations that did not make up a large share of the total infractions did make up a large share within their own denomination. For example, the Church of Christ had only three schools with infractions but with having only 14 total schools within that denomination, that meant more than one-fifth of their schools have a connection to Planned Parenthood.
Considering both data points, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian schools continue to make up an outsized share of infracted schools. These denominations not only make up about one-fifth each of the total infractions, but within their own religious affiliation, each have a large share of schools with infractions (with some as high as almost one-third of the schools within that denomination). Our research found:
- 19% of Methodist schools have infractions.
- 26% of Presbyterian schools have infractions.
- 30% of Lutheran schools have infractions.
Christian schools can make changes before it is too late.
2023 Christian School Victories
Thankfully, several schools responded positively to our outreach this year, swiftly removing some or all instances of an infraction. Sometimes, this resulted in schools increasing back up to an A grade, ridding their entire website of all Planned Parenthood and abortion references. In other cases, schools with multiple infractions only removed one out of several references, thereby resulting in an improved grade and noted “victory,” but not an A grade.
While some schools replied to our team’s outreach and confirmed the removal of an infraction, other schools appeared to stealthily remove a reference. Upon the deadline provided to schools to have the offending references removed, our team re-researched all infraction links to see if they were still active. Within the victories below, we have included schools that did not directly communicate with our team but instead chose to remove the infraction ahead of this publication without notice. Those schools have been contacted to confirm the links were removed in response to our outreach, but they are credited as a victory below with a star (*) to indicate they have not yet replied to calls or emails.
- Baylor University (Texas) – Increased from a B grade to an A grade. Removed Planned Parenthood as a job/internship opportunity from their website.
- Bethany College (West Virginia)* – Increased from a B grade to an A grade. Removed a previous Planned Parenthood event from their website.
- Chapman University (California)* – Increased from a D grade to a C grade. Removed Planned Parenthood as a job opportunity from their website
- College of St. Benedict (Minnesota) – Increased from a B grade to an A grade. Removed Planned Parenthood as a Resource for “LGBTQ + Students” through Project Embrace from their website.
- Mount St. Mary College (New York) – Increased from a C grade to an A grade. Removed previous Planned Parenthood events from their website
- Notre Dame of Maryland University (Maryland) – increased from a B grade to an A grade. Removed a previous Planned Parenthood event from their website.
- University of Portland (Oregon) – Increased from a B grade to an A grade. Removed Planned Parenthood as a health resource from their website.
- Wittenberg University (Ohio)* – No increase due to four remaining infractions. Removed a previous Planned Parenthood event from their website.
At this critical time in history, when women and children need life-affirming pregnancy and parenting help, an alarming number of Christian schools have abandoned the biblical value of the sanctity of life in favor of propping up the abortion industry. Supporting and facilitating abortions is neither helping our neighbor nor training up the next generation in the way they should go. Instead, Christian schools which perpetuate the acceptance of abortion violence negatively impact human rights for years to come.
This is why the Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement, powered by the Pro-Life Generation, has sought to magnify these issues through the Christian Schools Project in order to see them resolved. In addition, if the pro-life movement wishes to change the entire landscape of higher education in the United States to become life-affirming, it is essential to start with religious schools that already should align with the Christian belief that all life is valuable and worthy of protection