"Is it legitimate to translate Catholic moral teachings about the immorality of abortion into law and public policy?" a visiting scholar asked a Science Center crowd last night.
The scholar, Mary C. Seegers of Rutgers University, stopped short of answering the question explicitly, but strongly condemned the nation's Roman Catholic Bishops for attempting to influence public policy on abortion.
"The bishops forget about the social and economic justice and focus only on abortion. This is not a good public policy tactic," Seegers told a crowd of about 30 people.
Seegers criticized the bishops, who have come out strongly against abortion, for what she called their failure to consider the consequences of curtailing abortions. "What the Catholic bishops need to do is to address what the consequences of their moral beliefs are," said Seegers, who will finish her stint at the Divinity School at the end of the academic year.
Seegers, who says she is Catholic, asserted the bishops use then influence incorrectly when they try to influence Catholics' attitudes toward political questions. The bishops argue that it is their obligation as spiritual leaders to educate Catholics about matters which involve questions of ethics.
The Harvard-Radcliffe Students for Choice, a recently formed group which defends what members call the "reproductive freedom and abortion rights" of women, sponsored last night's address.