La Salle Academy removes all photos of notable graduates following Raimondo controversy
Tom Mooney, The Providence Journal, R.I.
By Tom Mooney, The Providence Journal, R.I.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Oct. 02--PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A week after La Salle Academy removed a photo of Democratic candidate for governor Gina Raimondo from its Wall of Notables following her support for abortion rights, the Roman Catholic school has decided to remove every photograph of notable graduates now on display.
School President Brother Thomas Gerrow told The Journal Thursday that all the photos came down Wednesday night after the school's board of trustees voted to remove them, believing they had become a distraction to learning. "We're running a school. We don't need this kind of distraction," Brother Gerrow said. "And I believe it's the right decision."
Raimondo's photograph was removed after she publicly pledged to fight any attempt to restrict the right of women to make their own "reproductive health care" decisions. She spoke at a news conference accepting an endorsement from Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island.
Following her remarks, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin posted on Facebook, "It is always disappointing when a Catholic candidate for political office abandons the teaching of the Church on the dignity of human life for the sake of self-serving political gain."
There was a total of 25 photographs on the wall, including photos of two other women.
Brother Gerrow said the photograph of U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a La Salle graduate and a supporter of abortion rights, also came down Wednesday night.
"All of them came down," Brother Gerrow said, with the "goal of establishing a criteria" for future recognition of successful alumni.
On Thursday, hours after the removal of the photos, an editorial in the Rhode Island Catholic newspaper criticized Raimondo, saying she demonstrated her "extreme position on abortion as she pledged to seek repeal of the 1997 [state] law banning partial-birth abortion."
The editorial said that partial-birth abortion "is a gruesome practice that has no place in a civilized society." Further, the newspaper said, Raimondo had indicated that as governor she would not permit "even one abortion-free option in the Rhode Island health insurance exchange."
In doing so "she demonstrates an inexplicable disregard for the sincere conscience of thousands of Rhode Islanders who don't want to participate in insurance programs that pay for abortion. Almost every other state has provided that option."
An earlier version of this report was published at 10:57 a.m.
(c)2014 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.)
Visit The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.) at www.projo.com