Statement by The Northern Ireland Catholic Council on Social Affairs
On the proposed amendment 11A: ‘Ending the life of an unborn child’,
to the Criminal Justice Bill in Northern Ireland
*NICCOSA is the Advisory Council on Social Affairs of the Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland. It is chaired by Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. The Vice-Chair is Most Rev. Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor (which includes the city of Belfast).
It is the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church that, by virtue of their inherent dignity, the lives of both a mother and her unborn child are sacred and therefore deserve equal protection under the law.
The direct and intentional termination of human life following conception denies the humanity and inherent dignity of the child in the womb and violates the most basic human right of all, the right to life.
All Catholics have a duty to uphold the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child and to support measures which ensure the laws and policies that regulate our society adequately protect this equal right to life in every circumstance.
The Catholic Church therefore supports the proposed amendment 11A (‘Ending the Life of an Unborn Child’) to the Criminal Justice Bill as an important and welcome improvement in the regulation, accountability and transparency of this area of medical practice in Northern Ireland in which the most fundamental moral and ethical principles for individual persons and society are at stake.
We encourage Catholics and all those who uphold the right to life as the most basic human right of all to pray for and support those politicians who have come together to propose this amendment and to work for a culture of life in our society, in which the right to life is celebrated, respected and upheld from conception to natural death.
Media contact: Fr Edward McGee, Tel. 078111 44268