IN ITS SUBMISSION to the Citizens’ Assembly, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has said that some unborn babies are “spoken of as if they were as good as dead”.
The Catholic Church is arguing against abortion in all cases, claiming that it is distinct from medical procedures that save a mother’s life and lead to an unborn’s death.
In speaking about cases where the unborn baby will probably not survive the pregnancy or for long after birth, the submission states that the unborn “has the right to be treated equally before the law”.
The detailed submission refers to “children with life-limiting conditions” rather than unborn babies with fatal foetal abnormalities, arguing that it is wrong to refer to them in that way.
“Children with life-limiting conditions are frequently spoken of as if they were ‘as good as dead’,” the submission claims.
The Citizens’ Assembly is currently accepting submissions on the issue of abortion and the Eighth Amendment. Submissions can be can be made by anyone up until next Friday.The use of words like “fatal” or “lethal” to describe these conditions implies that there is something definite about the outcome and that death is imminent and inevitable. The reality is that every case is different and that, while some babies will die before birth, and some will live for just a few hours, others will live for significantly longer.
The submissions will be made available to the public online and members of the assembly will also be provided with extracts from them.
In its lengthy opinion titled “Two Lives, One Love”, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference addresses what it says are “key points” relating to the issue.
It argues that “human life is sacred from conception until natural death” and that this is reflected in the Eighth Amendment.
It expands on this belief, claiming that:
The church goes on to say that, “the distinct identity of a human individual is already present once fertilisation has taken place.”There is no moment as developmentally significant as the moment of fertilisation, in terms of defining the beginnings of personal existence.
It further claims that “many thousands of Irish people are alive” as a direct result of the Eighth Amendment.
It says that this is because the “inevitable interval” between considering an abortion and having one allows women “consider other, more constructive, options”.
The church says that the right to life is “the most fundamental personal right of all” and questions why it is being “questioned and denied”.
The full submission by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference can be read here.