Abortion can never be morally justified: Catholic Bishops


They continued, "international experience shows allowing abortion on the grounds of mental health effectively opens the floodgates for abortion".

They also noted that the report also identifies guidelines as an option.

It notes that guidelines can help to ensure consistency in the delivery of medical treatment.

"If guidelines can provide greater clarity as to when life-saving treatment may be provided to a pregnant mother or her unborn child within the existing legislative framework, and where the direct and intentional killing of either person continues to be excluded, then such ethically sound guidelines may offer a way forward."

They said current law and medical guidelines in Ireland allow nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals to apply this distinction.

"This has been an important factor in ensuring that Irish hospitals are among the safest and best in the world in terms of medical care for both a mother and her unborn baby during pregnancy. As a country this is something we should cherish, promote and protect."

Yesterday, Minister for Health James Reilly reiterated the Coalition's "firm commitment" to bring legal clarity to the issue of lawful abortion in Ireland, but said that would "not mean abortion on demand".

Five members of the Catholic hierarchy, joined thousands of anti-abortion protesters at a vigil outside the Dáil last night.

The protest was organised by Pro-Life Campaign, Youth Defence, the Life Institute, and Family and Life.

Following the death of Savita Halappanavar, the standing committee of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference issued a statement last month saying the Church "has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother".

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