Wednesday 18 September 2019

Bishop says arguments for abortion 'will be used to justify ending the lives of frail and disabled people'

Bishop Kevin Doran
Bishop Kevin Doran

Sean Nolan

A senior Catholic bishop has said that if abortion laws are liberalised in Ireland then similar arguments will be used to 'justify ending the lives of frail elderly people and people with significant disability'.

Bishop Kevin Doran made his comments in a Pastoral message called 'The Gift of Life - A Shared Responsibility'.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Elphin says in the letter posted on the Diocese's website that 'it is difficult to understand why anyone would suggest that abortion should be legalised'.

He then goes on to argue that any liberalisation of Ireland's abortion laws will end the 'right to life' for anybody.

"If society accepts that one human being has the right to end the life of another, then it is no longer possible to claim the right to life as a fundamental human right for anybody.

"A number of EU member states have already legalized Euthanasia," Bishop Doran says in the letter. "I am convinced that if we concede any ground on abortion, the very same arguments which are now being used to justify abortion will be used to justify ending the lives of frail elderly people and people with significant disability. This is the final frontier. If we cross it, there will be no easy way back."

The letter comes just days before the Cabinet is set to approve a 'repeal and enable' approach to the wording on the proposed referendum on the Eight Amendment.

The question to be put to the public will involve the deletion of the Eighth Amendment from the constitution - replacing it with a clause giving explicit responsibility to the Oireachtas to legislate on the matter.

Bishop Doran also addressed this in his letter, comparing leaving the right to legislate on abortion with the Government to "giving the Government a blank cheque. I have never been comfortable writing blank cheques."

Although the Oireachtas Committee on abortion recommended the question involve a simple repeal of the article, or "repeal simpliciter", the government believes 'repeal and enable' will reinforce the legislation.

Thus it will be less likely to be successfully challenged in the courts.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he will declare his position on the matter on Monday evening.

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