Taxpayer dollars should not be used for slanderous purposes


To the Editor:

As a taxpayer-funded government agency, the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau should not be used for slanderous attacks against private individuals and organizations.

On February 20, Warwick Representatives David Bennett, Joseph McNamara, and Evan Shanley issued a press release accusing opponents of H5343, the so-called “Reproductive Healthcare Act,” of spreading misinformation about this extreme pro-abortion bill they had cosponsored. Subsequent articles in the Warwick Beacon and Providence Journal, citing their press release, identified Rhode Island Right to Life and the Rhode Island Catholic Conference as said opponents.

Representatives Bennett, McNamara, and Shanley offered no evidence or argument to substantiate their malicious claims, neither in their press release nor, remarkably, when the bill was heard before the House Judiciary Committee on March 29. Indeed, none of these three, nor any of the other bill cosponsors, challenged or even questioned our clear explication of this extreme pro-abortion bill presented publicly before the Committee.

Their deafening silence when given opportunity in the appropriate forum to dispute the veracity of our position was not only cowardly, it also appears to be a tacit yet clear admission that they are guilty of slander. Their use of the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau for their slanderous claims gave a false appearance of legitimacy and sanction, and was a serious misuse of this taxpayer-funded agency.

The people of Rhode Island deserve truthfulness from their elected officials. Representatives Bennett, McNamara, and Shanley owe an explanation and apology.

Barth E. Bracy, Executive Director, Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee