Abortion must be an issue in election - bishop
Christians must make the protection of unborn children an election issue, and politicians must be questioned "politely but firmly" about their intentions on the liberalisation of abortion, Bishop Kevin Doran has said.
Commenting on the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment, the Bishop of Elphin hit out at "political posturing" around the "only remaining protection" for "unborn children in the legal system". He said that this "protection has already been significantly eroded in recent years" and he urged Christians to challenge politicians on their track record in this area.
The bishop, who is well known for his pro-life views, said that, as Christians and as citizens, people needed to engage with the candidates about "the questions that really matter, not just to ourselves personally, but to our society as a whole".
Separately, the Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Richard Clarke expressed concern over a push to liberalise abortion, warning it could result in a "eugenics culture" and pressure on parents of unborn disabled children to abort.
The Archbishop said there was anxiety that liberalisation would "begin a process where, if there is any risk that a child may be disabled in any way, then a mother will be under pressure to have an abortion".
Archbishop Clarke highlighted that there were "exceptional times", when a mother's life is at stake, when "an abortion may sadly be morally justified" but he added that it was "still a horrifying and a sad thing".
On the issue of fatal foetal abnormality, the 66-year-old Primate highlighted that most doctors were "more chary than politicians" on this issue.
"We don't always know for certain that a child may not survive outside the womb for even a short period, and that brief time may sometimes be of great comfort to parents."
Recalling the death of his wife in a hospice in 2009, the Archbishop, who has two children, said it had made him personally very engaged with end-of-life issues.