Professor Jerry A. Coyne, professor of Ecology and Evolution at The University of Chicago, wrote one of the nastiest anti-Catholic diatribes I’ve read in a while; painting the Church as barbaric, sexist, and medieval and accusing it for torturing women. And then because he was still feeling it, he compared the Church to the most evilest of organizations in his estimation – The National Rifle Association.
Insert gasp here.
And The New Republic saw nothing wrong with this and decided to publish it.
The issue at hand has to do with a woman in Ireland (but not a citizen there) who wanted to abort her child but was refused even after she threatened suicide. She even went on a hunger strike and in order to protect her and the child she was forcibly hydrated. At 25 weeks, she ultimately consented to delivering the child.
This whole scenario conjures up images of the Catholic Inquisition: women tied to boards and tortured. This poor victim, after having been raped and forced from her native land, was then strapped down, intubated, and forced to serve as an incubator for a fetus that nobody wants—save the Catholic Church. And of course the Church had no problems with the previous law preventing all abortions, nor apparently with the present law that won’t allow abortion if a woman harbors a deformed fetus, or one produced by rape or incest. Even if the woman is suicidal or her life otherwise endangered by the pregnancy, the law’s “preserve-unborn-life” clause always offers a loophole.
Official Catholicism has long been left in the dust by society’s opinions about women’s rights. This case has made palpably clear the Church’s barbarity and lack of concern for the well-being of pregnant women at the expense of Church doctrine. The people of Ireland want a liberalization of Ireland’s abortion laws, as does the United Nations, which claims that Irish law treats women like “vessels.” Only the Church, clinging to its antiquated view of “unborn human life,” objects.
How long can an institution continue to force a medieval morality on a country that doesn’t want it? Apparently, for many years. But it’s time for the people of Ireland to reject the retrograde and sexist mentality of Catholicism. Given the power of the Church in Ireland—similar to the power of the National Rifle Association in the U.S., which overrides the will of the people by threatening legislators with defeat—abortion reform will be slow. But even the Church must eventually bow to reason and public opinion.
No surprise that Coyne is an avowed atheist. So when Coyne says “reason and public opinion” I’m pretty sure he means “you do what I say.”