By Sarah Mac Donald - 10 July, 2013
Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick has denounced the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill for promoting a hierarchy of human beings based on size.
Speaking at a Vigil for Life in St John’s Cathedral in Limerick, the Bishop recalled the words of Minister of State Lucinda Creighton as he warned that the Bill before the Dáil could enshrine in Irish law, for the first time ever – and completely against what the Constitution requires, “a pecking order of human beings where the lives of tiniest ones can be taken.”
On the eve of what he said was “a defining moment for our country, we cannot but focus on the life of the unborn.”
He said he was mindful of mothers who today are facing difficult or crisis pregnancies and mindful also of others who have had, or who have assisted with abortions, and may now be re-living what happened in the past.
However, he said the evening was about giving voice to the unborn.
“Our Constitution affirms that ‘The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn’—in Irish, the phrase used is “na mbeo gan breith”, “beo gan breith” meaning life before (literally ‘without’) birth. The unborn child in the womb is a human life with potential, not a potential human being. He or she is not an extension of the mother,” he told the congregation gathered in the cathedral.
He referred to the impact of ultrasound photography in revolutionising awareness of the awe-inspiring reality of the life of the child in the mother’s womb.
“A ground-breaking Italian study using 4D ultrasound discovered that for five sets of twins in the womb, between fourteen and eighteen weeks, the number of other-directed movements gradually increased to reach 29% of the observed movements towards their other twin.”
“The ultrasound pictures show the twins concentrating on one another’s eyes, with greater accuracy towards the other’s eyes and mouth than towards their own, so that “other-directed actions are not only possible but predominant over self-directed actions.”
He said the “innocent eyes of the unborn” continue to look to us for the gift of love in the form of protection.
He warned that there were shades of George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ in the Protection of Life During Pregnancy bill where all are equal but some are more equal than others.
“The unborn, it appears, are to be afforded little or no legal advocacy on their behalf. Such a scenario certainly begs the question whether the current legislation is constitutional at all?”
“Are we aware of what a huge tear in our human ecology will be made if we legislate for abortion?” he asked.
He urged the congregation to pray for the country’s legislators. “It is not an easy moment for them. They are in a time of discernment, listening to the ‘inner referee’ of conscience,” he said.
By Sarah Mac Donald