Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford and Lismore has spoken out in support of pro-life views and said the deletion or amendment of Article 40.3.3 would serve no purpose other than to withdraw the right to life from some categories of unborn children.
In response to the recent impeachment of former UCD SU president Katie Ascough, Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford and Lismore has spoken out in support of her pro-life views and said the deletion or amendment of Article 40.3.3 which acknowledges the right to life of the unborn with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, would serve no purpose other than to withdraw the right to life from some categories of unborn children. He said that some have argued in the current debate on repealing the Eighth Amendment that abortion is a human right but he believed that this view was inconsistent with an integral understanding of human rights.
He argued that the European Convention on Human Rights requires that “everyone’s right to life shall be protected by the law”, said Bishop Cullinan, adding the UN Convention of the Child defines a child as anyone under 18 but makes no “distinction between born and unborn children”. Bishop Cullinan also challenged the language being used in the debate, suggesting that terms such as “foetus”, “embryo” and “zygote”, which had specific technical meanings were being used by those campaigning to repeal the Eighth Amendment with a definite intent and purpose.
“We question why, in public discourse, healthy unborn children are always referred to as “the baby” while those who, in the opinion of some, do not measure up to expectations are routinely defined as the “foetus” or the “embryo”. “We are concerned that language is being used with the intention of depersonalising certain categories of unborn children in a way which seeks to normalise abortion,” said Bishop Cullinan, adding that many thousands of Irish people are alive today thanks to the Eighth Amendment.
Bishop Cullinan rejected suggestions that the current legal regime does not provide a safe medical environment for Irish mothers. “The goal of good maternal care would be to achieve a maternal mortality rate of zero. Sadly this is practically impossible because there are some potentially fatal medical conditions related to pregnancy which cannot easily be predicted for individual women,” he said.
He pointed to 2015 figures from the World Health Organisation which showed the maternal mortality rate for Ireland is 8 per 100,000 live births which places. Ireland in the lowest, or best, category and consistently ahead of the United States and the UK where abortion is readily available.
Bishop Cullinan also recently received backlash for his comments made concerning the HPV vaccine which, he stated, although it is unsafe, is nevertheless often forced upon young people. He recommended that the money spent on vaccines should rather be used to encourage young people to stay chaste. Unfortunately he later apologised for this statement.
We hope and pray that the other bishops around the country will have the courage and conviction to follow in Bishop Cullinan’s footsteps and remind the people of Ireland of morality is based on unchanging doctrine, and therefore transcends the utilitarian and anthropomorphic morality of modern society.