Page 7, 22nd February 2002

22nd February 2002
Page 7
Page 7, 22nd February 2002 — The Irish abortion referendum

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Organisations: Dail Eireann
People: Sarah
Locations: Dublin


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From Ms Sarah ()Driscoll

Sir, I find it hard to understand how the Irish bishops came to lend their support to the proposed referendum as now passed by Dail Eireann. The proposal does indeed deal with the most prominent danger, i.e., threatened suicide as a ground for abortion.

The price, however. is the acceptance of benign interpretadons relating to less visible but no less real dangers. ie. (1) Any other "medical" ground for abortion certified by one doctor; (2) Early abortions ( the "morning after pill" and destructive child embryo usage).

There is more than ample evidence to suggest that the acceptance of benign interpretations is unwarranted. In the former case, the stage is being set for a Bourne type judgement, while in the latter case the Taoiseach has made it clear that the morning-after pill will be lawful". The net outcome is a rolling back of the X-case judgement in one respect. and the rolling forward of the X-case in a number of other respects, the balance being overwhelmingly to he detriment of the unborn child. In my view, the bishops are thus mistaken in seeking to rely on the part of Article 73 of Evangelium Vitae they quote, and mistaken in the advice they have given.

In my view, the foregoing is sufficient reason for rejecting the proposal. But there is, in addition, an over-riding consideration.

Section 4(2) of the Bill effectively gives a right to travel for a purpose that would, 'if it occurred the state, constitute an offence" under the Act, ie. an abortion.

In commending this measure to heir flock, the bishops are inviting horn to put into the Irish Constiution an assertion that the killing of an Irish citizen is not acceptable in this country, but that it is acceptable, and even a right, elsewhere. This I am not prepared to accept. kbortion is the taking of a human life, regardless of where it occurs.

The Irish bishops have in the past taken a valiant stand on family and life issues. It is a matter for regret then that, on this occasion, they have acted outside their sphere of competence and made a judgement that is political rather than moral.

Yours faithfully. SARAH O'DRISCOLL. Blackrock, Co. Dublin

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