Irish President Michael D. Higgins signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act into law Tuesday, making abortion legal in cases where the mother’s life is at stake. Despite the shift in beliefs from the Irish government, the Catholic Church is remaining constant in their opposition to the amendment.
The amendment received tremendous support from lawmakers earlier this month after the death of Savita Halappanavar prompted public outrage. A local dentist, Halappanavar died due to complications during a miscarriage. The beliefs of the Catholic Church and the illegality of abortion in Ireland allegedly prevented the young woman's life from being saved over her child's.
President Higgins stated the amendment is a move toward "basic human rights," completely the opposite view of the Catholic Church. Steadfast in their biblical interpretation of abortion, the Catholic Church has firmly opposed abortion under all circumstances. Despite shifting public support of the law that gives rights to Irish women, the Catholic Church is unlikely to concede in the inevitable battle to overturn the new law.
Regardless of recent uncertainty concerning the direction of the Catholic Church regarding homosexuality, the Church's records show no sign of budging in regard to abortion. The Catholic Church has historically denounced any form of abortion, not only in Ireland but throughout the entire world. The beliefs surrounding birth control and abortion are at the core to the church and have remained constant despite changing laws. While the current conversation in the Irish government frames abortion as women's rights, the church sees the topic as a matter of sin and directly deems all abortions an outrage.
Their position is not surprising given their consistent track record regarding reproductive health from a biblical perspective. Prior to voting, Irish bishops deemed the bill "a tragic moment for Irish society when we regard the deliberate destruction of a completely innocent person." Unfortunately for the bishops, the fate of the bill will be left up to the Supreme Court and the divided people of Ireland. The heavy movement to dissolve the church's relationship with the state doesn't help the church's fight to keep a grip on abortion laws.
Although no appeal has been set, it is only a matter of time before the divided country will seek a Supreme Court ruling. While the Church remains persistent to prevent abortions, the changing politics of Ireland provide a promising future for the bill and for the women of Ireland.