Monday, December 31, 2012

Oireachtas hearings on abortion to be held in January

The Irish Government shortly before Christmas outlined plans to legislate and regulate for abortion in cases where there is a threat to the life of the mother in accordance with the highly controversial “X Case” – including the threat of suicide.
Health Minister James Reilly, in his statement on the Government proposals told the Dail that parliamentary hearings on the issue would begin in January and that lawmakers would receive a bill by Easter with the expectation that they would vote on it by the summer.
The Irish Independent reported on Saturday December 29th that due to the huge interest in the holding of such hearings the proposal to use one of the committee rooms had to be reconsidered and that the Seanad (Senate) chamber would be used instead

The Independent reported as follows
THE Oireachtas hearings on abortion have been moved to the Seanad chamber because of the huge interest in the contentious issue.

The Oireachtas Health Committee starts its abortion hearings next month, and it will be moved from the normal committee rooms of Leinster House. As many as 40 members of the Oireachtas could turn up to the hearings. Although the committee's membership is restricted to 15 TDs and six senators, any Oireachtas member is entitled to turn up and question witnesses.

The hearings will be broadcast live on the internet and on the Oireachtas TV station on the UPC cable network.


Fine Gael senator Paul Bradford first raised the possibility of using the Seanad earlier this month, and committee chairman Jerry Buttimer confirmed that the initial three hearings, and possibly more, will be held in the Upper House.

"We'll see how it goes for the first three days before we decide if we need it for longer," Mr Buttimer, a TD for Cork South-Central, said.

Before Christmas, the Government outlined plans to legislate and regulate for abortion in cases where there is a threat to the life of the mother – including the highly contentious issue of the threat of suicide.

The first two days will be given over to witnesses from medical and legal professions, with the final day reserved for the churches and advocacy groups.
This will be the first time that Irish lawmakers have ever voted on the abortion issue, which is arguably the most divisive issue of all. Ireland has one of the best records on a global basis for the care of mother's and their unborn babies and maternal mortality levels here are amongst the lowest in the world, many times lower than either the UK and the US. The killing of unborn babies can never be justified for any reason but to do so on the pretence that it is necessary to save the life of a mother is particularly reprehensible.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his decision to legislate for abortion in Ireland

The Alive newspaper in its January edition has published an editorial under the title "Nuremberg lesson" which Taoiseach Enda Kenny should take very seriously.

The article reads.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny recently stated , "the vast majority of the people do not want ... abortion on demand."
The Taoiseach needs to realise, first of all, that this is not an issue of what the people do or do not want. It is an issue of fundamental justice.
There is a higher law than "the will of the people", and he is bound by that law. According to that law to deliberately kill an unborn child is evil. And for any government to legally permit such killing is profoundly evil.
Secondly, reference to "abortion on demand" looks like an attempt by Mr Kenny to soften up people to accept "limited" abortion, that is, that the law would allow the killing of a limited number of unborn children.
Whether or not such a law would lead to "abortion on demand" is not the point.
If it permitted the intentional killing of just one unborn child it would not be a law but the utter corruption of law.
It would also be a corruption of public morality, affirming that it is permissible to do evil to achieve one's aim. Such a principle destroys civilised society and takes us back to Nazi times in Germany.


Mr Kenny, then would do well to view the 1961 film, Judgement at Nuremberg. Set in 1948, it is based on a U.S military tribunal for war crimes held in Nuremberg, and depicts the trial of four Nazi judges.
At one point one of the accused judges , Ernst Janning says, "those people, those millions of people... I never knew it would come to that."
To which Judge Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy) replies: "Herr Janning, it came to that the first time you sentenced to death a man you knew to be innocent."

Mr Kenny now stands at perhaps the most momentous crisis point not only in his political career but in his personal integrity.
Will he decide, whatever the price, for goodness and life? or for evil, violence and death?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

No UK abortions carried out under the 1967 Act, on Irish women under Section F (to "save the life of the mother”) or G, (to "prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman) between 1992 and 2010

Following the decision of the Irish Government that it will proceed to deal with the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the ABC case by means of legislation and regulation, Patricia Casey who is a Professor of Psychiatry at UCD, in an opinion piece in the Irish Independent wrote. 
This will deal with medical conditions that may place women at risk of death and also the risk of suicide as a ground for abortion. It is the latter in which a significant number of people have concerns.

I recently reviewed the reports of the Masters of the three Dublin maternity hospitals covering the periods 1980 to 2011. There were 685,511 deliveries of live babies and in that period there were two deaths by suicide. Both were post delivery and both had long histories of psychiatric illness. Many politicians who favour the inclusion of suicide have suggested the reason for the low rate of suicide here is because women travel to Britain for abortions when they are suicidal.

Yet data, obtained from the Department of Health covering the period 1992 to 2010, shows that under Section F of the 1967 Act (dealing with abortions carried out to "save the life of the mother") none were performed on Irish women and under Section G (dealing with abortions to "prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman") none were performed on Irish women.

It is true that suicidal thoughts and threats do occur among pregnant women. According to international research evidence, such thoughts and threats do occur in pregnancy but they rarely translate into suicide. The suicide rate in pregnancy is 25pc lower than the rate in the general female population and the period of greatest suicide risk is in the period after delivery.

The CMACE (Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries) in Britain, which examines the maternal mortality figures biannually, said in its 2011 report that suicide in pregnancy or post-delivery is linked to mental illness. The report expresses concern that many of these women were not identified as being at risk due to prior mental health problems and that in 69pc of those dying by suicide the psychiatric care was suboptimal.

Women who are suicidal require the same treatment as any other suicidal person. This may require medication or psychological therapy or both to bring the underlying condition under control.

Does abortion have a role in this? I have examined the major textbooks of psychiatry and of perinatal psychiatry and nowhere can I find a list of any psychiatric grounds for abortion. Furthermore, the medical royal colleges, headed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, carried out a review of the impact of abortion on mental health in 2011 and found that women with a prior psychiatric history were at an increased risk of mental health problems if they did have an abortion.

