Repeal will lead to abortion on demand - bishop
The Bishop of Ferns has warned that repealing the Eighth Amendment will lead to abortion on demand with the vast majority of terminations not involving "hard cases" such as rape and a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality.
In a pastoral letter issued yesterday, Bishop Denis Brennan warned: "This is not a referendum about abortion in limited circumstances."
If the referendum passed, he said, the proposed law would permit abortion on demand in the first three months of pregnancy, which is when about 90pc of terminations take place.
"The vast majority of these will not involve hard cases. Both the mothers and their babies will almost always be perfectly healthy," Dr Brennan said.
Referring to the Supreme Court ruling last month, he said it had made clear that should the Eighth Amendment be removed, an unborn child up to 12 weeks of age will have no rights at all in Ireland and "this breath-taking possibility should stop all of us in our tracks".
His comments come as the Together For Yes campaign said it is "taking nothing for granted" after the latest polls show a clear majority of the public favouring repeal, despite a drop in support for a Yes vote.
The latest Behaviour & Attitudes/'Sunday Times' poll found support for repeal has dropped two points to 47pc, while opposition to it has risen two points to 29pc.
On Saturday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned against complacency as he launched Fine Gael's referendum campaign.
"A Yes vote does not mean there will be no restrictions; there will be a waiting period of 72 hours to allow for reflection, and counselling to allow alternatives to be offered and considered," Mr Varadkar said.
"Terminations beyond 12 weeks will remain illegal except in very specific circumstances. Viable pregnancies will not be aborted. Instead the baby will be delivered early," he added.
Yesterday, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he senses a "mood out in the country for change in relation to the Eighth Amendment". However, he is unlikely to take to the campaign trail on the issue.
Meanwhile, more than 100 doctors, nurses and midwives, who are part of Medical Alliance for the Eighth, have expressed alarm over the Government's proposal to impose abortion provision on local GP surgeries. Dr Andrew O'Regan, a spokesperson for the group, said it was pushing abortion provision on GPs even though it had nothing to do with healthcare.