(Vatican Radio) On Tuesday Ireland’s parliament entered a second day of debate and first round of voting on draft legislation to permit abortion in limited circumstances for the first time in the nation. It introduces abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, including from suicide.
Ahead of the two weeks of debate the Primate of the Irish Church, Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, expressed concerns over the constitutional validity of the draft law and stated that it “represents a legislative and political ‘Trojan Horse’ which heralds a much more liberal and aggressive abortion regime in Ireland”.
These concerns were echoed by some members of the ruling Fine Gael party, who are refusing to vote the party line and risk expulsion. The bill has to go before the Parliamentary Health Committee, for a final revision before a final vote. Fine Gael’s leader and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has stated that the party whip will apply to members. The government has repeatedly stated that it wants the bill enacted before summer recess.
Emer McCarthy spoke to David Quinn of the Iona Institute for the Family. He says the government is ignoring the right to freedom of conscience of its own members on this crucial issue. He also expresses concern over the of conscience protection of pro-life healthcare workers. Under the bill’s current form they will be forced to refer women seeking abortions to other colleagues. Moreover he points out, the Government has earmarked hospitals for the procedure including Dublin’s Mater Hospital, which he notes “is run by the Mercy Sisters. So this legislation actually goes further than legislation in many other countries”. Listen