A Catholic Chaplain at Letterkenny University Hospital has challenged Sinn Fein to explain how their support to repeal the Eighth Amendment does not conflict fundamentally with the 1916 Proclamation.
Fr. Martin Chambers was speaking in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Kerrykeel, during the Holy Thursday ceremonies where he said: “The Sinn Fein claims to cherish all the children of the nation equally is not only contradictory but far from the spirit of the 1916 Proclamation.”
The nation goes to the polls on Friday May 25th to vote on removing the Eighth Amendment, which gives constitutional rights to the unborn as enshrined in the 1983 legislation.
The Tirconaill Tribune reports that last week some 26 Evangelical Church leaders in Donegal added their support for the retention of the Eighth Amendment.
Fr. Chambers said: “Insofar as equality is concerned, let us not forget that where a Sinn Fein politician has voted or supported the Eighth Amendment, they have been suspended from the party for three months. Where is the equality or freedom of expression in such actions and what does that say about a party supposedly cherishing the children of the nation equally?”
Turning to the congregation in Kerrykeel and reflecting on the diminishing number of clergy and vocations in the diocese, Fr. Chambers asked: “Will this new legislation abort the next priest that might serve this community or this diocese? Will the proposed changes abort the scientist who might make the discovery to cure cancer… think seriously about that,” he urged.
Saying that the 1916 Proclamation that is part of the Sinn Fein philosophy is “a very important document and one that should be studied carefully”, Fr. Chambers told the congregation that he found it very difficult to reconcile how removing the right of unborn children did not conflict with the spirit expressed in the Proclamation.
Mass goers said Fr. Chambers said that the signatories of the Proclamation would be “turning in their graves” over the Sinn Fein support for changing the Constitution on abortion.
Speaking last month, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald outlined that Sinn Féin supports the availability of abortion in cases of rape, incest, fatal foetal abnormality, health, mental and physical, and risk to the life of the woman.
“The 8th Amendment should never have been placed in our Constitution. Bitter experience over decades demonstrates this,” the Dublin Central TD says.
“It is essential to recall real cost to women and girls of the Eighth amendment… It has caused countless women and families with the trauma of a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality to be forced to make a harrowing journey abroad.
“Even in death, the Eighth Amendment can rob a woman of her dignity… I say that these women are, in the first instance, the reason to repeal the 8th Amendment. We as a society must demand and ensure that there are no more hard cases, no more Savitas [Halappanavar] and no more traumatised women known to us in the public domain as letters of the alphabet.
“That is our first duty, to assert clearly that that the state will not force a rape victim to carry a pregnancy to term. To demand that women and families faced with the devastating diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality are no longer denied care, comfort and choice here in their home country.
“To assert that doctors must be free to do their job, must be able to take medical decisions in the interests of women without the threat of a criminal sanction hanging over them. To ensure that health care choices, life and death decisions, are not skewed or delayed while medics seek advice from constitutional lawyers.”
Teachta McDonald says that the Eighth Amendment, or Article 40.3.3 “is a relic of an Ireland of the past.”
“Yet, it restricts the rights of women in the here and now and affects our future in such a profound way. It has to go. It is time to trust women. It is time to allow doctors to do their jobs. And we, as legislators, must now do ours,” she concluded.