By Cian Molloy - 05 May, 2018
The Irish Constitution offers protection and care, in equal measure, to both women and unborn babies. Why would we want to alter this carefully worked balance to the detriment of either mother or baby? – Bishop Monahan
Another voice has been added to the chorus of those calling on voters to “Save the Eighth” in this month’s referendum, with Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe issuing a pastoral letter, Invitation to Choose Life, this weekend.
Bishop Monahan says that the vote on Friday 25 May asks us to express our opinion on a vital issue of life or death. “It is a question that has profound moral and religious implications for us all and specifically for the right to life of the unborn child,” he says. “The choice we make will shape our society for generations to come.”
Reminding voters that Christians believe that all life is sacred and a gift from God, the Bishop says that to destroy the body is to deny the human soul its right to full development.
“Modern medicine and science have done so much to help us appreciate the wonder of human life from the moment of conception,” he says. “Moments that remain forever embedded in the hearts of parents are when they first see a scan of their unborn child and marvel at the wonder of new life or when the tiny fingers of their newborn first cling on to their own fingers.
“The medical care offered to both mothers and babies in Ireland is among the best in the world in terms of safety and excellence. The Irish Constitution as it stands offers protection and care in equal measure to both women and unborn babies. Why would we want to alter this carefully worked balance to the detriment of either mother or baby?”
Bishop Monahan says that women who are pregnant in heartbreaking situations need and deserve the very best of medical care, support and love. He says: “The Christian message is one of love and care for both mother and baby. Thank God that modern medicine allows us to love, cherish and care for both mother and baby. I, along with many others, find it almost beyond belief and profoundly sad that we are being asked to abolish the basic right to life of the unborn child from our Constitution.”
Some of those who are campaigning for legalising abortion in Ireland claim that this issue is one of a women’s health, or women’s rights, and that it is not the business of anyone else. However, Bishop Monahan says: “Cherishing human life concerns us all. The love of a mother for her baby in her womb, or embraced in her arms, is the most powerful expression of love in our world.”
If the Eighth Amendment is repealed, the proposed follow-up legislation will allow for abortion without any reason up to 12 weeks’ gestation. “This unrestricted access to abortion would make the regime in Ireland one of the most liberal in the world,” the Bishop points out. “Many people are astonished and outraged by this proposal. The suggested law would also make abortion available on unspecified health grounds for up to six months.
“Our Constitution is the people’s law – only the people can change it. If we remove the constitutional protection for the unborn, we are giving permission to a future Dáil to introduce an even more liberal law.”
The Bishop pulls no punches in his pastoral letter: “We must clearly state what abortion is – it is the direct killing of an innocent human being. This is simply not right. Children with disabilities or genetic disorders are disproportionately affected.
“Many crimes and evil deeds happen in Ireland on a daily basis. The fact that they happen does not mean that they should be made legal. Rather the State needs to use all the legitimate means it has, so as to protect its people.”
The Bishop directs his flock to visit the website www.chooselife2018.ie, where there are resources available to inform people of the pro-life message.
He says: “The Eighth Amendment to our Constitution has saved thousands of lives. The absence of legal abortion in Ireland has ensured, in countless cases, that time is taken to think, plan, get good advice and seek out other options when unplanned pregnancies arise. The resulting pro-life culture has been a great help in saving countless lives in this country.
“The choice is ours. My invitation is to ‘Choose life’ and for us as Christians to stand up for what we believe in and ‘Be missionaries for Life’!
“In choosing life I will be voting ‘No’ in the upcoming referendum and would encourage others to do so also.”