Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Priest quits abortion law hospital

Father Kevin Doran has resigned from the Mater Hospital in Dublin after it signed up to comply with new abortion laws

A priest has resigned from the board of the one of the country's largest Catholic-owned hospitals after its decision to carry out abortions under new laws.

Dublin cleric Father Kevin Doran confirmed his departure from the Mater Hospital claiming he cannot in conscience subscribe to its plan to comply with legislation.

The Mater, in Dublin's north inner city, is one of 25 named in controversial legislation where a pregnancy can be terminated if the woman's life is in danger.

"I have resigned because I cannot in conscience subscribe to the statement issued by the Mater," said Father Doran, adding that he did not want the issue to be about him.

Hospital chiefs last week said they had carefully considered the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act and would abide by the law.

The legislation will allow for abortions in cases where there is a risk to the life of a woman as a result of her pregnancy, including risk of suicide.

Donnybrook based Father Doran had previously claimed the hospital could not follow the law because of its Catholic ethos.

The priest also argued European regulations could allow the hospital to opt out of the new laws.

Announcing his resignation, Father Doran told the Irish Catholic newspaper that he felt a Catholic hospital has to bear witness.

"It's about bearing witness to Gospel values alongside providing excellent care," he added.

The Mater Hospital was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1861. It is now run as a private company, mostly owned by the same religious order as well as the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, the Catholic Nurses Guild of Ireland, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and medical consultants.

Another of the 25 hospitals named in the law as an "appropriate institution" for an abortion to be carried out to save the life of a pregnant woman is the Catholic-run St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin, part-owned by the Sisters of Charity.

The hospital has already confirmed it will follow "the law of the land".

A spokeswoman for the Mater said: " I can confirm on behalf of the Mater Hospital that Father Doran has resigned.

"The Mater will not be any further comment."

In a statement, Fr Doran said the main issue concerned the clause in the new legislation relating to suicide.

"Women are entitled to essential medical treatment during pregnancy even when that treatment results in the unintended loss of life of the unborn as an indirect consequence," he said.

"This principle has guided Catholic hospitals for many years. The Mater Hospital has an excellent track record of service and care in the spirit of the Gospel.

"The Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act, in Section 9, envisages the direct and deliberate taking of human life as a social response to the threat of suicide. Women should always be provided with proper medical care if they are at risk of suicide.

"The deliberate taking of human life is not medical treatment, however, and is contrary to Catholic teaching which values each human life equally.

"Without prejudice to what might or might not actually happen in any hospital in the future, I could not, in conscience, support a statement which indicates without qualification a willingness to comply with the law as provided for in the Act."

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