Statement by Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross in response to the decision by the Government to legislate for abortion
In 1983 the Irish people voted to amend the Constitution to provide explicit protection for the unborn. Even the European Court of Human Rights acknowledges that there is no reason to believe that the Irish people have significantly changed their approach since then. Therefore, there is no democratic mandate in Ireland to introduce abortion in Ireland against the wishes of the people.
People supporting abortion are blurring the distinction between medical intervention and abortion, which is the direct and intentional killing of the unborn. Ireland without abortion is the world’s leader in safety for pregnant women. Abortion is the most serious threat to human rights.
Bishop Buckley said he supported the call by the Archbishops for a free vote. Every public representative should vote in accordance with his or her conscience. Conscience is the only whip that matters. We recall St. Thomas More who died “as the King’s good servant, but God’s first”.
Research demonstrates that performing abortion on the grounds of suicide opens the door to abortion on demand. We need to only look at England where one in four pregnancies ends in abortion. It is indeed extraordinary to say that the only way to help a depressed or suicidal pregnant woman is to end the life of the unborn. No research has shown that abortion protects against suicide. In fact pregnancy could have a protective effect against suicide.
It is ironic that the most recent referendum, endorsed by all parties, referred to the rights of children. It now seems that the unborn child can be deprived of the most fundamental right of all, the right to life.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444