Today the government of Ireland made the decision to introduce abortion into Ireland - in effect, abortion on demand. According to its statement it will only permit abortion in cases where the life of a woman is at risk, but that includes suicide and that, as you all know, is the key to opening the door to abortion on demand. Today is the darkest day in Ireland since we won independence in the 1920s.
Of course I am not surprised: I have said on this blog that the government was going to introduce abortion into Ireland: the Labour party was made it a priority and though Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave an assurance that he would not bring in abortion, but though we expected him to remain true to his promise we suspected he would not.
According to the statement, legislation will be introduced into parliament, debated and then passed: the Taoiseach has said that he will not allow a free vote - so members of parliament have no choice but to vote for it: those who reject will be "excommunicated" from the party. Such is Irish democracy. Our TDs have to toe the party line even if it means violating their consciences and, I presume, they expect God to toe their party line too and absolve them of responsibility. The Minister of Health will also produce regulations to govern abortion in Ireland - these regulations can, in future, be changed by ministerial statute without recourse to legislation. Ireland is on the brink of a most liberal abortion regime.
The Archbishops of Ireland have issued a strong statement rejecting the government's decision. It is the strongest statement I have ever seen come from the bishops. Here is the statement in full:
The four Catholic Archbishops of Ireland: Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin; Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly; and Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, have issued the following response to the decision today by the Government to legislate for abortion:Today’s decision by the Irish Government to legislate for abortion should be of the utmost concern to all.If what is being proposed were to become law, the careful balance between the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child in current law and medical practice in Ireland would be fundamentally changed. It would pave the way for the direct and intentional killing of unborn children. This can never be morally justified in any circumstances.The decision of the Supreme Court in the ‘X’ case unilaterally overturned the clear pro-life intention of the people of Ireland as expressed in Article 40.3.3 of our Constitution. To legislate on the basis of such a flawed judgement would be both tragic and unnecessary.The dignity of the human person and the common good of humanity depend on our respect for the right to life of every person from the moment of conception to natural death. The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights. It is the very basis for every other right we enjoy as persons.The lives of untold numbers of unborn children in this State now depend on the choices that will be made by our public representatives. The unavoidable choice that now faces all our public representatives is: will I chose to defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb in all circumstances, or will I chose to licence the direct and intentional killing of the innocent baby in the womb?Moreover, on a decision of such fundamental moral importance every public representative is entitled to complete respect for the freedom of conscience. No one has the right to force or coerce someone to act against their conscience. Respect for this right is the very foundation of a free, civilised and democratic society.All involved, especially public representatives, must consider the profound moral questions that arise in responding to today’s announcement by the Government. We encourage all to pray that our public representatives will be given the wisdom and courage to do what is right.
The Archbishops are to be congratulated for their strong stance, and they must be supported: if you get a minute drop each of them a letter of support and keep them in your prayers.
It is now time for all who believe in life to stand together and try to lobby TDs and get them to stand for the lives of the unborn. Complacency has no place now: as Caroline Simons of the Pro Life Campaign said today, we must fight every element of this legislation. The lives of innocent Irish children are now at risk.
I have to say I am sick to my stomach with this government. Taoiseach Enda Kenny stood up in the Dail and condemned the Catholic Church and the Pope for the failure to protect children, and then they closed the Irish Embassy to the Vatican. Then they push a dodgy referendum on "childrens' rights" telling us that children needed to have a stronger voice. But now they decide to sanction the destruction of innocent children by the introduction of abortion. This is nothing short of hypocrisy; cynical hypocrisy.
But, time to push up the sleeves. Time to rally the troops. As the government seeks to push ahead, we cannot stand idly by.