Baptist pastors in Ireland oppose repeal of Eighth Amendment

‘God’s word and science agree that life begins at conception’

Baptist church leaders in Ireland have called for a No vote in the May 25th referendum and urged church members and fellow citizens "to resist this misguided call to repeal."

They leaders of the church, which the 2016 Census found had 3,957 members in the State, called “for compassion for both women and unborn children rather” than the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, which guarantees an equal right to life to the mother and the unborn.

In a statement signed by 28 Baptist pastors from all over the Republic, the leaders said that “God’s word and science agree that life begins at conception (Psalm 51:5). Any drawing of a line at 12 weeks or at any other stage is merely arbitrary and flies in the face of logic, science and scripture.

“And since God alone is the author of life, we do not have the right to determine whose life has value and whose does not; who should live and who should not. Every society genuinely committed to fundamental human rights, especially the right to life, should take the moral and physical status of the unborn child very seriously indeed.”


‘Better at compassion’

They said: “We recognise in this broken and sinful world that hard and difficult circumstances arise. But each life is valuable because God has formed and shaped it for a purpose.”

Ireland’s history “shows that we have failed mothers and babies. We have created stigma and shame instead of creating an environment of grace and love,” they said.

“We need to do better - better at compassion, better at support from conception, better at alternatives like adoption. As church leaders we seek to offer our support and compassion to those caught up in hopelessness, fear and despair surrounding a pregnancy. To those burdened by guilt at abortions they’ve had, we hold out the offer of love, support and hope,” they said.

“It is our belief that a mark of a truly progressive society is in its commitment to protect its most vulnerable. Any move to eliminate that protection would be a regressive step for our society. The 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution recognises the worth of both women and unborn children.

“The 8th Amendment is a progressive measure that enshrines the equal right to life for all and helps make our society more meaningful, more compassionate and a model for other nations.

“We, therefore, urge our church members and our fellow citizens to resist this misguided call to repeal the 8th Amendment, and continue to work towards a better, more caring and compassionate society,” they concluded.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times