07 July 2022, The Tablet

'Pro-life' is 'pro-women', says Archbishop of Armagh

'Pro-life' is 'pro-women', says Archbishop of Armagh

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, pictured here leading a pre-synod prayer walk.
CNS photo/Clodagh Kilcoyne, Reuters

The head of the Irish Church has warned that the desperate situations of women with a crisis pregnancy, who feel isolated, neglected and alone in their distress, “do not go away no matter how widely available abortion is made”.

In his homily at Mass at St Saviour’s Dominican Priory in Dublin ahead of the “Rally for Life” march, Archbishop Eamon Martin highlighted how in Ireland “the right to personal choice has been elevated above the fundamental right to life itself”.

He told some of the thousands of pro-life campaigners from all over Ireland who descended on Dublin for the first pro-life rally since the pandemic: “Often you face setbacks, because the pro-life message is counter-cultural, and is falsely portrayed as negative, ‘anti-women’, ‘anti-choice’, or lacking in compassion.”

He noted that during the 2018 abortion referendum campaign there were many calls and promises of help for women in crisis. “Where is the compassion and accompaniment for a woman in crisis that was promised?” the Primate of All Ireland said. 

He pledged to continue to seek dialogue about how a respectful and life-supporting environment can be created for every person in Ireland, at every stage and in every state of life.

The legislation introduced three years ago had left many questions, he noted, such as what options, other than abortion, can be offered to women during the three-day reflection period. 

One of those who spoke to campaigners about the options available to women who take abortion pills was Dr Dermot Kearney, an Irish doctor who works for the NHS. The General Medical Council in Britain tried to have him suspended last year over his provision of abortion pill reversal treatment (APR).

In a talk to Family Solidarity Ireland, Dr Kearney recalled how restrictions imposed on him by the GMC were reversed in February this year allowing him to continue his work to help mothers who change their minds. 

During the period of time that the service he offers with Dr Eileen Reilly was suspended, 160 women from the UK and seven from Ireland sought help to reverse their abortions. But those women could not be helped due to the GMC’s measures.

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