By Susan Gately - 08 January, 2016
We are heading for an election and whether there is a referendum [on the 8th Amendment] or not will possibly depend on the who is elected, the Bishop of Elphin has said.
“Certainly many of those who wish to remove the 8th Amendment have made no secret of the fact that their ultimate political objective is abortion on demand and people need to take note of that,” said Bishop Kevin Doran.
Speaking on Newstalk, the bishop said that people had to assume that any attempt to remove the 8th Amendment “is an attempt to reduce the level of protection for unborn children and that is ultimately part of a movement towards the achievement of a political objective which is abortion on demand.”
Questioned about abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, Bishop Doran said there was no clarity about the outcomes. No doctor is going to “put down a date of death or indicate that this is an absolute certainty,” he said.
Parents of children with life limiting illnesses had said they “very much valued the possibility of holding and caring for their child even for a few moments or hours until death naturally occurs”.
Other parents advised to go to England for a termination had children that lived for some months or years. “Their stories are on the website www.onedaymore.ie” he said.
He compared babies in the womb with life limiting illnesses to terminally ill adults in hospitals and hospices. “We don’t suggest that they have their lives terminated,” he told Newstalk.
“The response of a civilised society to terminal illness is to offer palliative care which includes warmth, tenderness, nutrition and hydration as well as appropriate management of pain and one of the things the government should be focusing on is the provision of hospice care for children born with life limiting conditions.”
Currently there is only one neo natal hospice in Ireland. “I think that is the real scandal,” he added.
Bishop Doran said that the Abortion Act in 1967 in the UK (under which one in four babies are now being aborted) was brought in originally to allow for termination of pregnancy where the life of a mother was at risk.
“The courts redefined it to say her health [was at risk] and then to say her mental health [was at risk].”
Today’s consumer society tended to value things “according to how useful they are”.
That way of thinking leads us sometimes to question how useful is a human life. But the child in the womb can’t be valued in terms of advantage or disadvantage, he said.
“As Catholics we believe, in common with many people of all faiths and none, that every human life has an intrinsic value which is not determined by its length or by the physical or mental capacity of the person. There is no such thing as a life without meaning.”