Abortion bill branded an 'affront to conscience' by Catholic Bishops

The Irish government’s abortion bill has been branded as an “affront to conscience” by Catholic Bishops
Connla Young

Catholic Church leaders have raised concerns about the Irish government’s abortion plans.

The senior clergymen called on pharmacists and medical professionals to be allowed to opt out of the abortion process.

The call was made as the Oireachtas debated the Termination of Pregnancy Bill in the Dáil yesterday which comes after voters in the Republic backed the introduction of abortion earlier this year.

The church said that as the draft legislation stands the state presumes that pharmacists will stock and dispense drugs required for abortion.

In a statement last night the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference said no provision had been made for pharmacists to opt out on the grounds of conscientious objection.

It says that while the planned legislation allows doctors and nurses to opt out of providing abortion, it requires that they refer a patient to a colleague who will perform the procedure.

They say this requires a “healthcare professional to cooperate in what he or she sincerely believes is doing harm to one patient and taking the life of another”.

“We ask the government, and wider society, to respect the right of all healthcare professionals and pharmacists to exercise conscientious objection not only by refusing to participate actively in abortion but also by declining to refer their patients to others for abortion,” they said.

“Healthcare professionals, pharmacists and ancillary healthcare workers, should not face legal, professional or financial penalties or any form of discrimination for their commitment to respect life.”

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