DUBLIN, October 2, 2013 ( – An Irish priest has announced that he is resigning from the board of Dublin’s largest maternity hospital after the hospital announced that they would be complying with the law requiring them to commit abortions.

The recently passed Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, which has not yet come into effect, allows for direct abortions in cases where there is “a risk to the life of a woman as a result of her pregnancy, including risk of suicide.” The law names 25 hospitals around Ireland, several of which are Catholic, that are obliged to make direct abortion available.  

Fr. Kevin Doran told The Irish Catholic he could not “in conscience remain” as a member of either the board of directors or governors of Mater Misericordia Hospital, one of those 25 hospitals named by the abortion law. 


“I can confirm that I have resigned because I can’t reconcile my own conscience personally with the statement, largely because I feel a Catholic hospital has to bear witness,” he is quoted saying. “It’s about bearing witness to Gospel values alongside providing excellent care.” 

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After Doran told Irish media in August that the hospital “could not” do abortions because of its “Catholic ethos,” the hospital last week said it would comply after all. 

“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,” Mater’s statement said. The Irish Catholic reports that the hospital administration has refused to offer further clarifications, saying there would be “no elaboration on the statement”. 

Fr. Doran’s decision has been lauded by the country’s leading pro-life activists, with Niamh Ui Bhriain, head of the Life Institute, saying, however, that it “leaves many questions unanswered”. 

Ui Bhriain told that the hospital’s decision “is appalling on many levels”.  She took special exception to the hospital’s claim that abortion could be a “compassionate” “service” to women. 

Ui Bhriain particularly criticised the hospital’s refusal to offer further explanations. “This is a Catholic hospital under the Sisters of Mercy who also sit on the board. Has the congregation now agreed to perform abortions? Is the ethos of the hospital now to end human life under a law enacted for political rather than medical purposes?” 

Pro-life Irish observers, she added, are asking why the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity who run St. Vincent’s hospital that is also named in the Act, have not had the “courage to stand up in defiance of this political bullying”. 

“Abortion is not medically necessary and these hospitals will not just be casting aside their Catholic ethos, but their duty to ‘do no harm’ in carrying out abortions.”