December 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - While much of the world, including many religious leaders, are praising the late Nelson Mandela without reserve, at least one U.S. bishop has tempered his praise by calling to mind the former South African leader’s record on abortion. 

“There is part of President Mandela’s legacy, however, that is not at all praiseworthy, namely his shameful promotion of abortion in South Africa,” said Providence, RI Bishop Thomas Tobin in a statement published yesterday. 

Tobin observes that “there is much to admire in Mandela’s long life and public service, particularly his personal courage and his stalwart defense of human rights.” However, the Rhode Island bishop notes that, “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,” said Tobin.

Tobin’s remarks come in the wake of statements offering unqualified praise for Mandela in statements from Pope Francis and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. 

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Following Mandela’s death Thursday, pro-life leaders urged Christian leaders to take caution in issuing blanket praise for the South African President due to his promotion of abortion, same-sex ‘marriage’ and communism.

Dr. Day Gardner, President of the National Black Pro-Life Union concurred with Bishop Tobin’s sentiments.  “It is really very sad,” Gardner told LifeSiteNews.com, “that Nelson Mandela was blind to the suffering of the smallest of his own people.”  She added, “He had such a triumphant life fighting for civil rights, yet he failed to see unborn children as significant.”  

Gardner and other leaders at the National Black Pro-life Union have worked tirelessly to have black civil rights leaders recognize the plight of unborn black children who are targeted by the abortion industry far more than children of other races. 

According to official statistics, nearly a million unborn children have been killed in South Africa since President Mandela signed legislation in 1996 permitting abortion on demand two years after taking office. Same-sex ‘marriage’ was legalized in 2006, with Mandela having supported it long before its passage.

Another African-American pro-life leader Ryan Bomberger told LifeSiteNews.com that he has seen time and again “how people move from being oppressed to becoming the oppressor.”  He asked, “How can you condemn the evil of apartheid and turn around and deem another group to be less than human?”

Bomberger has targeted African American civil rights leaders, and other liberal black leaders with the stark message that they should “Wake up! Your future is dying.” Like Mandela, many of these black leaders “partner with the most racist, eugenicist, killing organizations in the world,” he said.