Irish bishop urges no abortion for fatal foetal abnormality

Bishop John Buckley said doctors can't safely predict the lifespan of babies before they are born
Bishop John Buckley said doctors can't safely predict the lifespan of babies before they are born
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The Roman Catholic Church has urged Irish legislators not to allow abortion in cases of “fatal foetal abnormalities”.

The Bishop of Cork and Ross, Bishop John Buckley, yesterday issued a statement about the issue – which last week was debated at Stormont – in the context of the Republic’s general election.

Stormont rejected proposals to relax the current abortion laws.

Bishop Buckley said: “In the debate, there will be frequent references to ‘fatal foetal abnormalities’. In fact the word ‘fatal’ is misleading since there is no medical evidence, none whatsoever, where a doctor can predict, with certainty, the lifespan of babies before they are born.

“Parents often say that the time they have with their baby, however short, is very precious. Pope Francis has asked us to support people in difficult situations with mercy and love, always recognising the unique dignity of every individual including the child in the womb.

“The term ‘incompatible with life’, which is also used, is a hurtful phrase since it implies that a baby’s life is worthless. It is sad that a child’s life-limiting condition is being used to promote the agenda of those who seek to legalise abortion on much wider grounds.

“Candidates in the election should be questioned politely but firmly, not just on their future intentions but on their past record. The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act (2013) directly targeted the life of the unborn child and did so in the full knowledge that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal feelings.”