At the same time that some American states such as Texas and North Dakota are taking gradual small steps to make abortion more restricted and difficult to get, the very Catholic country of Ireland is taking a tiny step in the direction of expanding abortion rights. The Irish parliament has voted to allow abortions in certain “life-saving” situations, including when the woman is threatening to commit suicide because of her pregnancy, or if her life is endangered by continuing the pregnancy.
Here is what one of Ireland’s Catholic bishops has said about his opposition to the bill:
“The Bill is not necessary to ensure that women receive the life-saving treatments they need during pregnancy. The medical treatment of mothers whose lives are in danger is always morally permissible even if this results in the unintended death of a child in the womb. The Catholic Church has never taught that the life in the womb should be preferred to that of the mother.”
Unfortunately, it hasn’t always worked out that way. The abortion controversy in Ireland was stoked in 2012 by the case of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian dentist who was admitted to an Irish hospital while miscarrying. She requested an abortion for health reasons, was denied one, and died of septicemia a week later.
So either the Bishop doesn’t really mean what he’s saying—which wouldn’t be surprising for a representative of the Church, and I say that with sadness—or what he’s saying has not been communicated clearly to employees of Catholic hospitals in Ireland.
Even if you are looking at this from the pro-life perspective, I would think the bill is a good idea. Wouldn’t you be happy not to lose two lives instead of one?