Bishop Thomas Tobin, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Rhode Island, has issued a statement critical of the late Nelson Mandela.
Mandela died last week after a prolonged battle with a lung infection. He was 95.
In a statement, Tobin said there is much to admire about the South African leader, particularly his personal courage and stalwart defense of human rights.
But Tobin takes issue with Mandela’s support of abortion rights. Tobin said this aspect of Mandela’s life is, “not at all praiseworthy.”
In 1996 Mandela signed into law a bill that legalized abortion. Previously, it had been banned in South Africa except in cases of rape, incest, the life of the mother or a severe handicap.
Full Statement by Bishop Thomas Tobin:
“Many people around the world and in our own nation are mourning the loss of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Indeed there is much to admire in Mandela’s long life and public service, particularly his personal courage and his stalwart defense of human rights.
There is part of President Mandela’s legacy, however, that is not at all praiseworthy, namely his shameful promotion of abortion in South Africa. In 1996 Mandela promoted and signed into law the “Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill” that, according to the New York Times, “replaced one of the world’s toughest abortion laws with one of the most liberal.”
While we pray for the peaceful repose of President Mandela’s immortal soul and the forgiveness of his sins, we can only regret that his noble defense of human dignity did not include the youngest members of our human family, unborn children.”
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