They also found that there was no benefit to women's mental health whether an unwanted pregnancy was aborted or brought to term. Yet the expert group reporting on ABC require that all treatments be evidence based. No such evidence exists for abortion as a "treatment" for suicidality in pregnant women.

A further problem with the proposed legislation, for psychiatrists, is that the prediction of suicide is a very inexact science. Predicting rare events is always problematic. One psychiatrist said prediction was no better than tossing a coin while another found that the predicted rate was 35 times that of the eventual rate.

It is the belief of the Taoiseach, and some of the politicians who support this measure, that it can be legislated for so tightly that it will not spiral out of control as happened to abortion in Britain. There is no comfort in the Government assurances and, as night follows day, history will repeat itself here. In 1967, British MP David Steel said: ". . . it is not the intention of the promoters of the Bill to leave a wide open door to abortion on request".

Speaking in 2008, when there were around 186,000 abortions per year, he said: "I don't think we had expected anything like those numbers. . . and there is a mood now which is that if things go wrong you can get an abortion – and it is irresponsible". Already our minister Kathleen Lynch is predicting legislation so tight that other cases will come before the courts to widen it while others are saying this measure is a stepping stone to further legislation.

Dr James Reilly spoke of the restrictive nature of the proposal and that abortion for suicide risk would not take place up to birth. In a Sunday newspaper, he indicated that a pregnancy with a baby on the cusp of viability could continue and be delivered early. Unwittingly, perhaps, he presented a scenario where a 24-week baby would be allowed to live but by implication a younger baby, say at 20 weeks gestation, would be killed in utero.

Legislation for suicide risk is not evidence based and the Government should consult widely on this issue rather than railroading this measure through. The proposed legislation will allow the use of an unproven intervention, for a rare outcome that is more often incorrectly than correctly predicted, but that involves the loss of life to one of the parties.

How strange too that we are just changing our laws as Russia has dramatically tightened its abortion legislation in the past year while Spain is proposing new restrictions.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Beautiful Pro - Life Christmas Video

This is a most beautiful yet simple message for Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2012

"Lies, Damn lies and Broken Promises"

Liam Gibson, the SPUC Development Officer for Northern Ireland has written a thought provoking article in his BLOG Pro-Life Belfast under the banner "Lies, Damn lies and Broken Promises"
Liam's blog-post is available on this link but we have also reprinted it in full below
So the Irish government is to legalise abortion. Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister, has turned out to be just another gutless politician who would sooner go back on his promise made to the Irish electorate than stand-up to the bullying of the international abortion lobby. This will not come as a surprise to many but the fact that Kenny has caved-in to the pressure from abortion advocates in the Council of Europe, the office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Health and International Planned Parenthood Federation is still a disappointment.

Ireland has long been a thorn in the side of the international abortion lobby because it proved that it was possible to have an excellent maternal mortality record without legalised abortion. Efforts to introduce abortion in 1992 and in 2002 failed because the Irish people rejected flawed and false amendments to their Constitution. But the protection for children before birth has been gradually eroded by the anti-life policies of successive governments (such as those  of the State-run Crisis Pregnancy Agency) and anti-life rulings of the Irish Courts.

There have been a number of stages in the Republic's descent into the culture of death and each milestone has been marked by lies and falsehoods. The first and most damaging, however, was the 1992 decision of the Supreme Court in the X-case. It has taken 20 years but it seems that, unless the people rise-up in opposition, this decision will finally lead to the legalised killing of children in Ireland.

The X-case

In a politically motivated ruling, Irish judges said a 14 year-old girl, pregnant through rape, could have an abortion because her life was threatened. Not threatened in the way that ectopic pregnancy or pre-eclampsia is life-threatening, she was allegedly suicidal so the threat was one of self-harm. The Court's first mistake was to confuse actual life-threatening conditions which arise during pregnancy with a threat of suicide.

The Court’s second mistake was to pretend that abortion was a treatment for suicidal ideation. Even if there is no doubt that a threat of suicide is genuine, it signifies a psychiatric problem and can only be addressed by psychiatric means. There is no evidence that abortion can alleviate suicidal tendencies. In fact there is a mountain of research showing the negative effect abortion has on mental health. Women who undergo abortion are far more likely to take their on lives than those who carry their babies to term.

The Irish Constitution

The nature of the psychiatric evidence presented to the Supreme Court in 1992 has since been called into question. But there is a more fundamental problem with the X-case which is seldom pointed out. And this is the judges interpretation of Article 40.3.3° itself.

The Irish Constitution cannot confer the right to life, it merely recognises it. The right to life is shared by all members of the human family by virtue of their common humanity. No State, no government, no authority can take this right away.

By the adoption of the Eighth Amendment (Article 40.3.3) the Constitution enshrined the position which was already codified in Irish law in the Offences Against the Person Act (1861). Section 58 of this Act makes it a crime to procure an abortion and section 59 makes it a crime even to help to procure one.

Article 40.3.3° states:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.
By equating the right to life of the unborn with the right to life of the mother, the Constitution is in fact saying that the right to life of the child before birth is equal to the right to life of everyone already born. It did not change the right to life of  mothers. How could it since every human being shares the same right to life? The right to life of women remained the same after the passage of the Eighth Amendment as it had been before it. It is entirely false to claim, as the Court did, that the adoption of Article 40.3.3° somehow introduced a Constitutional right for mothers to take the lives of their unborn children. Abortion remains a criminal offence in Irish law and there can be no Constitutional right to commit this offence.

There is no more right  to kill a child in the womb in order to protect the life of another human being than there is to kill a child already born.

Medical treatments during pregnancy can have life threatening consequences for an unborn child and sometimes result in their death. But it is never justifiable to end the life of any child, even with the sincere intention of protecting the life of another person. 

