Irish Catholic Bishops criticise government over abortion stance 4 months ago

Irish Catholic Bishops criticise government over abortion stance

A message was read out at masses across the country this morning criticising the government for "changing the narrative" on abortion.

Five years on since Ireland's abortion referendum, the Catholic Church are marking the occasion by both delivering a critical message to mass-goers and the distributing of a two-page document entitled 'Abortion: Changing the Narrative'.


The move by Irish bishops comes in the wake of a government decision to refer a recently commissioned review of Irish abortion services to the Oireachtas' joint committee on health.

Contained within the report are multiple legislative reform recommendations to the country's abortion services, which the Catholic Church have taken exception to.

Bishops abortion Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said that he will bring the abortion review before Cabinet. (Credit: Rolling News)

In their two-page document, bishops state their belief that the Health Act of 2018 (the law regulating the termination of pregnancies), will be repealed in the coming years.

The pamphlet also welcomes statements by numerous Oireachtas members who have spoken out against the liberalisation of the current law.

"We will continue, however, to encourage a greater political acceptance that abortion is not the solution to a crisis pregnancy".

The bishops went on to add that the recommendations contained within the report were "clearly aimed" at making the current abortion legislation "more effective in that taking of human life".


One issue of particular contention is that of the mandatory three-day waiting period between a patient's first medical consultation and the termination of pregnancy.

Politicians such as Labour leader Ivana Bacik have campaigned for the removal of the waiting period, a want which was supported in the government review which suggested that women only be advised that they have the option of a reflection period, which they could exercise at their own discretion.

Bishops abortion Labour leader Ivana Bacik has backed calls to remove the mandatory three-day waiting period to access termination services. (Credit: Rolling News)

However, the bishops claim that this recommendation would weaken protection for both women and their babies.

They also oppose the recommendation that the 12-week window for pregnancy termination be extended under certain circumstances.

Broaching the topic of safe access zones, a proposal which would see the removal of the right to protest outside of a facility providing abortions, the bishops said that the government would be making a mistake by limiting the right to peaceful assembly.

"This would not be the action of a State which purports to present itself as having liberal-democratic values", the pamphlet read. Furthermore, they believe that those who conscientiously object to abortion must be able to "express their concerns in a respectful non-violent manner".

Concluding the document handed out to the nation's mass attendees on Sunday morning, the bishops asked people of faith to be confident in sharing their pro-life views at home, in their place of work and amongst their friends.


Adding that those people of faith should "be present to women in crisis pregnancy", the bishops called on parishioners to sign up to the Pray for Life Novena which is set to take place at the end of May.

Related Articles: