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Irish bishops urge lawmakers against allowing abortion

January 10, 2013

In testimony before a committee of lawmakers weighing a change in the country’s abortion ban, the Irish bishops’ conference stressed that current policies allow for treatment of women with life-threatening conditions.

“There is nothing in current Irish law, in current medical guidelines or in Catholic ethics that prevents such treatment from being given,” said Bishop Christopher Jones of Elphin, the chairman of the Irish bishops’ committee on marriage and family. He continued:

Any suggestion that Ireland is an unsafe place for pregnant mothers because we do not have abortion is a complete distortion of the truth. It is also gravely unjust to the doctors, nurses and midwives in our hospitals who have achieved such internationally celebrated standards of maternity care.

Overlooking some of the heated emotional statements that have been made during Ireland’s latest abortion debate, Bishop Jones praised “the calm and dignified way in which discussions have been conducted” by legislators. However he insisted on an accurate representation of the law and the Church’s position.

The Catholic Church approves and encourages medical intervention to save a mother when a pregnancy endangers her life, the bishop said. However the Church cannot accept a deliberate choice to destroy the life of an unborn child. Irish hospitals, he said, rightly do everything possible to save the lives of both mother and child.

Bishop Jones also argued that lawmakers are not required to enact new legislation in order to satisfy the Supreme Court’s demands regarding the “X case.” Sharply criticizing the court’s ruling as “morally unacceptable,” he said that the Court’s judgment “is not a basis on which to move forward on this critical issue.” He warned that the “X case” ruling “potentially permits abortion up to birth.”

Bishop Jones concluded his testimony with a statement that the right to life “is a natural and inviolable right that no individual, no majority and no State can ever create, modify or destroy.”


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