The Irish Supreme Court reached a perverse and unnatural judgement in the X-case. Enda Kenny claims that he must legislate in line with this judgement but this claim is fraudulent. He intends to repeal the Offences Against the Person Act and designate hospitals which will carry out abortions, two proposals rejected by the people in the 2002 referendum. Kenny’s plan must be resisted - completely. It is important that pro-life groups, the Church and the people themselves are united in this resistance. There can be no negotiation over the right to life. Abortion is an intrinsic evil and there is no acceptable level of evil.

Powerful pro-life message

This is a powerful and very timely pro-life message from EWTN, for and on behalf of all Irish people

We pray that even at this late hour our pro-life ethos will be respected and upheld and that the evil of abortion will not be legalised In Ireland

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another day that will live in infamy: Irish Government decision to legislate and regulate for abortion.

The Department of Health and Children yesterday Tuesday Dec 18th, issued the statement set out below in conjunction with the Cabinet decision to introduce a combination of legislation and regulation for abortion which would  repeal sections 58 and 59 of the  Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
Health Minister James Reilly in presenting the Cabinet decision said he was conscious of the sensitivities of the contentious issue but said that ensuring the safety of pregnant women was a priority. He also said: 
"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. 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.
 The legislation will be drafted in accordance with the 20-year-old Supreme Court ruling on the X case, which allows for abortion when a woman's life is in danger - including the threat of suicide.
In response to the Government announcement a strongly-worded statement was issued late last night by four Archbishops Catholic primate and Archbishop of Armagh Cardinal Seán Brady; Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin; Archbishop of Cashel Dermot Clifford and Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary.
The four Catholic Archbishops called for TDs to be given a free vote on the Government’s proposed legislation on abortion and they encouraged “all to pray that our public representatives will be given the wisdom and courage to do what is right”.

The archbishops said “public representatives must consider the profound moral questions that arise” in relation to the decision “by the Government to legislate for abortion”.
The Archbishops statement also says:
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 decision of the Supreme Court in the ‘X’ case unilaterally overturned the clear pro-life intention of the people of Ireland as expressed in Article 40.3.3 of our Constitution. To legislate on the basis of such a flawed judgement would be both tragic and unnecessary.

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 choose to licence the direct and intentional killing of the innocent baby in the womb?

Moreover, on a decision of such fundamental moral importance every public representative is entitled to complete respect for the freedom of conscience. No one has the right to force or coerce someone to act against their conscience. Respect for this right is the very foundation of a free, civilised and democratic society.
In a follow on interview the Bishop of Kilmore Leo O'Reilly said this morning he was concerned the Government’s plan would pave the way for a “liberal” abortion culture in the State.

"For the very first time in Ireland it would inevitably lead to the most liberal kind of abortion," he told RTÉ Morning Ireland. "This would be a radical change in the culture of life that we have had here in this country - and let's not make any mistake about it - it would be an irrevocable change, there would not be any going back."

The legislation would be the first step on the way "to a culture of death," Bishop O'Reilly said. He reiterated a call for a free vote on the matter.

There can be no doubt but that this unfortunate decision will  lead to abortion on demand in Ireland in the same way as similar decisions led to abortion on demand in both the UK and the US, despite the fact that Minister Reilly and others are seeking to present it as having a minimalistic effect.

Sadly Taoiseach Enda Kenny has not lived up to the promises he made to the pro-life community prior to the last election and his determination to apply the party whip is an assault on the consciences of those who recognise that abortion, the killing of the unborn, is wrong. Politicians must realise that there are some issues where they cannot compromise and first among those is the right to life. It beggars belief that any political leader would not respect the conscientious objections of his colleagues on such a critical issue but it also has to be said that each of us has a duty to establish truth and to vote in accordance with our consciences regardless of party sanctions and regardless of the consequences.

We would also point out the folly of repealing sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 which will not only open the door to abortion on demand but will also impact greatly on Northern Ireland which relies on that statute to protect unborn children there.

Statement of the Department of Health and Children  
The Government has today announced its decision on the form of action to be taken in the light of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in A,B and C v Ireland. Having considered the report of the of the Expert Group on the judgment in A, B and C v Ireland the Government has decided that the implementation of this judgement by way of legislation with regulations offers the most appropriate method for dealing with the issue.

The drafting of legislation, supported by regulations, will be within the parameters of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the X case. It was also agreed to make appropriate amendments to the criminal law in this area.

The Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children will hold hearings on this matter next month. The Government has also decided that the drafting of the Heads of a General Scheme of a Bill will be take place in the wake of those hearings. After the completion of Draft Heads of a Bill there will be comprehensive debate in the Oireachtas and beyond before the Bill and regulations are finalised.

The legislation should provide the clarity and certainty in relation to the process of deciding when a termination of pregnancy is permissible, that is where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as opposed to the health, of the woman and this risk can only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy.

The Government has also noted and agreed to the request from the Health Minister Dr James Reilly for further decisions at a later stage related to policy matters that will inform the drafting of the legislation.

It is important to note therefore that the significance of today’s decision involves the Government selecting the form of the response to the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights. Much further work will be required in drafting the legislation and further decisions of government will be required to inform the detail of the legislation and the regulations.

Speaking after the Cabinet meeting, Minister Reilly said he was very conscious of the sensitivities around the issue. “I know that most people have personal views on this matter. However, the Government is committed to ensuring that the safety of pregnant women in Ireland is maintained and strengthened. 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. 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.”

The Minister went on to say that, “today the Government has decided the form of action to be taken. We will not preempt the debate that must follow by speculating on details to be decided later in the process.”
It is heartening to note that the Archbishops have encouraged "all to pray that our public representatives will be given the wisdom and courage to do what is right”, we would add that the entire Church needs to pray like never before to defeat the evil of abortion. 
Everyone must understand that there is a supernatural dimension to all of this and Catholic legislators need to be reminded that they risk their immortal souls if they support the introduction of abortion  either by voting for it or facilitating it

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

D day for Irish Cabinet decision on abortion

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has announced that his Cabinet will make a decision on the abortion issue today Tuesday Dec 18th but it is well known that many of the Fine Gael Dail deputies are very concerned about this and some have asked for a free vote on the issue. It has been reported however that Kenny has denied them a free vote insisting that the party whip will apply, so much for the right to conscientious objection.

