As one who believes that, as Feminists for Life puts it, "women deserve better than abortion" (not to mention the millions of unborn children who are aborted every year), I find it ironic that Professor Carole Joffe's efforts to promote the continued practice of this violent act against women and children should be celebrated as service to the public. The Academic Senate's recognition of Joffe also violates the university's commitment to political neutrality.
Joffe, who received a 2005-06 Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award, is known for her ardent support of abortion rights. Per her nomination letter, Joffe's "enormous contributions to women's reproductive health issues" include pro bono work for Planned Parenthood, Physicians for Choice and the National Abortion Foundation, a professional association of abortion providers, for which she served as a director for six years.
Her book, Doctors of Conscience, celebrates physicians who conduct abortions and strives to assure "a future for legal abortion." She has participated in the production of training materials on early abortion methods, including a video, for primary care physicians.
Past recipients of this award, such as professors Jeff Mount, Tom Cahill and Dan Sperling, are known for the impartiality and balance of their efforts in the service of the public interest. In contrast, Joffe's nominators boast, "She has used her academic research to shape progressive public and medical policy as well as medical practice."
I hope the Academic Senate will return to its practice of recognizing true public service informed by impartial scholarship and leave the advancement of political agendas to other bodies.
Janet Krovoza, assistant dean for development, College of Engineering