Irish PM Says Catholic Hospitals Must Perform Abortions

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced that legislation soon to be drafted by the Irish Parliament that will make abortion legal in Ireland up to 12 weeks (and up to 24 weeks for “extreme” cases) will also require that all publicly-funded hospitals perform abortions, even if those hospitals are Catholic hospitals. Healthcare in Ireland is government-funded, so pretty much every hospital receives at least some public funds. Individual doctors and nurses will be able to opt-out of performing or assisting in abortions, but even they will be required to refer a woman wanting an abortion to a doctor who is willing to perform it.

Leo Varadkar had run for office as a pro-life candidate, but when public opinion moved away from protections for children in the womb, Varadkar moved with it. Obviously, he is now completely committed to the “right” of a woman to kill the child in her womb, and of the obligation of Catholics and others who did not get into healthcare for the purpose of killing people to nevertheless do their part in the killing.

In a statement, the bishops of Ireland responded to the news: “For healthcare professionals, the right of conscientious objection must be respected. It would be a great injustice to require doctors and nurses to participate, even by referral, in the provision of services which would be a serious violation of their conscience.”

Apparently, it is the position of the Irish Prime Minster that doctors and nurses perform their duties at the pleasure of the state, that they are mere tools of the state, and that their consciences, their ability to ascertain right from wrong, especially as it pertains to what is best for their patients, is subject to the will of the state. Little did doctors and nurses suspect that in receiving their degrees and licenses to practice healthcare they had become automatons of the state, obliged to do the bidding of the Prime Minister and Parliament, regardless of their status as individuals or professionals who actually care about their patients. According to the Catholic News Service article linked above, more than 70 percent of healthcare professionals in Ireland have communicated an unwillingness to perform abortions. Abortionists are going to have their hands full, it seems. Likely, as their case loads expand, there will be greater risk for harm to the mothers, more mistakes will take place, more botched abortions.

Let’s be clear: the goal here is not safe and legal abortions. That is simply the instrument to effect the will of the state. The goal is to subject all persons and institutions to the will of the state. The state must be the primary institution in the lives of citizens, prior to family and prior to Church. This is the real goal here. Statism demands that none claim a place of priority over the state in the life of the individual citizen. If it takes forcing the Church to deny her own identity, those teachings and principles that give her her reason for being, or to force the Church into such a small enclave of society as to be rendered irrelevant to all but a few, either option will do.

This is not merely a violation of the rights of individuals to stake their own claim in defining themselves. It is a violation of the First Commandment: “I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods before me” (Ex 20:2-3).

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

One thought on “Irish PM Says Catholic Hospitals Must Perform Abortions

  1. This is incredibly sad. It is also not surprising. I believe you are absolutely spot on indicating that it is a an attempt to effect the will of the state.
    In a different light, the law likely can only be enforced if government funds part or all of the care. The precepts of the Church do not call for the creation of hospitals. Certainly, the social teachings of the Church are put forth in doing so, but there is no requirement for Church-sponsored hospitals. If law conflicts with the precepts of the Church, the precepts must be followed. A mix of government funding and Church teachings can lead to such conflict and that’s what’s being seen in this case. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and all that.
    There is no question that right to life is God’s right. So, Catholic hospitals must either disobey the law, shut down (one may lead to the other) or find private ways to fund care outside of government funds.
    Certainly, public-private partnerships can bring about a greater good. But sometimes, the payer (in this case, the government) asserts their will upon the payee (the hospitals). So, very hard, very sad decisions must be made on how to proceed.
    Incredibly sad. Pray. Pray fervently. Pray unceasingly.


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