One Letterkenny priest believes the final vote on the ‘Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill’ which goes before the Dáil today is one that will open the flood gates to abortion.
Father Eamonn McLaughlin, a priest at St Eunan’s Cathedral, said examples from around the world substantiate his belief.
These are his words in a statement which he has sent to Donegal Daily.
“No Country or State has ever managed, no matter how well intentioned, to restrict limited abortion legislation, especially on grounds of suicide. For example, the Therapeutic Abortion Act in California was enacted in 1967 on the strict grounds ‘where the mother was a danger to herself.’ Within 3 years the number of abortions in the state had risen from 518 to over 63,000,” he said.
Fr. McLaughlin said that Lord Steel who is often described as the architect of Britain’s liberal abortion laws has said the Irish Government would be making a mistake if it goes ahead with plans to legislate for termination on the grounds of a threat of suicide.
“In 1968 there were 22,332 abortions in England and Wales; by 1972 the number was 108,000. Today, in Britain, one in every five pregnancies ends in abortion. In 2011, in the UK, there were over 200,000 abortions,” Fr. McLaughlin claimed.
He agreed with a group of psychiatrists who spoke out in support of Lucinda Creighton, saying that her request to remove suicide as grounds for an abortion, and to provide instead a ‘care pathway,’ for women seeking an abortion because they are suicidal.
The Letterkenny based priest said, that if this bill was about saving women’s lives, no one would be against it. “Under existing law, every woman is entitled to life-saving medical treatment. This Bill allows for abortion on a threat of suicide. That’s not good medicine. Abortion doesn’t prevent suicide. It stops the heartbeat of a living child and may well increase the mental health risks to the woman,” he said.
One of the aspects that most disturbs Fr. McLaughlin about the bill is the time period associated with abortions: “Perhaps the most disturbing part of this Bill is that it has no time limits for the ‘suicide threat’ abortions. A child at 21/23 weeks, fully formed but not mature, can be aborted even when his/her mother is not ill. For a child closer to viability, the State’s ‘concession’ is another few days in the womb before delivery. This is crazy. The child may face brain damage, blindness or even death.”
The priest believes that the Bill seeks to overturn the current medical practise, which has, according to the UN, out of 171 Countries, made us a world leader in protecting women during pregnancy.
Fr. McLaughlin envisages the introduction of abortion into our hospitals.
Fr. McLaughlin urges the Taoiseach and all the TDs elected to Dáil Éireann, especially those from Donegal, to make the correct decision this Wednesday. “Sixty thousand people plus gathered in Dublin on Saturday last, asking them to not to abandon a mother and her child at this defining moment in the history of our country. The life of both mother and child is protected by our Constitution that unequivocally states: ‘The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right. (40.3.3)’ The Taoiseach said that his Book is the Constitution. It is also our Book,” he said.
He said that he hoped that TDs would not abandon their Catholic family by voting for this Bill: “Alan Shatter said on Saturday that Lucinda Creighton is part of the Fine Gael family and that he hoped that she would not abandon that family by voting against the Bill. Offering no return to colleagues who vote against the Bill, Enda Kenny excommunicates them forever. We hope that our Catholic TD’s will not abandon their Catholic family by voting for this Bill and thereby excommunicating themselves.”
The priest said that as Christians we do not stand in judgement. “As Christians we do not stand in judgement. We leave that to God. Our message is a message of hope and love, even if we do not always humanly live up to this. Women in pregnancy deserve every care and support from us Christians. “To women who are worried about pregnancy and who are thinking of abortion,” Fr Eamonn stated, “I say to those women, in the words of REM, ‘Everybody hurts sometime,’ hold on, please hold on. Please don’t go through with it. Please allow us to help you and to walk with you. There are some great people out there to help you, at CURA, Women Hurt, Silent No More and Rachel’s Vineyard. Please don’t panic. Don’t be afraid. Your pregnancy is not an illness, or a shame, or a disgrace. It is ok to be pregnant. The child needs you to be its mother. Your child has a right to life. This is the first and most basic of all human rights, the right to live. That same message of love and care goes out also to women who have, for whatever reason and in whatever circumstance, had an abortion or to anyone who may have had a hand in an abortion.” “God’s mercy”, he says, “is especially for you. None of us will ever stop being a child of God.”
He urged local TDs to vote against this Bill: “To our TDs Dinny Mc Ginley, Thomas Pringle, Pearse Doherty, Padraig Mac Lochlainn and Joe Mc Hugh, who is from my own home area, I ask you to please vote against this Bill. Please do not bring our country down the road of abortions. Please do not legalise the death in the womb of our future artists, leaders, teachers, brothers, sisters and so on. The choice is now yours. It is time to be silent no more and to shout out a resounding yes to every human life, just as yes was shouted for you to be born.” Fr Eamonn recalled how, at the time of the children’s referendum, the FG poster campaign read that ‘Every Child Matters,’ and that during his outburst at the Vatican over the Cloyne Report, Enda Kenny categorically stated that the Government was ‘set to embark on a course of action to ensure the State is doing all it can to safeguard our children… to protect the Sacred Space of childhood and to restore its innocence… The children of this country are, and always will be our most precious possession of all. Safeguarding their integrity and innocence must be a national priority.” Fr Mc Laughlin responded to these claims by saying, “talk is cheap. Show me on Wednesday by your actions Taoiseach. The nation is watching. Children are waiting.” In the words of the great American Statesman, Abraham Lincoln, “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
* We also welcome statements from the Pro Choice Lobby.