We recently published our first draft of an analysis of the Irish Government’s proposed legislation on abortion in conjunction with the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). We have since then continued along with SPUC to work on our analysis and now link to John Smeaton’sBLOG and to our joint final report.
John Smeaton writes
I have no doubt that the Irish government's legislative proposals on abortion will be used by the international pro-abortion lobby, worldwide, as a "model" for majority Catholic countries. It's essential that pro-life citizens, politicians and church leaders worldwide study this Bill - not least SPUC's full analysis of it http://www.spuc.org.uk/documents/papers/2013/ireland20130524Deceptively entitled Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 (my emphasis) the Irish Government’s legislative proposals strip the right to life from children before, and even during, birth in a broad range of circumstances.Their Bill will compel all maternity hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to provide abortions. It will greatly increase the small number of abortions of questionable legality which are performed annually in Ireland.It is urgently necessary that Catholic politicians are warned that support for the legislation would be contrary to Catholic teaching. In particular Catholics supporting these legislative proposals should be warned not to receive Holy Communion. Furthermore Catholic hospitals should be forbidden by Ireland’s bishops to provide abortion, if the legislative proposals are enacted.In brief:The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill (2013) if passed will mark a radical change in Ireland's abortion law. In many aspects the Bill is more permissive than the British Abortion Act (1967):It repeals the comprehensive protection of unborn children under the Offences Against the Person Act (1861). It strips the right to life from children before, and even during, birth in a broad range of circumstances. Threats to life need not be inevitable or immediate.It permits abortion on the grounds of suicidal ideation – once again, even when a threat of suicide is neither inevitable nor immediate.Its numerous inconsistencies and ill-defined terms (eg "good faith", "reasonable opinion" and "due regard") render the Bill's limited protection of children virtually unenforceable.The Bill fails to consider developments in science and legal precedent:Its arbitrary and unscientific definition of "unborn" excludes all unimplanted embryos conceived naturally or by artificial means leaving such embryos vulnerable to exploitation.This definition ignores the implications of recent Irish case-law which identifies the point of genetic fusion of parental DNA (ie fertilisation, not implantation) as decisive in establishing motherhood.The Bill violates rights guaranteed by the Irish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, including the equal right to life and freedom of conscience:It will compel medical personnel to participate in abortion in some ways, while offering no protection to other professionals.It will compel maternity hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to provide abortions.It legalises abortion without the consent of a pregnant woman in undefined “emergency” situations.This Bill is so dangerously and deeply flawed that successful amendment of it is impossible. It should therefore be withdrawn in its entirety. If passed, this Bill will hugely increase the number of abortions carried out in Ireland. It is, without doubt, a Bill proposing a clearly unjust law and it must be resisted at every level.