Pastor's Desk: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 15th June 2013 in Pastor's Desk

A time to uphold the right to life

The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights; it is the foundation of all other rights. No individual has the right to destroy life and no State has the right to undermine the right to life. Yet the Irish Government is proposing abortion legislation that will fundamentally change the culture of medical practice in Ireland. For the first time legislation will be enacted permitting the deliberate and intentional killing of an unborn child. This represents a radical change. Every citizen, not just people of faith, should be deeply concerned.

We value the skill and efforts of our doctors, nurses and other care professionals who have helped to earn Ireland’s place as one of the safest countries in the world for mothers and their babies during pregnancy.

Catholic Church teaching is clear: where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are ethically permissible provided every effort is made to save both the mother and her baby. This is different from abortion, which is the direct and intentional taking of the innocent life of the unborn. No matter what legislation is passed in any country, abortion is, and always will be, gravely wrong.

A time for clarity and truth

The Government is under no obligation to legislate for the X case. People are being misled. We challenge repeated statements that this legislation is about saving lives and involves no change to the law or practice on abortion. Legalising the direct and intentional destruction of the life of an unborn baby can never be described as “life-saving” or “pro-life”.

Contrary to clear psychiatric evidence, this legislation proposes abortion as an appropriate response to women with suicidal feelings during pregnancy. It is even possible to envisage as a result of this legislation the deliberate destruction of a child, who could otherwise be saved, right up to and including the moment of birth.

Furthermore, we challenge assurances that the proposed legislation will provide limited access to abortion. As published to date, the legislation will allow for a very wide margin of subjective professional assessment by which the deliberate destruction of an unborn baby can be legally justified. As we have learned from other countries, such legislation opens the door to ever wider availability of abortion.

We remain convinced that enhanced medical guidelines, which do not envisage the direct and intentional killing of the unborn, could provide the necessary clarity as well as a morally, legally and medically acceptable way forward. While good health can normally be restored, life, once taken, can never, never be restored.

Extract from the Catholic Bishops’ statement, 11th June 2013.

Click here to view the full statement.

The latest issue of the Choose Life 2013 Newsletter is also available for download.

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