No obligation to legislate for X rape case, claims bishop
The Government is under no obligation to legislate for the X Case, the Bishop of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley declared yesterday.
He also warned that the legislation proposed by the Government could lead to a more "permissive" regime and said the Government was not listening to those who opposed abortion.
"It is certain, as has happened in all other countries, that over time this legislation will be interpreted in an ever more permissive way. There is no such thing as a restrictive abortion regime," he said in a pastoral letter issued yesterday. "Every citizen, not just people of faith, should be deeply concerned."
He added: "The Government is proposing to introduce legislation for the first time in Irish history which will provide for the direct and intentional ending of the life of innocent human beings. Few other actions of a government undermine our values as a people more profoundly. It is always gravely wrong to deliberately end or destroy a human life or to facilitate this through legislation."
Dr Buckley said that tens of thousands of women, men and children gathered in Dublin recently to express their support for the equal right to life of mothers and their unborn children.
"Every human life is sacred. Every human life is precious. Biology and technology show that an individual human life begins at conception. The child in the womb must enjoy the same human rights as all other people, among which is the unassailable right of an innocent person to life.
"The bill is not necessary to ensure that women receive the life-saving treatments they need during pregnancy. The medical treatment of mothers whose lives are in danger is always morally permissible," Dr Buckley said.
"People supporting abortion are blurring the distinction between medical intervention and an abortion which is the direct ending of the life of the unborn child."
Dr Buckley said that there was "no clinical research or textbooks in psychiatry" which supported the idea that abortion was an appropriate treatment for pregnant women with suicidal intent.
Dr Buckley told TDs that they should remember "that they are voting for a bill without limits and that there is no opt-out clause for Catholic hospitals and healthcare workers. Not even Britain, with its permissive abortion laws, goes that far".
He added: "Also, those public representatives who represent us, through the mandate we have conferred on them, are not allowed to exercise their right of freedom of conscience in relation to how they vote on this issue. No one has the right to coerce people to act against their conscience. This is the foundation of a free and civilised society."