Yale University President Says He Didn’t Make Offensive Remark on Pro-Lifers
by Steven Ertelt
June 5, 2008
New Haven, CT (LifeNews.com) — Yale University president Richard Levin says he didn’t make the offensive remark attributed to him at a recent forum former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s new religious group held. Levin reportedly compared pro-life advocates to Islamic extremists because they oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.
According to a column by Washington Post editorial writer Michael Gerson, Levin said that pro-life Americans who support the current Bush administration policy of prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortions overseas are like Saudi extremists.
"At an event designed to further mutual religious sympathy, two of the panelists — including the president of Yale University, Richard Levin — casually asserted that religious Americans who support pro-life restrictions on international family planning aid are as doctrinaire and exclusionary as Saudi extremists," Gerson explained.
Yes, in comments to the Yale Daily News, Levin says he was misquoted.
I never made any such statement nor would I, Levin told the Yale student newspaper. I said something to the effect that religious views impinge upon politics everywhere. For example, even in the U.S., the religious right has hijacked the foreign aid agenda."
But Levin’s backtracking may not help him as claiming pro-life advocates who don’t want to be forced to pay for abortions in other nations have "hijacked" American foreign policy may be seen as equally offensive.
Gerson says Blair distanced himself from the comment when reporters asked him about it following the panel discussion.
"Speaking to me after the event, Blair was patient, arguing that ‘could not be what they intended,’" Gerson said.
This flap comes on the heels of the Aliza Shvarts controversy involving her abortion "performance art."
ACTION: Tell Yale University President Richard Levin you’re not an extremist by opposing taxpayer funding of abortions. Contact him at: President’s Office, Yale University, PO BOX 208229, New Haven, CT 06520-8229, email [email protected], phone (203) 432-2550 or send a fax to (203) 432-7105.