As Ireland’s May 25 referendum on abortion approaches, several bishops issued statements over the weekend urging the Irish people to vote “No” on the proposal. Source: Crux.
Ireland currently has some of the most robust pro-life laws in the European Union, although most European abortion laws are more restrictive than those in the United States.
Current polls show the majority of the Irish electorate will vote to repeal the country’s eighth amendment, passed in 1983, that guarantees the right to life of the unborn.
However, the latest poll has shown growing support for keeping the amendment, giving hope to pro-life campaigners as they enter the final weeks before the referendum.
“In the coming weeks I invite you to pray earnestly that the people of Ireland will ‘choose life’ and that the lives of all women and their unborn children will always be loved, valued, welcomed and respected in this country,” said Bishop Alan McGuckian of Raphoe in a pastoral letter distributed on the weekend.
“When we change or delete a law we run the risk of blinding ourselves over time to the truth behind it even though all the evidence we need is before our eyes. In our day we see more clearly than ever before how everything begins at conception,” the bishop said.
“At every point, from conception on, the baby has within him or herself the full potential to be whatever destiny might allow. All he or she needs is time and nurturing.”
Bishop McGuckian said it was a “great irony” that Ireland is debating taking away the rights of the unborn when the scientific evidence of the personhood of the child in the womb “was never clearer than it is now”.
“Knowledge about the mysterious workings of DNA and the stunningly vivid evidence of ultrasound images of little persons in the earliest weeks in the womb should be making us more committed than ever to the protection of unborn life,” he said.
The referendum is due to take place just three months before Pope Francis is expected to visit the country during the World Meeting of Families, which is taking place in Dublin in August.