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Ireland: abortion referendum. Mgr. O’Reilly (Kilmore), “for the sake of women and unborn children, we should keep the Eighth Amendment”

“The older I get the more I appreciate that most precious gift of all, the gift of life”. Thus begins the pastoral message of Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore, who returns to the subject of the sacredness of human life as Irish citizens prepare to vote in a referendum whether they would like to remove the “Eighth Amendment” from the Constitution, which prohibits abortion by acknowledging the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother. “Thousands of unborn children’s lives have been saved in Ireland because of the Eighth Amendment”, Mgr. O’Reilly wrote, citing statistics from 2015 that show that Ireland is “a safer place than the UK for pregnant women”, where 200,000 abortions are performed every year, or than the United States, “where there have been an average of a staggering one million abortions a year for the last fifty years”. “As a man, I recognise that I cannot possibly understand the experience of a woman facing a crisis pregnancy”, the bishop went on to write, nor the “anguish” of women who feel “compelled” to end a pregnancy. But “a genuinely compassionate response” that protects the lives of both the mother and the child is always possible. “For the sake of women and unborn children, and for the sake of our common humanity, I believe very strongly we should keep the Eighth Amendment”, the bishop wrote in his letter, responding to the objections raised by those who want to repeal it.

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