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As the Dáil rushes Euthanasia Bill, bishops promote Day for Life

By Katie Ascough - 26 September, 2020

Late sitting on abortion legislation in Dáil Eireann in 2018.

According to the Pro Life Campaign, in a remarkably quick series of events, Gino Kenny TD announced this week that his Dying with Dignity Bill has been selected for a Second Stage debate and vote next Thursday 1 October. This bill is a radical piece of legislation that will enable anyone who has a terminal illness to be euthanised and the person does not need to be near the end of their life to do so. For example, it would be completely legal for a person with early stage dementia, or early stage heart disease to end their lives after receiving their diagnosis.

A contribution to the debate was made this week by a Canadian medical doctor who wrote to the Irish Times informing readers of the dramatic situation in Canada with regards to assisted suicide there. The number of people dying in this way has risen by 455 per cent in just four years, to 5,631 deaths in 2019.

It remains the case that palliative care doctors are overwhelmingly opposed to the legalisation of euthanasia/assisted suicide, and their voices need to be heard in this debate. For information on this particular campaign, you can sign up for updates from Hope Ireland. You can also click here to watch and share a new video from Hope Ireland on the impact of a euthanasia regime for the most vulnerable members of society. 

At the same time, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has started promoting the annual Day for Life. This day is celebrated annually by the Catholic Church in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness of the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. This year’s Day for Life will be celebrated in Ireland on Sunday 4 October and will focus on the theme “Choose Life”. 

There were 6,666 abortions in the Republic of Ireland in 2019 and over 200,000 in Great Britain. Irish bishops say that we, the Catholic Church, have a message of hope and a story of love; together, we can promote a culture of life. 

We grieve the loss of life due to abortion, the bishops say, and we seek a change of minds and hearts about the innate dignity of the child in the womb and the care of pregnant women. Pope Francis writes, “The gift of a new child, entrusted by the Lord to a father and a mother, begins with acceptance, continues with lifelong protection and has as its final goal the joy of eternal life … For God allows parents to choose the name by which He himself will call their child for all eternity” (Amoris Laetita – The Joy of Love, 166).

To access prayers and resources for this year’s Day for Life, you can visit the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference website by clicking here.

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