The Irish Times in an article today commenting on the current situation reports that more than a dozen Fine Gael TDs have indicated publicly ahead of today’s Cabinet decision on abortion that they have reservations about legislation that would include the risk of suicide among the grounds for abortion.
The article continues,
While most of the TDs have said inside and outside the Dáil that they will study the proposals and partake fully in the extended debates, a number have publicly stated they oppose the proposition that the threat of suicide constitutes a risk to the life of the mother.

They include the Mayo TD John O’Mahony and James Bannon, who represents Longford and Westmeath.

Speaking ahead of today’s announcement by Cabinet, Mr O’Mahony said: “There is a lot of concern about the suicide. I will support any measures that supports the life of the unborn and that of the mother.

“I have to be convinced about any inclusion of suicide. I feel very strongly about this. People know my views. I will be voting according to my views on it,” he said.

When asked about suicide being included in the legislation, he said: “I hope that good judgment will prevail and I hope that [suicide] will be outside the legislation.”

Wicklow deputy Simon Harris said yesterday he had come to the view that legislation would be needed.

“I am very confident that the Taoiseach and the Government will ensure that safeguards are put in place.”

He said the most important point was to prevent the same circumstances happening in Ireland as happened in Britain after it legalised abortion in 1967.

During debates in the Dáil and in public over the past two weeks, a number of other Fine Gael TDs have identified suicide as a concern.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics on Sunday, Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton said: “I have concerns about the whole question of suicide and how it can be defined.”

Soul searching

Yesterday in the Dáil, Meath West deputy Regina Doherty outlined the degree of “soul-searching” she has done over the past few months as she has struggled with the difficult issues involved.

“The uncertainty for many of us stems from the issue of including suicide in legislating for the X case. It is difficult for somebody who has a genuine fear that once the door is open it will not be capable of being closed,” she said.

There is nonetheless a diversity of views within Fine Gael on the issue, and there is significant support within the parliamentary party for legislation that includes suicide among the grounds for abortion.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance Brian Hayes said in the Dáil that now was the time for the middle ground to find its voice. “It is possible to be both pro-life and pro-choice. We can simultaneously respect the right to life of the unborn and the life of the mother,” he said.

The Kerry South TD Brendan Griffin said last night he had no issue with legislation that would protect a mother’s life.

Monday, December 17, 2012

We'd rather give up medicine than perform an abortion

The Irish Independent on Saturday reported on the story of Maria Coleman who had just started medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons when she became pregnant through difficult circumstances. Canadian by birth, she grew up in a culture where abortion is available on demand up to full term. Maria's sharing of her life and values is very powerful and very relevant here in Ireland today.
 According to the article
The 24-year-old went to her GP and was told that abortion was the best route to take; that having a baby would mess up her career. Maria was surprised. It was the sort of reaction she expected from a Canadian doctor, not an Irish one.

By that point she had made her mind up anyway. That happened the moment she did a pregnancy test.

"From the second it showed positive, I knew there was another life growing inside me," she recalls.

"There was no denying that. As easy as it might have seemed to get rid of the 'problem', I knew I had no right to end another human life."

Almost three years on, Maria has a beautiful two-year-old boy who is the light of her life. Now in her third year of medicine, she's also a first-class honours student.

Her personal experience has deeply informed her professional ethic as a young medic planning to specialise in obstetrics. She has observed the recent abortion controversy here with deep concern, fearing that if Ireland legislates for abortion, it will end up going down the road of her own country, where up to 100,000 terminations take place every year.

"We all know there is no difference between a baby five minutes before it's born and five minutes afterwards, but in Canada, they don't consider it a human being until it has arrived in the delivery ward," she says.

"Until the baby has fully exited the birth canal, anything can be done. In a 10-year period, about 490 babies have been born alive in Canada after failed abortions. They are left to die on a cold table.

"For me, as a trainee doctor, that is nothing less than criminal. Every day in college, we are reminded of our Hippocratic oath which we take on graduation – 'above all, do no harm'.

Maria has decided to continue her medical career in Ireland but may change her mind if abortion is legalised.

"I would give up medicine before doing that sort of work. I just have to look at my son to realise that. He's the best thing that ever happened to me."

 The full text of the article can be found here

Sunday, December 16, 2012

BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS, powerful message from Pope Benedict XVI for World Day of Peace

The theme chosen by POPE BENEDICT XVI in his very timely message for the celebration of WORLD DAY OF PEACE January 1st 2013 is  “blessed are the peacemakers” and he says very directly that those who are pro-life are the ‘true peacemakers’ and that those who support abortion promote a “false peace.”
 “Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.” And goes on to say that “Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of abortion, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace.”
Pope Benedict also defends marriage as being between a man and a woman and says, “serious harm to justice and peace” comes from denying the true principles of respect for life and promotion of the “natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”
The Pope addresses very directly the use of underhand methods of inserting phrases into legislation, which are ambiguous and subject to different interpretations.
“Neither is it just to introduce surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and the clever use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to life.”

The statement is so powerful we would encourage reading it in full. 
The full text can be found on this link.
We focus here on the aspects in which he deals with protection of human life, marriage and the importance of conscientious objection to the passing of unjust laws.
“Peacemakers are those who love, defend and promote life in its fullness”.

The path to the attainment of the common good and to peace is above all that of respect for human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end. True peacemakers, then, are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions, personal, communitarian and transcendent. Life in its fullness is the height of peace. Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.

Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of abortion, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace. The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenceless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace. Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn. Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment. Neither is it just to introduce surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and the clever use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to life.

There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.

These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.

