Kerrey decides not to speak at Jesuit college's ceremonies

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Kerrey decides not to speak at Jesuit college's ceremonies
FILE - In this March 8, 2012 file photo, Nebraska Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Bob Kerrey speaks in Omaha, Neb. The Nebraska Republican Party says a Jesuit college in Omaha should rescind its invitation asking former Sen. Kerrey to speak at its commencement, citing his position on abortion. The state party's executive director, Ryan Hamilton, released a statement Thursday, April 11, 2019, saying that Creighton University should find a different commencement speaker and "take a stand for their pro-life values."(AP Photo/Nati Harnik,File)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey says he has decided not to address graduates and their families at a Jesuit college in Omaha because he doesn’t want his support for abortion rights to be a distraction.

Kerrey told Creighton University’s president, the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, in a letter that the May 18 commencement “should be a moment of celebration and not disrupted by politics.”

The state Republican Party’s executive director, Ryan Hamilton, said last week that Creighton should find a different speaker and “take a stand for their pro-life values.”

Kerrey says he supports Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

Hendrickson told the campus that he appreciated Kerry’s desire not to shift the focus away from students.

Kerrey also served as Nebraska’s governor.