Bishops criticise abortion law change

Published Wednesday, 19 December 2012
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The Bishop of Dromore, Dr John McAreavey, has spoken to UTV after Ireland's archbishops criticised the government's intention to introduce a combination of legislation and regulations on abortion.

Bishops criticise abortion law change
Government buildings in Dublin, pictured. (© Pacemaker)

It is the intention of the government to legislate for abortion where the woman's life is threatened, including by suicide.

Ireland's four Catholic archbishops issued a statement on Tuesday night in response to the decision.

Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin; Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly; and Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam said the decision to legislate "should be of the utmost concern to all."

The statement read:"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."

Bishop McAreavey said that "the conviction of the bishops is that abortion is not the answer to a medical problem."

He continued: "The bishops who made the statement last night - and who have spoken about this a number of times recently have made it clear that in any situation in which a mother finds herself pregnant, but needs medical treatment for heart trouble or for cancer or any serious illness like that, in every situation the mother should get the treatment she needs.

"If as a result of that, a baby dies - that is not an abortion because it is to provide medical treatment to the mother - not to take the life of the unborn child even if the child may on occasion die as a result of that treatment.

"Catholic moral teaching makes a clear distinction between the direct and intentional taking of the life of the unborn child and if you like, the accidental or the death of a child as the side-effect of treatment."

Dr McAreavey added: "What we are talking about here is a matter of life and respect for life and the Catholic Church holds for the equal right to life of mother and child.

"We don't believe of that right of one needs to be extended for the sake of another. We believe that both lives can be preserved and every effort should be made to preserve them.

"I think the issue of abortion is one of the most serious human and moral issues that can come up in any society and I feel it would be a strange thing if people across the churches and indeed outside the churches didn't make an attempt to bring some moral judgment to bear on something so important and so vital as this and I think the bishops will make their arguments and make them respectfully."

A series of public hearings ahead will be held by the Oireachtas Health Committee of the framing of legislation in the new year.

© UTV News
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6 Comments
Marty in The batican wrote (674 days ago):
Marie- What is the point in telling us that we are ignorant to the facts without telling us what facts we are ignoring? What are we lacking to reflect on? Its seems very self righteous of you to criticise other peoples views without any explanation on your part other than 'well done bishops'. My points are FACT by the way Marie...1. Wide spread sick and covered up child abuse FACT. 2. The Pope and the vatican took a stance and said thst condoms would not help fight the spread of aids in Africa FACT. 3. Priests are not permitted to marry FACT. Its just a pity they were many years ago until 1 of our popes changed that. Youth within the catholic church in Ireland is almost dead and 1 of the gravest concerns to the clergy today FACT. So Marie kindly point out to me just what facts i am ignoring.
stephen in lisburn wrote (674 days ago):
Marie The next time you need medical advice go see a bishop, I will stick with the nhs and doctors who are qualified to give medical opinions .
Ryan in Belfast wrote (675 days ago):
Abortion must never be permitted in any part of Ireland, the right to life for a child is very important. As for some of the people commenting: since when has this been a religious issue? Its stupidity to assume that everyone whos pro-life and against abortion is some sort of religious fundmentalist who wants to force their views down peoples throats. What about the right of the child to life? I dont hear you mentioning that. Theres many alternatives to abortion and just because abortion is worldwide doesnt mean it has to be in Ireland, keep it out of our society.
Marie in Co. Antrim wrote (675 days ago):
The lack of reflection and ignorance of basic facts in previous comments is quite shocking. Well done to the Bishops for speaking out and defending life.
David in Down wrote (675 days ago):
A few questions for the Catholic church....How many Bishops have had a pregnancy they didnt want? How many Bishops have had to bring up a very severely handicapped child? How many many Bishops have been the victim of a rape? how many Bishops have died giving birth to a child. They should get a life and stick to ehat they are good for....nothing!
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