A fourth-year medical student has filed a lawsuit against 14 people associated with the the University of Louisville School of Medicine, including President Neeli Bendapudi. Austin Clark was just months away from graduation when he was expelled, a decision that he believes was retaliation for his outspoken pro-life beliefs.
In an interview with Students for Life of America, Clark said the harassment began in 2018, when he tried to invite Alex McFarland to give a pro-life presentation on behalf of Medical Students For Life — of which Clark was a member — and the Christian Medical and Dental Association. From then until he was expelled in 2020, Clark said he faced regular punishments and opposition from university staff.
“They are saying I was being unprofessional, but all I’ve done is to be a vocal pro-life student, standing up to bullies,” he said.
Interestingly, the university seems to have strong connections to the abortion industry, according to Students for Life of America. Dr. Ernest Marshall has been a professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine for nearly 40 years — and he also owns EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the last abortion facility still open in the state of Kentucky. There have also been allegations of an improper relationship between the university and EMW Women’s Surgical Center, particularly through the school’s “Ryan Residency,” which trains medical students to commit abortions. Additionally, all of Kentucky’s abortions are reportedly committed by professors at the university.
A spokesperson for the Kentucky Family Foundation, Martin Cothran, said documents suggest “the only remaining abortion clinic in Kentucky is being run as an official or quasi-official arm of the University of Louisville’s Medical School,” and that, “Not only is U of L involved in the abortion clinic’s activities, but the clinic operates, for all practical purposes, as an extension of the Medical School’s program.”
Clark claims that over the course of two years, his professors at the University of Louisville retaliated against him for being pro-life, calling him “stupid” and asking if his “brain was working.” He claims he was subjected to abuse, and says his grades were even changed. He also says he was forced to sign a “professionalism contract” that other students had not been required to sign. In his lawsuit, Clark alleges that he was “was physically harassed and bullied” as well. Clark admitted to telling a professor, Dr. Thomas Neely, “you are not going to treat me that way” and “you are the worst preceptor I have ever had.” Neely reportedly later “refused to allow Clark to meet with him in his office and required him to sit in a chair in the hallway and speak through an open doorway.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Clark’s grades were arbitrarily changed to make him fail, even though he claims to have “objectively” passed. He also says that he was forced to choose between facing potential dismissal after a meeting with the Student Promotions Committee, or take a medical leave if he refused to sign a professionalism agreement.
Clark said the stress of the university’s actions caused him to suffer from depression, and he is asking a judge to restore his medical school record to his previous passing grades so that he can graduate and become a pro-life doctor, as planned.
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