Alongside her full-time job as a lawyer advocating for abortion rights, Stephanie Toti also teaches courses about ‘comparative reproductive rights’ and legal writing at the Catholic university.
When Stephanie Toti arrives before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2, the adjunct law professor at Fordham University School of Law will argue a landmark case that could decide what power states have to regulate abortion facilities.
However, the Jesuit-run university will likely not be breaking out the champagne glasses to celebrate the critical role Toti, a Fordham alumna, is playing in U.S. legal history. Toti is lead counsel in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole for her firm, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which specializes in advocating for legal abortion rights and is representing Texas abortion providers.
The Register reached out to Fordham University about Toti’s role at the university but did not receive a response by publication time. Apparently, Toti’s work with CRR was not unknown to Fordham: Her profile on the law school’s website shows she has worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights from 2006 to the present. The same page indicates that Toti has been teaching “Legal Writing for LLMs” at Fordham from 2008 to the present.
According to Toti’s profile at CRR, she also “teaches courses on comparative reproductive rights and legal writing” at Fordham (an assertion confirmed by an online listing of spring 2015 Fordham law school courses). In addition to highlighting her role as lead counsel in Women’s Health v. Cole, her profile also highlights Toti’s role in challenging a number of abortion regulation laws in Oklahoma, along with assisting the city of Baltimore in defending “a first-in-the-nation ordinance regulating the deceptive practices of crisis-pregnancy centers.”
The Register reached out to Toti but received no response by deadline. But according to a Feb. 3 article published by Law.com, Toti became a staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights in 2006 because “she decided to use her skills to advance the cause of women’s equality. That cause, she said, is inextricably entwined today with abortion rights.”
Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization dedicated to the promotion of Catholic identity in academia, told the Register that Toti’s principal employment at a firm dedicated to advancing legal abortion is cause for concern.
“Toti’s work at the Center for Reproductive Rights opposes Catholic teaching, attacks human dignity and threatens innocent lives,” he said. “That’s directly opposite of the witness that an educator at a Catholic university should provide to students, in both words and action.”
Toti’s status as senior staff attorney in a firm dedicated to the advancement of legal abortion constitutes what Catholic moral theologians call “formal cooperation in evil.”
“Abortion is certainly one of the most grave of immoral actions, and there is no question that her support [for it] is clearly formal toward that type of action,” John DiCamillo, an ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, told the Register.
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SOURCE: National Catholic Register
Peter Jesserer Smith