Boldly borrowing the language of Catholic Pontiffs, Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny has said that legislation introduced by his government to allow abortion in some cases will promote a “culture of life.”
Kenny claimed that the proposed change in Irish law, which would allow abortion if the mother’s health is endangered, is “about the protection of the lives of women and full respect for the life of the unborn.”
The Taoiseach rejected criticism from Ireland’s four archbishops, who said that the proposal would lead to a much broader acceptance of legal abortion. Kenny said that he plans to discuss the issue when he meets with Church leaders in January.
However, the Irish political leader also issued a public reminder of his disputes with the Catholic Church by claiming that he had been threatened with “revenge” for criticizing the Vatican. He did not identify the source of the threat, nor did he say what form the “revenge” might take.
Meanwhile a leading Irish pro-life activist argued that the government’s case for a change in the country’s abortion law is based on a series of falsehoods. In an Irish Times op-ed column, William Binchy said that the death of Savita Halappanavar, which has been used as the rallying point for efforts to end the abortion ban, would not have been prevented by the proposed legislation. Moreover, he writes, the European Court of Human Rights did not call upon Ireland to change its fundamental law, and the “expert group” appointed by the government to study the law had a broad mandate to consider other options.