Conference on “Abortion, Disability and the Law”

19 Oct 2017

You or a representative are invited to a conference entitled ‘Abortion, Disability and the Law’ which is being jointly hosted by the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and the Consultative Group on Bioethics of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.  Details are as follows:

Where Grace Suite in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone
When Tomorrow, Friday 20 October 2017 at 9.30am – 5.00pm
In attendance   Speakers listed below, and guests including Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore, Bishop Brendan Kelly of Achonry, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, Bishop Francis Duffy of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, and Bishop Donal Murray, Bishop Emeritus of Limerick.  Please see full schedule below:

9.30am-10.00am        Registration – Grace Suite on Second Floor

10.00am                      Bishop Kevin Doran – Welcome and Introduction 

10.15am                      Professor Gerry Whyte 

Repeal or Replace? The Legal Implications of Amending Article 40.3.3

11.00am                      Coffee Break

11.15am                      Dr Helen Watt 

Abortion Legislation and Foetal Anomaly: Reducing Harm without Moral Compromise

11.45am-12.15pm      Panel Discussion 

12.15pm                      Professor Patricia Casey

Psychological Effects of Abortion for Foetal Anomaly

1.00pm-2.00pm          Lunch (soup, sandwiches and tea/coffee)

2.00pm                        Dr Tom Finegan 

Testing Human Equality: Intellectual Disability and Intellectual Incapacity

3.00pm                        Ms Tracy Harkin 

Achieving best care for families affected by a poor prenatal diagnosis

3.30pm                        Coffee Break

3.45pm                        Panel Discussion – Tracy Harkin, Dr Eamon McGuinness

5.00pm                        Close

Please note that an evening public meeting will take place in the hotel following the day-long conference starting at 7.30pm entitled, “Welcoming Babies with Disability” – speakers are Ms Tracy Harkin, Dr Helen Watt and Bishop Kevin Doran.  All are welcome. 


Notes for Editors

The Consultative Group on Bioethics and Life Questions is a forum for the exploration of current issues in the ethics of healthcare and of biomedical research.  It seeks to develop and promote an understanding of these issues which is consistent with the gospel, with the teaching of the magisterium, and the best available scientific knowledge. 

The Committee for Bioethics was established in 1996 as a sub-committee of the Joint Healthcare Commission.  It subsequently became an independent commission of the Episcopal Conference, under the umbrella of the Department of Catholic Education and Formation.  In 2005 it developed into a Bishops’ Consultative Group.

The modus operandi of the group is to draw on the expertise of a large interdisciplinary panel of consultors, drawn from the various healthcare professions, the natural sciences, philosophy and theology. 

The Consultative Group prepares guidelines for the Irish Episcopal Conference on bioethical issues; prepares materials which will communicate the Church’s teaching on bioethical issues to various categories of people – Catholic professionals, other Christians, lay Catholics, and the general public; suggests areas in the bioethical field or in related spheres for research and study by the Catholic Bishops’ Joint Committee on Bio-Ethical Issues (Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales); and promotes circulation of documents published by the Joint Committee on these issues.

A number of documents have been prepared by the Consultative Group for the Irish Bishops’ Conference on End of Life Care and Artificial Human Reproduction.  The group has acted as an advisory body to the Episcopal Conference on aspects of biomedical research, including pharmaceutical trials and stem cell research.

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Katie Crosby 00353 (0) 86 8623298