Consequently, another important way of helping to build peace is for legal systems and the administration of justice to recognize the right to invoke the principle of conscientious objection in the face of laws or government measures that offend against human dignity, such as abortion and euthanasia.

Friday, December 14, 2012

How the Council of Europe is imposing abortion on Ireland and Poland

Dr Grégor Puppinck. PhD, Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) has written a thought provoking article pointing out that  despite the fact that the European Convention on Human Rights does not contain any so called right to abortion the  Convention has been deliberately manipulated to find (or manufacture) a procedural method of imposing abortion on both Ireland and Poland. It is decisions such as this that bring the European Court of Human Rights into disrepute

Dr Puppinck in his article asks:
How can a country, that refused abortion three times by referendums, be pressured to legalize it in the name of a Convention, which does not enshrine a right to abortion?
In Europe, Ireland is a symbol of resistance against abortion.  Nevertheless, Ireland is on the point of giving in to the concerted pressure of the Council of Europe and the pro-abortion lobbies.

Irish people have always been firmly opposed to abortion.   Since the 1980s, they have rejected the legalization of abortion three times, while affording equal constitutional protection to the life of the unborn child and that of the mother.  Abortion is therefore always prohibited, except when doctors consider it necessary to save the life of the mother.

However, the Council of Europe is at the heart of a campaign aiming to impose abortion ‘from the top’ onto people who refused it ‘from the bottom’ three times, by referendums in 1983, 1992 and 2002.

It is to be noted that the Council of Europe was created to defend democracy and human rights.  The European Court of Human Rights is part of the Council of Europe.  Its role is to ensure the observance, by member States, of human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.   States should abide by the judgments decided against them by the Court.  States are free to choose the most appropriate means to put right the violation found by the Court; and they are not required to adopt the various means possibly suggested by the Court in its judgments.   This execution of judgments is placed under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers, namely the ambassadors of the 47 Member States.

On the 16th December 2010, in the A., B. and C. v. Ireland case, whereas there is no right to abortion under the Convention, the Court condemned Ireland, considering that its legislation on abortion is not clear, as it did not allow a pregnant woman, who wanted to have an abortion, to know whether she qualified for an abortion according to the exception (to save the life of the mother).  That woman, having previously suffered from cancer, feared that the pregnancy would adversely affect her health.   Thinking that she would not be granted the medical permission for an abortion, she travelled to England where she underwent an abortion.

The A., B. and C. v. Ireland and the Tysiac v. Poland of the 20th March 2007 (no 5410/03) cases are the landmark abortion cases against Ireland and Poland, respectively.   In these cases, the women complained about their inability to have an abortion particularly due to the refusal of the doctors.   The two cases result from the clash between two approaches on this issue:  one, the women who demand abortion as if it were an individual right and, two, the doctors and the State who submit abortion to objective criteria, especially related to the life and the health of the mother.

In these two cases, the Court tried to favour greatly the expression and the freedom of the women, without directly confronting the State’s right to submit abortion to strict conditions.  To that end, the Court stated that if the State decides to authorize abortion, even exceptionally, it should create a coherent legal framework and a procedure allowing women to establish effectively their ‘right’ to abortion.  Thus, abortion is not imposed directly on Ireland and Poland, but by the peripheral way of the procedural obligations, which guarantee not a substantial right to abortion, but a procedural right of knowing whether one fulfils the right to access to an abortion.  This procedural approach obliges Ireland only to ‘clarify’ the concrete conditions of access to abortion; in actual practice, however, it goes far beyond that obligation.  This result is achieved while recognizing the absence of a right to abortion under the European Convention on Human Rights, and without its being necessary for the Court to comment on the prohibition in principle of abortion in Irish law.  In order to impose this procedural obligation, it suffices to affirm, starting from an exception from the prohibition on the ground of danger to the life of the mother, that there is a ‘right’ to abortion and that this ‘right’ falls within the scope of the Convention.

In order to execute the judgments as the Court recommends (a recommendation which is not compulsory), Ireland[1] and Poland will institute a decision-making mechanism to which women wishing to have an abortion will address their demands.  Ireland will probably follow the example of Poland, which in order to carry out the Tysiac v. Poland judgment established a ‘committee of experts’ in charge of deciding on a case by case basis whether the conditions of access to an abortion are fulfilled.  This committee will necessarily interpret and change those conditions.  The composition of this committee is decisive and is debated within the Council of Europe: the pro-abortion lobbies[2] would like to reduce the number of doctors on such committees in favour of other professions and categories (lawyers, representatives of NGOs, etc).  This request was backed by the UN Special Rapporteur for the right to health who affirms that ‘a commission composed exclusively of health professionals presents a structural flaw which is detrimental to its impartiality’[3].  This issue is important, as doctors have a scientific, objective and concrete approach to the causes justifying a possible abortion.  By contrast, lawyers and political organizations view abortion under the abstract angle of individual freedoms.  What is at stake in the debate on the composition of those committees is the definition of the nature of abortion; on one side it is considered from a concrete and medical point of view and, on the other side, from an abstract point of view and as an individual freedom.  If abortion is a freedom, its exercise inevitably clashes with the doctors’ assessment which is perceived as an illegitimate interference.  This confrontation is stronger when the doctors invoke their freedom of conscience to refuse to carry out an abortion.

Moreover, entrusting a committee with a decision to authorize an abortion makes this decision collective, dissolving the moral and legal responsibility of the decision into the entire committee.

