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Prelates lament Irish government’s decision to draft legislation allowing some abortions

Catholic World News - December 19, 2012

The Irish government has announced that it will draft legislation allowing abortion when the mother’s life is deemed at risk, including when a mother threatens suicide.

“The government is committed to ensuring that the safety of pregnant women in Ireland is maintained and strengthened,” said health minister James Reilly. “We must fulfill our duty of care towards them.”

“For that purpose, we will clarify in legislation and regulation what is available by way of treatment to a woman when a pregnancy gives rise to a threat to a woman's life,” he added. “We will also clarify what is legal for the professionals who must provide that care while at all times taking full account of the equal right to life of the unborn child.”

“Today’s decision by the Irish Government to legislate for abortion should be of the utmost concern to all,” Ireland’s archbishops said in a statement. “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.”

The archbishops added:

The dignity of the human person and the common good of humanity depend on our respect for the right to life of every person from the moment of conception to natural death. The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. It is the very basis for every other right we enjoy as persons.

The lives of untold numbers of unborn children in this State now depend on the choices that will be made by our public representatives. The unavoidable choice that now faces all our public representatives is: will I chose to defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb in all circumstances, or will I chose to licence the direct and intentional killing of the innocent baby in the womb? …

All involved, especially public representatives, must consider the profound moral questions that arise in responding to today’s announcement by the Government. We encourage all to pray that our public representatives will be given the wisdom and courage to do what is right.

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