Bishop fears recession will reduce birth rate
A SENIOR Catholic bishop has warned that the current economic crisis is making women doubt whether they can afford children, writes John Cooney.
The Bishop of Killala, John Fleming, said that "in silence and fear", some women were today asking themselves if they could bear the cost of becoming pregnant. Speaking in Athlone, Co Westmeath, at the weekend, he said one of the agonising questions facing women is: "What if the cost of child care causes us to compromise our ability to pay our mortgage?"
The bishop, who is the president of the Cura pregnancy counselling agency, was addressing the annual conference of its 260 volunteers who work in 16 centres nationwide.
He said there was a flip-side for women who were also asking: "Can I afford to postpone for any longer a longed-for pregnancy?"
Bishop Fleming predicted that as the economic crisis continues and perhaps deepens, Cura had the opportunity of convincing women that it wants to help them and he appealed to women worried about becoming pregnant to use its services.
The bishop said: "Come to us. Cura will give you a listening ear, a warm welcome and an assurance of complete confidentiality in which to share your thoughts, fears and hopes."
In 2008 Cura had a total of 3,581 telephone and 1,866 face-to-face contacts in their centres, 104 of which were requests for post-abortion counselling.