Catholic Church urges Irish to oppose abortion law

DUBLIN Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:22pm IST

1 of 2. Andanappa Yalagi, the father of Savita Halappanavar, looks at her wedding album at her house in Belgaum in Karnataka November 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/Files

Related Topics

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The head of Ireland's Catholic Church urged followers in his Christmas Day message to lobby against government plans to legalise abortion.

Ireland, the only EU member state that currently outlaws the procedure, is preparing legislation that would allow limited access to abortion after the European Court of Human Rights criticised the current regime.

The death last month of an Indian woman who was denied an abortion of her dying foetus and later died of blood poisoning has intensified the debate around abortion, which remains a hugely divisive subject in the predominantly Catholic country.

"I hope that everyone who believes that the right to life is fundamental will make their voice heard in a reasonable, but forthright, way to their representatives," Cardinal Sean Brady said in a Christmas message on Tuesday.

"No government has the right to remove that right from an innocent person."

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, a regular Mass goer, is bringing in legislation that would allow a woman to have an abortion if her life was at risk from pregnancy.

The country's Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that abortion was permitted when a woman's life was at risk but successive governments have avoided legislating for it because it is so divisive.

The death of Savita Halappanavar, who repeatedly asked for an abortion while she was miscarrying in an Irish hospital, highlighted the lack of clarity in Irish law that leaves doctors in a legally risky position.

Halappanavar's death re-ignited the abortion debate and prompted large protests by groups both in favour of and against abortion.

Kenny and his conservative Fine Gael party have been criticised for tackling the abortion issue and some party members have indicated that they may not be able to back the law.

Relations between the Irish government and the once dominant Catholic Church are at an all-time low in the wake of years of clerical sex abuse scandals.

Kenny told parliament last year that the Vatican's handling of the scandals had been dominated by "elitism and narcissism" and accused it of trying to cover up the abuse. The speech prompted the Vatican to recall its ambassador, or nuncio, to Ireland.

Brady, who has faced calls this year to resign over accusations he failed to warn parents their children were being sexually abused, said in his Christmas message that he wanted relations with government to improve.

"My hope is that the year ahead will see the relationship between faith and public life in our country move beyond the sometimes negative, exaggerated caricatures of the past."

(Reporting by Carmel Crimmins; Editing by Sandra Maler)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Pricing Controls

REUTERS SHOWCASE

India-China Relations

India-China Relations

India says to defend China border after standoff ahead of Xi visit.  Full Article 

Importing Iron Ore

Importing Iron Ore

As mining curbs bite, India offers market to glut-hit iron ore.  Full Article 

Lower Output

Lower Output

IOC cuts refinery output as rains hit fuel demand - source.  Full Article 

Drug Approval

Drug Approval

Epirus, Ranbaxy win India approval for arthritis drug copy.  Full Article 

Farming and Technology

Farming and Technology

Climate smart farmers get tech savvy to save India's bread basket.  Full Article 

Rajan Speaks

Rajan Speaks

RBI chief Rajan says limiting reliance on foreign debt.  Full Article 

India-Vietnam Ties

India-Vietnam Ties

India tightens Vietnam defence, oil ties ahead of China Xi's visit.  Full Article 

Debt & Equity Deal

Debt & Equity Deal

KKR to lend $175 million to GMR Infrastructure - source.  Full Article 

Preparing for IPO

Preparing for IPO

Alibaba boosts IPO as demand strengthens.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage