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DUBLIN, August 1, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ireland’s Catholic bishops have declared that Catholic hospitals will remain pro-life and not commit abortions. But, Ireland’s homosexual Prime Minister has threatened to force them to do so. 

In their “Code of Ethical Standards for Healthcare”, published in June, the Irish bishops forbade Catholic institutions and doctors from committing or colluding with the murder of preborn children. 

“No healthcare facility or practitioner should provide, or refer a patient for, an abortion, i.e. any procedure, treatment or medication whose primary purpose or sole immediate effect is to terminate the life of a foetus or of an embryo before or after implantation,” the directive states. 

“Such procedures, treatments and medications are morally wrong because they involve the direct and deliberate killing of, or a direct lethal assault on, an innocent human life in the earliest stages of development” (2.24)

The Code does not refer to the recent referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which protected the right to life of the unborn child. Irish citizens voted to end the constitutional protection of the young humans by 66.4%.  

But the Code does seem to address the possibility that conscientious Catholic health workers may have to flout new laws demanding abortion procedures. It states that if there is a clash between the law and the guidelines it present, the law should be obeyed—except when it conflicts with the “fundamental and inalienable” rights of the human being. Such laws are in conflict with the “common good”, it said, and do not “command obedience.”

Representatives of  Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference have given a copy of the “Code” to representatives of Ireland’s pro-abortion government. 

The document seemingly went unnoticed until the Times reported that the Irish Catholic hospitals were “set to ban abortion”.  It detailed that the Code also forbade the dissemination of contraception, the mutilation called “gender reassignment surgery”, most “assisted reproduction procedures”, particularly to homosexual couples and to unmarried women, and pro-abortion counselling. 

The Code also questions the ethics of using prenatal screening as a way to search for and destroy the disabled. 

‘Conscientious objection is for individuals, not institutions.’

The Times report inspired Ireland’s pro-abortion Minister for Health Simon Harris to tweet a demand that every last hospital in Ireland be prepared to commit abortion.

“All publicly funded health services providers in State will be expected to provide legal health services- incl. women’s health services,” he pronounced on Twitter. “This should be a statement of the obvious! Conscientious objection is for individuals, not institutions.” 

The Irish government is expected to introduce abortion-on-demand for women whose preborn children are under 12 weeks’ gestation by the end of the year. Harris also wants to force all conscientious objectors among Ireland’s doctors to refer pregnant women to doctors willing to end the lives of their preborn children. 

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute told LifeSiteNews that Harris seemed “hellbent” on bullying both pro-life doctors and Catholic institutions.

“Minister Harris has already said he will try to force doctors to take part in the abortion process by insisting that they must refer for abortions, despite the opposition of the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) who represent the vast majority of family doctors,” she said. 

A poll of NAGP members showed that 80% did not want to commit abortions and that they were strongly opposed to measures that would force doctors to refer for abortion.

“Harris responded by saying he would force them to do so, and that doctors would have to obey the law,” Uí Bhriain said.

‘The Church should no longer be at the centre of public life’

At least 20 hospitals and medical clinics in Ireland are still administered by the Catholic Church. How long this will continue is an open question. Ireland’s Prime Minister, or Taoiseach (Chieftain), Leo Varadkar, said last week that taxpayer-funded hospitals could be taken from their religious owners to ensure that the Catholic church is no longer at “the centre of public life”.

Saying that there needed to be a “wider debate” about Catholic ownership of tax-funded schools and hospitals, Varadkar stated: “A lot of our hospitals are publicly owned and publicly funded, but a lot are publicly funded but not publicly owned.“

“My view is that we should separate the church and state; that the Church should no longer be at the centre of public life…” he continued. 

Varadkar also implied that Catholic healthcare and Catholic education are not appropriate for “a modern country”:

“[The Catholic Church] shouldn’t be banished from Irish public life,” he said. “We need to work out a process and a system over the next couple of years when it comes to both health and education to make sure that the approach is one that is more appropriate for a modern country.”

Irish Health Care System in ‘Chaos’ 

Niamh Uí Bhriain told LifeSiteNews that “real healthcare services” are lacking for the 700,000 people on the Irish health services, that the Irish health system is in “chaos” under Harris, and the government’s bullying may “backfire”. 

“This small-minded bullying may well backfire on the Minister,” she said. “GP services are in crisis because there simply aren’t enough doctors in general practice in Ireland, and this is set to worsen as record levels of doctors emigrate and others retire.”  

“There are many pro-life doctors who will move to a different area of medicine if Harris tries to force them to refer one of their patients – the preborn child – to be killed. If these GPs, and some Catholic hospitals, are forced out of service by bully tactics on abortion, then already hard-pressed patients will suffer the consequences,” Uí Bhriain continued.

“That may well be the price the people will be forced to bear for yet another failure of a Minister for Health who seems fixated on abortion instead of real healthcare.”