DUBLIN, December 20, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - The government of the Irish Republic announced Tuesday that legislation will be brought forward to “clarify” under what circumstances abortion is allowed under Irish law. The bill follows months of increasingly shrill demands by abortion lobbyists insisting that Ireland’s pro-life law is a “threat to women’s lives,” despite the evidence that Ireland has the best ratings for maternal mortality and morbidity in the world.
“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,” said James Reilly, Ireland’s minister of health and children. “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.”
These are words “no true Irish man or woman wanted to hear from an Irish government,” John Smeaton, the head of SPUC said.
The legislation, put forward amidst the ongoing confusion over the death of a young Indian mother from complications related to a miscarriage, will create “regulation for abortion,” the government said. It will repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The government, Reilly said, is aware of the “sensitivities” on the subject, but held that “ensuring the safety of pregnant women was a priority.”
The announcement was immediately followed by a statement from the four Catholic archbishops of Ireland, who called for members of Dail Éireann (Deputies, or TDs) to be given a free vote and encouraged “all to pray that our public representatives will be given the wisdom and courage to do what is right.”
“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,” the archbishops said. “This can never be morally justified in any circumstances.”
The bishops pointed out the flaw of working from the 1992 X Case, in which the Supreme Court ruled that a woman must be allowed to have an abortion if her “life is threatened,” even if she were a 14 year-old girl threatening suicide.
“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,” they said. “To legislate on the basis of such a flawed judgment 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.”
Niamh Uí Bhriain, head of the Life Institute, spoke to LifeSiteNews.com, saying the day is a “black day for Ireland.”
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Speaking of the Fine Gael government, she said, “The way in which they have wholeheartedly embraced this proposal to legislate for X has shocked a lot of people who voted for them.” During the last election campaign, Fine Gael specifically promised that they would never legislate for abortion.
Uí Bhriain said the problem started when Fine Gael opted to form a coalition government with the heavily pro-abortion, far-left Labour Party. “There have always been liberal elements in Fine Gael who have wanted legalised abortion,” she said, but the coalition gave them the leverage they needed to bring the legislation to reality.
She said she believes that the sudden enthusiasm for abortion legislation came about as a “deal” Fine Gael made with Labour to push through economic austerity legislation for which they did not have enough support alone. She called it a matter of “rank opportunism”.
“They’ve made a deal with them,” she said: “‘If you put through our economic legislation, we’ll give you abortion.’”
She added that it furthermore, in light of a series of attacks by the Prime Minister last year, it seems obvious that Enda Kenny “does seem to have a gripe with the Catholic Church.”
“I don’t know if this is part of Enda Kenny’s personal crusade, but if it is, and he as a personal grudge against the Church, don’t take it out on unborn children,” she said.
She said that if the measure passes, her organisation was going to ensure that “every voter in this country knows that Fine Gale are the abortion party.”
“We are going to make sure that voters know that the person who gave them a pro-life promise is going to bring in an abortion regime similar to that of Britain.”