Top Irish hospital will refuse to carry out abortions despite new law
Catholic ethos of Mater Hospital precludes abortion says priest board member
One of Ireland’s top hospitals, the Mater, should not be expected to perform abortions in accordance with the recently passed Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, according to a priest who is a member of the hospital’s board of governors.
The act authorizes abortion in Ireland in very limited circumstances, specifically when there is threat to the life of the mother, and was signed into law last month.
The Mater, a Catholic hospital founded in 1861 by the Sisters of Mercy, should not be expected to perform abortions, says board member Father Kevin Doran.
“The Mater can’t carry out abortions because it goes against its ethos. I would be very concerned that the Minister [for Health, James Reilly] sees fit to make it impossible for hospitals to have their own ethos,” Doran told “The Irish Times.”
“The issue is broader than just abortion. What’s happening is the minister is saying hospitals are not entitled to have an ethos.”
The Mater was named as one of 25 “appropriate institutions” to carry out abortions, according to the act.
As a result, the hospital is facing a “very, very grave” situation, says Sister Eugene Nolan, a nurse tutor and member of the hospital’s board of directors.
“It is against our ethos. The main thing is we have an obligation to preserve the ethos of the hospital and still try and do the best we can. [The legislation] will have to be looked at very carefully,” she added.
St. Vincent’s University Hospital, also in Dublin, was named as one of the 25 abortion-approved facilities. A spokesperson told “The Irish Times” that the hospital would, “as always, be following the law of the land.”
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