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Ireland: Bishops’ stance, no to abortion referendum. “Attack on life”

“If society accepts that one human being has the right to end the life of another, then it is no longer possible to claim the right to life as a fundamental human right for anybody”. Irish Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Consultative Group on Bioethics, wrote this in a “pastoral message” released on Sunday, 28 January, in which he returned to the issue of abortion on the eve of the Government abortion meeting today that should give the go-ahead to and set a date for the abortion referendum. “If we concede any ground on abortion, the very same arguments which are now being used to justify abortion will be used to justify ending the lives of frail elderly people and people with significant disability. This is the final frontier. If we cross it, there will be no easy way back”, he wrote. The Bishop also explained that the proposal to repeal Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution, the so-called “Pro-Life Amendment”, would have serious consequences since “reference to the right to life” of the child and of the mother would be removed from the Constitution, without replacing it with anything else: it would be like giving “a blank cheque” to the Government to introduce any system of abortion it wants in the future. The Bishop called for compassion, truth, prayer and support for women, and said that, whatever happens to the Constitution, we are exploring ways to “be able to provide some additional supports which would empower women to choose life, not just for the baby, but for their own sake as well”.

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