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DUBLIN, Ireland, October 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) —The leader of Ireland’s Catholics, Archbishop Eamon Martin, is under attack for defending the Eighth Amendment of the country’s constitution, which gives the unborn equal rights to those of the mother.

Martin, the primate of Ireland and president of the Irish Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement on Oct. 1 marking The Day of Life by lauding the Eighth Amendment, which Irish feminists and foreign human rights organizations are trying to abolish, and defending the unborn whatever their condition, disability, or expected lifespan might be.

“The medical prognosis for the life of a child in the womb, or the extent of that child’s disabilities, is no more morally relevant than it is when considering an adult who faces the diagnosis of a life-limiting condition,” he said.

He was careful to also call for “comprehensive perinatal hospice services for women and their families responding to a diagnosis of life-limiting disability for their unborn child.”

Nonetheless, the archbishop came under attack as “callous” and “hurtful” by a group called Termination for Medical Reasons (TFMR). It insisted Archbishop Martin had “deliberately conflated” unborn babies with “fatal foetal anomalies” with those with “disabilities or life-limiting conditions.”

But in fact Archbishop Martin never mentioned “fatal foetal anomalies.”   

Nonetheless, the group continued with a description of fatal foetal anomalies, a clear attempt to strengthen the call for the Eighth Amendment’s repeal by citing the most extreme cases in justification. “It is a fact that babies die as a result of foetal abnormalities”— an obvious “conflation” of all fetal abnormalities with fatal ones.

“This death,” continued TFMR, “may occur during the pregnancy, during delivery or shortly thereafter. There is no intervention or treatment available which can alter this outcome.”

Not so, says Tracy Harkin of Every Life Counts, a support group for families with severely disabled children, talking about preborn babies who are alive and kicking at the time a diagnosis is made. “My own daughter, Kathleen Rose, is now nine and living with Trisomy 13, a so-called ‘fatal abnormality.’ The fact remains that many babies with these severe disabilities do have very short lives, but their families say that time together is precious, is important and is a bridge to healing.”

Harkin insisted, “Parents who have lost their babies to life-limiting conditions such as anencephaly and Trisomy 13 have welcomed Archbishop Eamon Martin's call for continued legal protection for preborn babies with life-limiting conditions.”

She added, “I'm glad that Archbishop Martin spoke up for the right to life of my child, and of every child who is valuable and important despite their disability.”

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