All the doctors wore photogenic white lab coats. Here, too, a small crucifix hung on the back wall. Solis chatted with this class, too.
Soon, the group crossed the street to Father O'Connell Hall, where Solis held a press conference. She was introduced by Garvey, which could have been awkward.
Garvey had just published a powerful op-ed in The Washington Post attacking regulations the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed under Obamacare that would require all private health plans to cover sterilizations and all contraceptives approved by the FDA -- including those that cause abortions.
"If we comply, as the law requires, we will be helping our students do things that we teach them, in our classes and in our sacraments, are sinful -- sometimes gravely so," wrote Garvey. "It seems to us that a proper respect for religious liberty would warrant an exemption for our university and other institutions like it."
The regulation would also force individual lay Catholics -- mandated by Obamacare to buy health insurance -- to either break the law or act against their consciences.
Garvey did not mention this while giving Solis a graceful introduction.
Solis said her department was issuing $159 million in grants. "The grants will provide education, training and job-placement assistance related to high-growth fields in which employers are currently using the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program to hire foreign workers, such as advanced manufacturing, energy, health care and information technology," explained a Labor Department press release.
Catholic University will receive about $4.2 million of this money. After her address, I asked Solis a question, prefaced with references to the proposed Obamacare regulation and Garvey's op-ed.
"A week ago, the Catholic bishops asked Catholics to contact the administration and indicate their opposition to this, and they described it as 'an unprecedented attack on religious liberty,'" I asked. "Do you agree with the Catholic bishops that this regulation is an unprecedented attack on religious liberty?"
Now, the outspoken Hilda Solis, who called for overturning the partial-birth abortion ban and electing an entirely "pro-choice" government, was not to be found.
"I'm here today to talk about our investments in furthering the education and research and to help patients. And that's why I'm here," Solis told me, evading the question. "So, I'm not privy to that discussion. I'm here to announce our grants, and I'm very excited about the partnership we have with Catholic University and private industry."
Catholic University Associate Vice President for Public Affairs Victor Nakas told me, "President Garvey has expressed his views on this topic, so our position is clear."
I asked Nakas why the university had invited a pro-abortion political figure to campus.
"The secretary is here to announce a grant that has to do with health-and-information technology education," he said. "We are not honoring her. We are not providing a platform for her to espouse views that are contrary to the mission of the church. We invited her for a specific purpose."
By defending Obamacare, serving in the Obama Cabinet and not opposing the sterilization-and-contraception regulation, Solis has taken her stand -- even if she will not speak it out loud.
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