Hilary White


Dublin Catholic hospital announces it will comply with new abortion law

Hilary White

DUBLIN, September 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A leading Catholic hospital in Ireland has announced they will not oppose the government’s order that they comply with the country’s new abortion law, which requires the hospital to make abortion available in certain circumstances through all nine months of pregnancy.

Mater Misericordia (Mother of Mercy) hospital is Ireland’s largest maternity hospital. It said in a media release that the board made the decision based on considerations of “compassion, concern and clinical care.” 

“The Mater Hospital has carefully considered the Act. The Hospital’s priority is to be at the frontier of compassion, concern and clinical care for all our patients. Having regard to that duty, the Hospital will comply with the law as provided for in the act,” the statement read. 

The new Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 names 25 hospitals around Ireland, several of which are Catholic, that are obliged to make direct abortion available. 

Early in August the hospital, founded in 1861 by the Sisters of Mercy, caused a small flurry of media interest when a board member, Fr. Kevin Doran said that, given the institution’s Catholic “ethos,” it could not comply with the law. The Minister for Health, James Reilly, immediately replied that the law does not allow for institutions to opt out on conscience grounds. 

To date, Mater is the only one of the Catholic institutions that has publicly hesitated to comply with the new law. 

Dublin’s Catholic archbishop and Mater’s president, Diarmuid Martin, responding to a reporter’s question, said he would be seeking “further clarification” on the hospital’s statement. 

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“There have been extremely complicated (pregnancies) and I know that they are scrupulous in the policy of trying to defend both the life of the mother and the unborn child,” said the bishop. “I hope that that continues.” 

One Catholic bishop in the United States, however, had stronger words for the threat both to unborn children and to religious freedom posed by the new Irish law. In a brief article in the US Catholic magazine First Things, James D. Conley, the bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, warned starkly that the decision to force Catholic hospitals to abort unborn babies could be the start of a disastrous slide towards a hard persecution by secularists. 

Bishop Conley started by reminding the Irish people, “In 1652, Catholicism was made illegal in Ireland” and by 1673, military and civil officials were required to swear an oath denying the key Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation. Refusal could result in exile, imprisonment or death. 

“By all accounts, Mater Hospital will abandon its commitment to the gospel in favor of a false doctrine of ‘compassion, concern and clinical care’,” Conley wrote. “But there is no compassion in the direct killing of children. There is no concern for patients when mental health is treated by violence.” 

He cited the celebrated St. Oliver Plunkett, the Catholic bishop who refused to flee Ireland or recant his faith, and was hanged in July 1681, calling him “a patron of conscience”. 

“Increasingly, Catholics are told that if they cannot conform to secular morality, they should leave the secular sphere,” Bishop Conley wrote. “That Catholic hospitals must compromise, or be exiled. But we cannot abandon our flocks. Like the Irish of St. Plunkett’s time, the unborn need the loving protection of the Church.” 

He concluded, “St. Oliver Plunkett gave his life for an invisible truth: the Eucharist. The unborn are not invisible, they are not hidden. They are alive, unique, and endowed with dignity. They need the protection of the Church. May we stand with them, now and forever.”

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