Belfast Telegraph

Irish bishop suggests abortion can be 'worse than rape'

An Irish Bishop has said experiencing an abortion can be a worse experience than rape in some circumstances.

Speaking on Newstalk's Pat Kenny Show on Friday, Bishop of Ossory Dermot Farrell was discussing the forthcoming May 25 referendum in the Republic on repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution.

Asked by host Kenny for his views on the use of abortion in cases of rape and incest, Bishop Farrell said: "Rape is a violent act and it is a violent crime against women.

"And it is a terrible crime. What I understand, from women who have been raped is that the abortion, sometimes, after rape was far worse than the rape itself. And it was much, much more difficult to get over."

Bishop Farrell was on the programme to discuss a pastoral letter sent to churches within his diocese ahead of the Referendum later this month, urging a no vote among his parishioners.

He questioned what legislation would be introduced in the case of repeal passing, and that "experience has been the case in other countries that once the doors are open the legislation becomes far more permissive".

Bishop Farrell said issues where a woman or girl became pregnant through incest were "difficult cases... complex cases".

"We might not like how the child has been conceived," he said.

"What you are trying to do is balance rights here. The right of life to the child is paramount."

The Diocese of Ossory covers an area in the east of Ireland, including Kilkenny, parts of Laois and Offaly.

Dermot Farrell was ordained Bishop in March, having been appointed to the position by Pope Francis in January.

He was formerly president of St Patrick's College in Maynooth and served as a parish priest of Dunboyne and Kilbride in Co Meath since 2007.

The Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution gives equal protection to life of the mother and the unborn child, and underpins abortion legislation in the Republic.

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