Republic of Ireland news

Catholic primate claims Yes vote will signal unrestricted access to abortion for up to three months

Bishop Eamon Martin released a pastoral message ahead of Friday's referendum. Picture by Hugh Russell

The Catholic primate of Ireland has said repeal of the Eighth Amendment would "pave the way for a very liberal abortion regime" – including unrestricted access to terminations during the first three months of pregnancy.

Bishop Eamon Martin made the remarks in a pastoral message ahead of Friday's referendum in the Republic.

The latest opinion poll shows show that the Yes side remains ahead, with one survey indicating a narrowing gap.

The Sunday Business Post/Red C poll shows that 56 per cent are in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment, a three-point increase compared to last month.

The No side is up one point to 27 per cent, while the number of ‘don’t knows’ is at 14 per cent. Three percent refused to answer.

A Sunday Times/Behaviour & Attitudes poll published yesterday showed that the Yes side is on 52 per cent, while the No side stands at 24 per cent. When the undecideds are removed, that represents a 68-32 lead for the Yes side.

According to Bishop Martin, the Supreme Court has clarified that if the Eighth Amendment is repealed unborn children in the Republic will "have absolutely no constitutional rights".

"A vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment on 25 May would therefore pave the way for a very liberal abortion regime in Ireland, including completely unrestricted access to abortion during the first three months of pregnancy," he said.

"What a departure this is from the Eighth Amendment where the equality of life of a mother and her unborn baby is written into our constitution."

The Catholic primate said the lives of both the mother and baby deserved protection from the "tragedy and irreversible decision of abortion".

He said being against abortion is not simply a "Catholic thing".

"The innate dignity of every human life is a value for the whole of society – for people of all faiths and none," he said.

"It is rooted in reason as well as in faith – to take away an innocent human life can never be simply a matter of personal choice."

Bishop Martin urged people to "pause and think of two lives" on May 25 – the life of the mother and the life of her baby.

"Say 'No' to repealing the Eighth Amendment and then do everything you can to ensure that our country will always provide the best possible care and support for all mothers and their unborn children," he said.


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