Government legislation provides ‘the widest possible legal justification for abortion’, say Catholic bishops

Right to life of the unborn child ‘will no longer be treated as equal’

Bishop John Buckley: “The abortion Bill . . . is not just a tidying-up exercise, it sacrifices the innocent life of one human being to another’s threat of self-destruction. This fails any test of justice.” Photograph:  Richard Mills

Bishop John Buckley: “The abortion Bill . . . is not just a tidying-up exercise, it sacrifices the innocent life of one human being to another’s threat of self-destruction. This fails any test of justice.” Photograph: Richard Mills

Sat, Jul 6, 2013, 01:00


The Government’s proposed abortion legislation “heralds a much more liberal and aggressive abortion regime in Ireland”, the Catholic bishops have said.

In their latest weekly bulletin on the issue for reading and distribution at Masses over the weekend, the bishops say the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill would “provide the widest possible legal justification for deliberately and intentionally destroying the life of the unborn child, with no time limits and no mechanism for ensuring that the right to life of the unborn is adequately vindicated as required by article 40.3.3 of the Constitution.”

They add: “In practice, the right to life of the unborn child will no longer be treated as equal” and “this Bill represents a legislative and political ‘Trojan horse’.”

Medical evidence “does not support the view that abortion is an appropriate treatment for expectant mothers with suicidal feelings. Mothers in these situations deserve the best professional care and support that can be provided. As well as involving the deliberate killing of an unborn child, this Bill by promoting abortion risks creating the very symptoms of suicidal feelings it claims to address.”

The prelates also argue that “the Abortion Bill makes it lawful to induce the premature delivery of an unborn child in response to the suicidal feelings of a mother, foreseeably exposing that child to the risk of serious and permanent damage to her or his health. Where a child is perhaps only days away from viability, the Bill is silent on whether the child will be killed or delivered with serious risk to the health of the child.”

They also ask: “Where are the mechanisms to vindicate the constitutional right to life of the child in these circumstances? How can an act which involves serious risk to the health of a child be reconciled with the State’s duty in article 42A of the Constitution to ensure that in all decisions the welfare of the child will be ‘the paramount consideration’?” The latter is a quote from Catholic Primate Cardinal Seán Brady in his statement of Monday last.

Bishop of Cork and Ross John Buckley is also quoted: “The abortion Bill . . . is not just a tidying-up exercise, it sacrifices the innocent life of one human being to another’s threat of self-destruction. This fails any test of justice.”