Medicine and conscientious objection


Sir, – Pádraig McCarthy maintains that, in a democratic society, the Catholic ethos should be upheld in hospitals controlled by Catholic organisations (Letter, May 17th).

He refers to the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018 to make the point that, in these hospitals, terminations of pregnancy that violate Catholic ethical principles are not carried out.

He seems unaware of the obvious contradiction – the Catholic ethos in this context is incompatible with democracy. The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018 was passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas and signed into law by our democratically elected president, Michael D Higgins, in 2018.

All this was done on the basis of a referendum which provided a clear mandate for change.

Therefore, it is undemocratic to insist that the Catholic ethos should take precedence over secular law in this jurisdiction.

It is critically important that the Government takes due account of this when finalising plans for the ownership and governance of the new National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.