The decisions of this committee should be timely, reasoned and in writing, to be challenged in the court system.  Thus, the final decision to authorize abortion will belong no longer to the doctors or the ‘committee of experts’, but to the judge who will ultimately interpret the criteria for access to abortion.  At present, no procedure has been proposed to challenge in the courts a decision authorizing abortion   In practice, only a decision of refusal can go before the courts.   Will the unborn child have a lawyer to represent and defend him/her in this committee?  There are no safeguards provided against the abusive interpretation by this committee of the legal conditions for access to abortion.  However, the pressure to allow for the legalization of abortion is very strong, especially from the European and international institutions[4].
Thus, the final interpretative power of the conditions for access to abortion will be transferred to the judicial power and ultimately to the European Court of Human Rights.   With such a mechanism, the European Court would soon be called on to decide on the reasons for decisions of refusal of those committees.   This would be a new opportunity to advance the right to abortion in Ireland.  Ultimately, the control of the framework of abortion is taken away from the legislator and to the doctor. Concerning the legislator, the decision in principle of whether to permit or not to permit abortion will no longer belong to the State and its citizens, because it is sufficient for the European Court to declare that there is actually a ‘right to abortion’ in Ireland, in order to impose this as a new and authentic interpretation of the Irish Constitution.  As to the doctor, his power will be transferred to the judge, guarantor of the respect for human rights.

During its 6th December 2012 meeting, the delegates to the Committee of Ministers invited Ireland to answer the issue of the ‘general prohibition of abortion in criminal law’, as it constitutes ‘a significant chilling factor for women and doctors because of the risk of criminal conviction and imprisonment’, inviting ‘the Irish authorities to expedite the implementation of the judgment (…) as soon as possible’[5].  Further considerations on the execution of this judgment will be resumed at the latest during the next meeting of the Committee of Ministers in March 2013.

Some questions arise:  why such pressure on Ireland and Poland, when they are among the best countries in the world in respect of maternal services, far ahead of France and the United States[6]?  Why transfer to the judge the responsibility of the doctor, when assessing the medical necessity of the abortion is the scientific responsibility of the doctor?  Why is it so urgent to legalize abortion?  Why did the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decide to give ‘precedence’ to these cases, when so many cases concerning torture, disappearances, and murders are treated under the ordinary procedure?  Maybe because abortion profoundly defines the culture of a country – its legalization has the value of a ritual passage into post-modernity, as it allows the domination of individual will over life, subjectivity over objectivity.

This process it is not ineluctable, it depends on the strength of the political will of the Irish and Polish Governments which can recall to the Council of Europe that their respective country has never engage to legalize abortion by ratifying the European Convention on Human Rights, simply because abortion is not a human right, but a derogation to the right to life guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights[7].
[1] See the Report of the official group of experts instituted by the Irish Government to propose ways of executing  the judgment, published in November 2012 et accessible to this address:
[2] See the communication of  the « Centre for reproductive rights » to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe  and the answer of the Polish Government DH-DD(2010)610E
[3] See the Report on Poland of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, M. Anand Grover, 20 May 2010, Human Rights Council, document n° A/HRC/14/20/Add.3).
[4] See the Report of the Human Rights Commissioner  on his visit in Ireland (26-30 November 2007), adopted on 30 April 2008 (CommDH(2008)9), the Report of the Committee for the elimination of discrimination  against women (« CEDAW »), of the High Commissioner Office of Human Rights of July 2005 (A/60/38(SUPP), the Periodical Report of the Human Rights Committee on the observance of the UN Covenant on civil and political rights (CCPR/C/IRL/CO/3, 30 July 2008).
[5] 1157DH meeting of the Ministers' Deputies 04 December 2012, Decision concerning the execution of A., B. and C. v. Ireland judgment.
[6] Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990-2010. Estimates Developed by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank, (last visited 20th November 2012).
[7] The European Centre for Law and Justice submitted a report to the Committee of Ministers on the execution of A. B. and C. v. Ireland DD(2012)917

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Critique of the Irish expert group report on abortion by the European Life Network , 2012.

Now that the expert group has reported we have had an opportunity of looking at its content and recommendations and have prepared a critique which we have posted on our website. We  question the entire basis on which the report is premised and reject many of the assertions set out in it.

The critique has been placed on our website and may be accessed on this link 
We have also set out some of our conclusions below

European Life Network conclusions

By defining abortion as necessary medical treatment, and by undermining the absolute prohibition on abortion in the Irish Constitution and Irish statute law, the expert report sets the scene for legislation which will lead to ever-wider permissions for abortion.
The history of abortion law in Great Britain shows that, over time, court judgments, new statutes, regulations and professional guidelines form a trend towards de facto abortion on demand.
The Oireachtas must reject the expert group if it wishes to avoid this scenario. It must find a way to overturn the X case judgment and any other element of law or public policy in Ireland which fails to apply Ireland’s constitutional and statutory ban on intentionally ending the lives of unborn children from the point of conception onwards. This will also protect the lives and dignity of women, in a country whose maternal health record is one of the best in the world.

We also appeal to Enda Kenny to honour the pro-life commitments made by him prior to the last election and we ask him to stand firm against the pressure from the Labour Party to legislate along the lines of the seriously flawed 'X' case judgement.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fine Gael deputy demands referendum

