Thursday, January 2, 2014

Barth Bracy's Hypocrisy

Edit: This piece ran in the Providence Journal after all!

Barth Bracy’s op-ed defending Bishop Tobin (Bishop Tobin’s critics display ignorance; December 24, 2013) quickly morphed into his usual and rather tired talking points regarding abortion. Bracy takes Rabbi Peter Stein and Reverend Amy Frenze to task because they have come to different conclusions concerning abortion, and rather than realize that good people with different opinions, backgrounds and philosophies can come to different conclusions about the difficult problem of when human life begins, Bracy assumes that his cultural opponents are betraying “an astonishing ignorance” and intimates ill intent.

Bracy believes abortion is wrong, and claims that his line of reasoning is not simply dependent on Catholic theology. However, his entire argument is steeped in Natural Law theory, which is a foundation stone of Catholic theology. This kind of disingenuous argument might fly past casual readers, but surely Bracy is aware of what he’s trying to pull here. If he is unaware, then it is Bracy, not Stein and Frenze, who is betraying “an astonishing ignorance.”

There is a wide range of opinions about the morality of abortion, but the vast majority of Americans, including a majority of Catholics, want the procedure to be safe, legal and available. The decision to give birth or terminate a pregnancy can only properly be made by the pregnant woman, in consultation with her conscience. This is not a decision to be made by the government or a church.

In the meantime, if Barth Bracy and his group truly want to reduce the number of abortions in Rhode Island, they could come out strongly for subsidized contraception (such as condoms, IUDs and birth control pills), comprehensive sex education and measures to economically empower women. All these ideas, when implemented and tested, have been proven to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

The fact that Bracy’s group can not and will not support such ideas shows that they are less concerned with preserving human life than they are with micromanaging the private lives of free American women.

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