Catholic Hospitals in Ireland Refuse to Comply With Government Demand to Do Abortions

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 31, 2018   |   10:23AM   |   Dublin, Ireland

Catholic hospitals in Ireland are taking a strong stand against a government proposal that would force them to abort unborn babies.

Ireland voted to repeal its Eighth Amendment in May, stripping away protections for unborn babies from the Irish Constitution. Now, government leaders are pushing radical pro-abortion legislation that would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances. It would force taxpayers to pay for abortions and force Catholic hospitals to provide them.

But Catholic leaders in Ireland are fighting back.

The Irish Catholic bishops’ conference recently published a code of healthcare ethics that states Catholic hospitals cannot perform abortions, the Catholic Herald reports.

“Faithful Catholics will make no compromise on the issue of abortion with the spirit of this evil age,” Father Patrick McCafferty of Belfast recently wrote at Irish News. “Abortion is a matter of life or death. To intentionally terminate the most defenseless among us, is indicative of what is at the heart of human society, which must be rejected and opposed at every turn.”

However, pro-abortion Irish politicians continue to insist that Catholic hospitals be forced to abort unborn babies.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently commented on the matter, “Religious bodies are, of course, entitled to come up with their own ethical guidelines but the ones that should be followed in publicly funded hospitals are those of the medical council and that is what I would very much expect to happen. …

“My view is that we should separate the Church and state; that the Church should no longer be at the center of public life, but it shouldn’t be excluded from it either,” Varadkar continued.

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Last week, Minister of Health Simon Harris also insisted that Catholic hospitals do abortions, saying, “Conscientious objection is for individuals, not institutions.”

His proposed conscientious objection rights for individuals are weak as well. Under the plan, individual medical professionals will be allowed to refuse to abort unborn babies, but they must refer women to other doctors who will do abortions.

Here’s more from the report:

Angelo Bottone of the pro-life Iona Institute wrote that, if institutions were not granted conscientious objection rights, a Catholic hospital may have to “refuse public funds and reduce its activities, or to close down its maternity department and continue to offer its services in other areas … What interest has the state in seeing a service that has been proven useful, if not essential, to a community, discontinued?”

Approximately 20 hospitals in Ireland are affiliated with Catholic religious orders, according to the report.

The government leaders’ proposal would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances, including eugenic abortions that discriminate against unborn babies with disabilities.

Harris repeatedly has claimed the legislation does not allow abortions on the grounds of a disability. But in June, the health minister said he would oppose an amendment to prohibit eugenic abortions, She Magazine reports.

Pro-life lawmakers are considering a number of amendments that would give unborn babies at least some protections in Ireland.

Despite the devastating setback in May, pro-life advocates have vowed to keep fighting to protect unborn babies, mothers and conscience rights for medical professionals across Ireland.