A Catholic bishop in the United States is taking exception to the unrestricted praise the world is heaping on deceased South African president and civil rights leader Nelson Mandela, calling his signing a bill to legalize unlimited abortions “shameful.”
The bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, Bishop Thomas Tobin, criticized “Mandela’s “shameful promotion of abortion in South Africa.”
“Many people around the world and in our own nation are mourning the loss of former South African President Nelson Mandela,” Bishop Tobin commented in a statement. “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.'”
Tobin continues: “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.”
In their statement at the time of his death, the bishops of South Africa also pointed out that not all of Mandela’s legacy is positive.
“As with all people he made mistakes and had shortcomings — we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (cf. Romans 3:23),” wrote Archbishop Stephen Brislin, president of the country’s episcopal conference. “Thus, we commend him to the Lord and pray that he will rest in peace. May perpetual light shine on him.”
John Smeaton, of the British pro-life group SPUC, offers this documentation about Mandela’s pro-abortion views. He writes as a Catholic but the comments are instructive of all pro-lifers to praise the good things Mandela did but to keep in mind he did not respect human life before birth.
“May God rest Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa who died last night,” he said. “But it is absolutely vital that Catholic leaders do not allow themselves to become respecters of persons, swept away by personality cults. Catholic leaders have a duty to stand up to public figures with anti-life and anti-family records, however praiseworthy their record may be on other issues. The sanctity of human life and the dignity of the family are the foundation and guarantee of all other human rights.”
Smeaton provided to LifeNews the following history of Mandel’s record on abortion:
Nelson Mandela and abortion
Mr Mandela has been quoted as saying on abortion: “Women have the right to decide what they want to do with their bodies.”
In 1996, Mandela signed into law the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill, which permits abortion on demand. SPUC’s pro-life colleagues in South Africa tells us that the bill was introduced into the South African parliament by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Mr Mandela’s health minister.
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In addition, the wording of the new South African constitution, signed by Mr Mandela in 1996, had made the legalisation of abortion on demand a mere formality. Mr Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) has a strong ideological committment to abortion, with the ANC Women’s League strongly behind the legalisation of abortion on demand.
The ANC has for decades been in a close political and electoral alliance with the South African Communist Party (SACP) (Mr Mandela pictured with SACP leader Joe Slovo) which also has a strong ideological committment to abortion.