Fine Gael Deputy James Bannon from Lonford/Westmeath  was very explicit, during his  speech Thirsday 6th December, in his demand for a referendum to ensure the right to life of the unborn remains protected in Ireland.
The Final Paragraph reads:
There must be a referendum in this case. As a member of the Constitutional Convention, I am particularly aware of the need to engage with the broader context of the Constitution in this matter for the protection of women and the unborn. A blurring of the provision of Article 40.3.3° and the two-patient model it inspires is not the way forward. A referendum is the only way to finally judge the view and wishes of the nation in this matter. I am totally opposed to abortion and would not stand over any legislation that would introduce abortion on demand in this country.
Deputy Bannon’s full speech may be accessed on this link
It is also reprinted here below: 
''...In order to discuss this report and its ramifications, we must focus on the findings of the expert group and their implications for the issue of abortion legislation. However, given the tragic circumstances of Savita Halappanavar's death in Galway in late October and the efforts of both sides - the pro and anti-abortion lobbies - it is impossible not to include it in any discussion of A, B and C v. Ireland and the report before us.
That this sad occurrence is now an integral discussion point associated with the findings of the report is a testament to the power of the media and indicative of an exercise in opportunism, shamefully focused on the death of Savita. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt sympathy to her husband and family. While I cannot adequately express my horror at the sad death of Savita, I have had a sense of disquiet from the moment her situation was highlighted. The timing of the release of the information regarding her circumstances on the morning after the report under discussion was given to the Minister for Health was questionable to say the least. I am sure that it was no coincidence that, although she died on 28 October, her death was not extensively reported until the day after this report was delivered to the Minister. The circumstances of her death have been shamefully used as a justification mechanism by both the pro and anti-abortion lobbies.
One could perhaps call the revelations about Savita's death coincidental, but the resultant media outbursts and overwrought reactions seem too opportunistic for that. From being a weapon to try to force the Government's hand, I hope that calm will prevail and that this report will be assessed and viewed in an independent light. However, I am anxious that any legislation should not be rushed through in a knee-jerk reaction to the report, the death of Savita and the other matters that are impacting on it.
Having had major reservations about the timing of the news of Savita's death, the publication of which came as a shock and surprise to her family, the fact that there is now a question mark over some of the reporting of the facts of the case only serves to add credence to the opportunism of the exposure of this tragic death. I am shocked to read that the sequence of events may have been at least muddled but, at worst, distorted. That what was reported or not reported, whatever way one looks at it, prompted a recent independent inquiry into the death of Savita, was inexcusable.
Despite the worldwide reporting to the contrary, Ireland is not in the dark ages medically. I have always been of the opinion that judgment should be reserved until the independent reports into Savita's death have been published. Medical opinion at the highest level is divided on this case, but only an in-depth investigation or investigations will give all of the facts. That people with little or no medical background are rushing to judgment and being listened to is extraordinary.
While it could be said that discussing the circumstances of Savita's situation is to diverge from the matters concerning us vis-à-vis this report, timing and media intervention have made it part and parcel of any discussion on abortion or abortion-related topics. The most important aspect of the current report is that it shows the need to bring clarity for the health of the women of Ireland and those treating them. It should not be regarded as an invitation for the pro and anti sides of the abortion debate to stir up that debate in a manner that is designed to cloud the issues as presented by the report.

It is essential that we try to separate this report on the A, B and C v. Ireland case from the upcoming reports into the death of Savita Halappanavar so as to provide clarity and safety for mothers-to-be and to copperfasten guidelines for the medical profession.
Abortion in cases of potential suicide is very much an ongoing debate. It is a particularly grey area and one that is open to abuse. Should this provision be included in any future legislation, it would require medical guarantees and judgements, which would be extremely difficult, given that a decision would have to be made in what would necessarily be a fraught and rushed scenario. The threat of suicide is used as a tool in many different ways. I speak outside and beyond the area of the termination of pregnancy, but the implicit threat of suicide is one that is extremely difficult to rationalise and could lead to abortion on demand in the broadest sense. While there is, as yet, a lack of well-established medical evidence, it is held that abortion can negatively affect a woman's mental health. However, in a recent poll on the X Case, 85% of respondents said they supported legislation allowing abortion where the mother's life is threatened, including by suicide; 10% said they would not support it and; 5% said they did not know. On the other hand, a separate question excluding the threat of suicide as grounds for termination was supported by 63%. Such surveys are totally dependent on the way questions are framed and are by no means conclusive.
While I fully agree with the need for legal certainty and clear guidelines for pregnant women, the issue of threatened suicide is likely to be potentially abused. I do not believe the unintentional death of a baby while medical care is given to the mother should be regarded as abortion. I do not advocate the viewpoint of the Catholic Church or any other organisation, but the church, despite accusations to the contrary, does not teach that the life of the child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother but rather that both are sacred with an equal right to life. In addition, where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of the child at risk, such intervention is ethically permissible provided every option has been exhausted to save both the mother and the child. It is standard medical practice in this country to do everything possible to save the life of a pregnant woman when complications arise. That may include interventions which result unintentionally in the death of a baby. Death in such circumstances does not constitute abortion. As it stands, the Medical Council's guidelines are very clear. Women in pregnancy must receive all necessary medical treatment to protect their lives, even where the death of the baby unavoidably results. The Supreme Court has already established that women with complications whose lives are at risk must have, or be allowed, therapeutic intervention.
Much abuse has been heaped on the situation in Ireland and the lack of availability of abortion on demand. It might be more appropriate to consider the benefits or otherwise of such a determination by the State. In the UK, for example, 6 million abortions have taken place since the introduction into law there of the Abortion Act in 1967. That is now leading to a situation where people consider it a right to abort a foetus on grounds of sex or even to take matters to extremes, which might be implausible as yet, on the basis of eye colour. What makes it a right of the human condition to abort a foetus at will or on a whim? I hope that will never be the situation in this country where we have forged a medically and morally acceptable protection of the mother, while accepting the right to life of the unborn. We have come a long way in this country since the days when a husband would be told in the same breath that his wife had died and that he had a beautiful baby girl or boy. The reality was often indescribably tragic. A family might already consist of six or more children who would be left without a mother and a grieving husband without a wife. Sense has prevailed and directed our actions. I hope that will continue to be the case.
I am puzzled by the statement of the Taoiseach late last month that he wanted to get "maximum consensus" to settle the divisive issue of abortion. He further elaborated by saying this is not a matter for any individual parties, this is a matter for the country to get maximum consensus on what is the best and correct thing to do here. I could not agree more but, nonetheless, I am at a loss to know how that can be achieved without a referendum. Such consensus would be extremely hard to gauge without a referendum. However, the Taoiseach has ruled out a referendum and we are told there is no appetite in the country for such. That is not the case and after 20 years of foot-dragging by previous Administrations, we urgently need to gauge the view of the country and to adhere to people's wishes on the matter.
There must be a referendum in this case. As a member of the Constitutional Convention, I am particularly aware of the need to engage with the broader context of the Constitution in this matter for the protection of women and the unborn. A blurring of the provision of Article 40.3.3° and the two-patient model it inspires is not the way forward. A referendum is the only way to finally judge the view and wishes of the nation in this matter. I am totally opposed to abortion and would not stand over any legislation that would introduce abortion on demand in this country.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Reports suggest launch of "same-sex" marriage bill by Cameron Government next week

Following indications that the Cameron government plans to launch its bill for same-sex marriage next week, a leading pro-family group has written to government MPs warning them against the move.

