Five years after the Irish “yes” to abortion, the Catholic bishops of Ireland are encouraging their faithful “to change the narrative around abortion” against the official discourse which considers voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG) as one right among so many others.
The message was read in all the parishes of Ireland on May 14, 2023. For the Irish episcopate, there is great danger of seeing the faithful gradually get used to the decriminalization of abortion that happened in the wake of the “yes” vote for the 2018 referendum: “No matter what legislation is passed, the fundamental right to life for all human being at every stage of development still prevails,” recall the Irish prelates.
It is a right that “is rooted as much in reason as in faith,” they specify, tackling in passing the recent revision of the abortion law. Entering into force on January 1, 2019, the Irish law which authorizes abortion up to twelve weeks of pregnancy, has been the subject of a new examination entrusted to the lawyer Marie O’Shea.
This procedure – provided for by the Constitution, within three years of the date of entry into force – would allow the current period of twelve weeks to be exceeded in the event of a risk to the health or life of the mother. It is further recommended that doctors should no longer be prosecuted in the event of violation of the law. Currently, they can face up to 14 years in prison.
Finally, health professionals should be subject to strict obligations in terms of “disinformation.”
“So many measures designed to eliminate as much life as possible,” denounce the bishops in their message of May 14, asking the faithful to help change the narrative on abortion by preaching “in season and out of season the Gospel of life.”
In a more practical way, the Irish prelates propose several avenues, including among the most notable: a waiting period of at least three days for the woman who wishes to separate from her child; a campaign for conscientious objection; the possibility for Catholics to continue to pray peacefully near an abortion center; an increased presence with pregnant women in difficulty. And finally a “Pray for Life” novena from May 23 to 31, the feast of the Visitation.
“We remain convinced that the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregancy) Act, 2018, will, in due course, be repealed. … We do so because we believe that all human life is sacred, and that Ireland and the rest of the world will one day come to accept this truth,” conclude the bishops of Ireland, thereby signing a courageous step that one would like to see throughout Europe.