Archbishops say abortion proposal 'of utmost concern'
The Government is expected to allow the fear of suicide as a ground for abortion but may not provide for rape or sexual abuse, neither of which formed part of the X case ruling. On foot of the decision, the Government is also expected to repeal provisions in the Offences against the State Act 1861, which criminalises abortion.
In a statement, the four Catholic Archbishops of Ireland said today’s decision by the Government to legislate for abortion "should be of the utmost concern to all".
Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop Dermot Clifford and Archbishop Michael Neary said in the statement: "If what is being proposed were to become law, the careful balance between the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child in current law and medical practice in Ireland would be fundamentally changed. It would pave the way for the direct and intentional killing of unborn children. This can never be morally justified in any circumstances."
The Archbishops said the decision of the Supreme Court in the X case "unilaterally overturned the clear pro-life intention of the people of Ireland as expressed in Article 40.3.3 of our Constitution. To legislate on the basis of such a flawed judgement would be both tragic and unnecessary".
"The dignity of the human person and the common good of humanity depend on our respect for the right to life of every person from the moment of conception to natural death. The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. It is the very basis for every other right we enjoy as persons.
"The lives of untold numbers of unborn children in this State now depend on the choices that will be made by our public representatives. The unavoidable choice that now faces all our public representatives is: will I chose to defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb in all circumstances, or will I chose to licence the direct and intentional killing of the innocent baby in the womb?"
The Archbishops added that on a decision of "such fundamental moral importance" every public representative was entitled to "complete respect for the freedom of conscience".
"No one has the right to force or coerce someone to act against their conscience. Respect for this right is the very foundation of a free, civilised and democratic society.
All involved, especially public representatives, must consider the profound moral questions that arise in responding to today’s announcement by the Government. We encourage all to pray that our public representatives will be given the wisdom and courage to do what is right."