04 July 2023, The Tablet

Irish bishop defends abortion law waiting period

Bishop Doran said the three-day waiting period helps save women “from a decision that they may regret for the rest of their lives”.  

Irish bishop defends abortion law waiting period

Bishop Kevin Doran
Irish Catholic Bishops

The waiting period mandated by Ireland’s abortion law, which requires women to wait three days before being permitted to proceed with an abortion, has been strongly defended by Bishop Kevin Doran, chair of the Irish hierarchy’s Council for Life.

At a Mass on Saturday in Dominick Street Church ahead of the Rally for Life in Dublin, Bishop Doran said Health Service Executive figures had shown that “large numbers of women (27 per cent) do not return after the three days, indicating that over a quarter of women change their minds for one reason or another”.

He said the three-day waiting period “works, not only to save babies, but to save women from a decision that they may regret for the rest of their lives”.  

He said the review of the abortion law, commissioned by the Government, which recommends that the mandatory waiting period become optional, “published different, lower figures, coming from a pro-abortion source”.

“The truth is inconvenient and so it is ignored,” he added.  

Bishop Doran also took issue with the review’s repeated use of “language of concern” for women’s health when the emphasis in the legislation was about providing abortion.

There is nothing in the legislation designed to find out why 30,000 women sought abortion over the past four years he said. “What were their circumstances physically, economically or emotionally, what other options they might have been given, or what has happened to them since,” he asked.
The Bishop of Elphin argued that as 98 per cent of all abortions carried out in Ireland take place during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, when no explanation or reason is required or recorded, “there is no evidence whatsoever that those abortions have anything to do with healthcare”.

Thousands of pro-life supporters attended the Rally for Life in Dublin city centre. Among those who addressed the rally were Conor O’Dowd, an advocate for people with Down Syndrome, and Isabel Vaughan Spruce, who was arrested for praying silently at an abortion clinic in Britain.

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