Abortion legislation will be opposed - cardinal


THE GOVERNMENT is not obliged to legislate for any form of abortion in Ireland as a result of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the so-called ABC case, Catholic Primate of All-Ireland Cardinal Seán Brady said.

At the opening of the Edmund Rice Summer School in Mount Sion, Co Waterford, yesterday, Cardinal Brady said he believed any attempt by the Government to legislate for abortion, even by way of a ministerial directive, would be “vigorously and comprehensively opposed by many”.

He said it was “important as a church that we prepare with others to defend the equal right to life of a mother and child against any effort to introduce abortion to a country which is one of the safest places in the world for mothers who are expecting a child”.

He said Edmund Rice would have been impressed by young people who attended the Eucharistic Congress earlier this year who, “with compassion, sensitivity and deep conviction, explained why human life should be protected and respected in our laws from the first moment of conception through to natural death.

“The debate about these issues is about to intensify in our country over coming months. It is important that we all have the courage to make our voices heard. It is important that we do justice to the logic and human reason behind the values we hold.

“They cannot be relegated to the realm of private religious beliefs with no place in our laws or public policy in the name of secularism or tolerance.

“These values are rooted in human reason and available to all. They have the same right to be heard, promoted and respected in our laws and to be put to the people in democratic decisions as other, perhaps less representative, views,” Cardinal Brady added.

Cardinal Brady’s remarks relate to a 2010 landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. It found that, in the case of three women, known as A, B and C for the purposes of the case, the Irish State had violated the rights of C.

The woman, who had a rare cancer and who feared it would relapse when she became unintentionally pregnant, was unable to establish whether she qualified for a lawful abortion here. This was despite the ruling of the 1992 Supreme Court X case which found there should be access to an abortion in circumstances where a woman’s life is deemed to be at risk because of pregnancy, including the risk of suicide.

The Government last year established an expert group, chaired by Mr Justice Seán Ryan of the High Court, to examine how best to implement the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the ABC case and provide a legislative basis for the Supreme Court’s ruling in the X case.