Ireland’s Catholic Bishops have been accused of hating women by a leading female Labour Party Senator.

Ivana Bacik made the accusation during a parliamentary hearing on proposals to allow for abortion where a mother’s life is at risk.

The Irish Independent
reports that Senator Bacik has accused the Catholic Bishops of opposing the legislation on the basis of ‘misogyny towards women’ and a belief in the ‘innate deceitfulness of women.’

Bacik told the parliamentary hearing: “Can you say what business it is of a Church whose members are entirely and exclusively male and celibate to pronounce in such absolutist terms on such a critical issue in terms of reproductive rights for both women and girls?”

Bacik was then interrupted by the parliament’s Health committee chair Jerry Buttimer TD who pointed out to her that the Catholic Church is made up of both men and women.

Well known priest Fr Timothy Bartlett responded to the attack by saying that he had never been labelled as a misogynist before.

Fr Bartlett called for speakers to avoid creating ‘caricatures’ of people which did not reflect their true stance.

Read more: Irish politicians must rule on abortion law decisions despite Catholic Church objections

The hearing also heard from Bishop of Elphin Dr Christopher Jones that there is ‘no need’ for abortion legislation to protect the lives of pregnant women as he outlined the bishops’ opposition to the legislation, saying that they were opposed to the deliberate killing of an unborn baby.

Bishop Jones said: “This is different from medical treatment to save the life of the mother where there is no other option and where intervention does not intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn baby.

“Any suggestion that Ireland is an unsafe place for pregnant mothers due to the ban on abortion is a complete distortion of the truth.”

He then repeated the bishops’ opposition to legislating for the 1992 Supreme Court X case which allowed for abortion in the case of a suicidal pregnant teenage rape victim.

The paper reports that Bishop Jones said consideration should be given to either a referendum on abortion to overturn this judgment or updated medical guidelines for doctors treating pregnant women.

Read more: Irish politicians must rule on abortion law decisions despite Catholic Church objections