The letter, from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) slams the government's railroading of its proposals as "dishonest", "high-handed" and "shoddy".  SPUC points out that the family based on real (i.e heterosexual) marriage is the safest place for children both born and unborn. The letter ends by warning that at the next general election SPUC will highlight MPs' voting records on same-sex marriage.

The full text of SPUC's letter to MPs is below.
I write regarding a story that the Government plans to launch its bill for same‐sex marriage next week.

If the story is correct, it is consistent with the thoroughly dishonest and dishonourable way the government and its allies have attacked real marriage. In the marriage consultation exercise earlier this year, Mr Cameron sought in a high‐handed manner to discuss only "how" to achieve his aims, and not to consider whether they have merit or public support. To hang his proposals on a non‐manifesto plan to "consider the case for changing the law" on civil partnerships is another shoddy manoeuvre.

Marriage is embedded in the fabric of society. Marriage is unquestionably the best setting for children to be conceived, born and raised and to receive their first education. The marriage‐based family is also (and critically for us who defend unborn children) the safest social context for new life. Contributors to the consultation exercise drew attention to the evidence of the benefits of real marriage, the support for it, its ancient pre‐political heritage, its worldwide status, and the approach of mainstream religions. However, drawing attention to the enormity of his folly only seems to have made Mr Cameron more determined.

We will continue to point out the hypocrisy of asserting that "equal marriage" will not interfere with church weddings. Those planning the legislation know full well that churches which refuse to co‐operate will be denied civil recognition of their marriage rites or face worse persecution.

The recent by‐election results have proven disappointing for both Conservative and Lib‐Dem parties. This is not surprising, given the usual run of mid‐term contests. What was most notable was the strong showing by UKIP, which broadly supports real marriage. SPUC has never taken a party political line, but we do tell people where individual election candidates stand, and our activists have highlighted the position of UKIP candidates alongside others in these contests. We will continue to inform electors of candidates' voting records and voting intentions on a wide range of issues in future elections.

I urge you to ask Mr Cameron to reconsider and to withdraw his plan.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Tully

General Secretary Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)

SPUC's position paper on the same-sex marriage issue can be read on this link

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Irish Bishops initial statement following publication of the report of the expert group on abortion on the Judgement in the A,B and C case

We report today on the statement of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference on Wednesday Dec.4th. who issued their initial response  to the Report of the Expert Group on the Judgement in A,B and C v Ireland. We also include a YouTube recording of Bishop Leo O'Reilly who was interviewed by RTE immediately prior to the release of the statement.
Initial response by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference to the Report of the Expert Group on the Judgement in A,B and C v Ireland

A society that believes the right to life is the most fundamental of all rights cannot ignore the fact that abortion is first and foremost a moral issue.

As a society we have a particular responsibility to ensure this right is upheld on behalf of those who are defenceless, voiceless or vulnerable.  This includes our duty as a society to defend and promote the equal right to life of a pregnant mother and the innocent and defenceless child in her womb when the life of either of these persons is at risk.

By virtue of their common humanity the life of a mother and her unborn baby are both sacred.  They have an equal right to life.  The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother.  Where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are morally permissible provided every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby.

Abortion, understood as the direct and intentional destruction of an unborn baby, is gravely immoral in all circumstances.  This is different from medical treatments which do not directly and intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn baby.

Current law and medical guidelines in Ireland allow nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals to apply this vital distinction in practice. This has been an important factor in ensuring that Irish hospitals are among the safest and best in the world in terms of medical care for both a mother and her unborn baby during pregnancy.  As a country this is something we should cherish, promote and protect.

The Report of the Expert Group on the Judgement in A, B and C v Ireland has put forward options that could end the practice of making this vital ethical distinction in Irish hospitals. Of the four options presented by the Report, three involve abortion – the direct and intentional killing of an unborn child.  This can never be morally justified.  The judgement of the European Court of Human Rights does not oblige the Irish Government to legislate for abortion.

Other aspects of the Report also give rise to concerns.  These include, but are not limited to the fact that:

The judgement of the European Court of Human Rights permits options on this matter of fundamental moral, social and constitutional importance that are not offered by this Report.  This includes the option of introducing a constitutional prohibition on abortion or another form of constitutional amendment to reverse the ‘X-case’ judgement.
The Report provides no ethical analysis of the options available, even though this is first and foremost a moral issue and consideration of the ethical dimension was included in the Terms of Reference.
The Report takes no account of the risks involved in trying to legislate for so-called ‘limited abortion’ within the context of the ‘X-case’ judgement.  The ‘X-case’ judgement includes the threat of suicide as grounds for an abortion.  International experience shows that allowing abortion on the grounds of mental health effectively opens the floodgates for abortion.
The Report also identifies Guidelines as an option.  It notes that Guidelines can help to ensure consistency in the delivery of medical treatment.  If Guidelines can provide greater clarity as to when life-saving treatment may be provided to a pregnant mother or her unborn child within the existing legislative framework, and where the direct and intentional killing of either person continues to be excluded, then such ethically sound Guidelines may offer a way forward.

A matter of this importance deserves sufficient time for a calm, rational and informed debate to take place before any decision about the options offered by the Expert Group Report are taken.  All involved, especially public representatives, must consider the profound moral questions that arise in responding to this Report. Abortion is gravely immoral in all circumstances, no matter how ‘limited’ access to abortion may be.

Interview with Bishop Leo O'Reilly, Bishop of Kilmore