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02 / 07 / 2008 - Cardinal O`Brien Asks All 646 MPs Not To Further Withdraw Legal Protection From Unborn Children
The Leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland
Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, has taken the unprecedented step of writing to every individual Member of Parliament.
The Cardinal’s letter comes in advance of consideration by MPs of amendments which could further withdraw legal protection of unborn children.
The amendments, proposed for the Report Stage of the HFE Bill, seek to permit abortion on request with the approval of only one doctor; and also to permit nurses and midwives to perform abortions.
Condemning the fact that these proposals will “make early abortion more readily available”, Archbishop O’Brien stated: “we already have a shamefully high level of abortions in the UK”.
He continued: “we face the prospect of making the UK more ubiquitous in Europe for its barbarity in dealing with the unborn…..our spiraling abortion statistics are already a badge of shame for our nation”.
Asking all 646 MPs to extend equality and anti-discrimination legislation to the child before birth, Cardinal O’Brien stated: “now the ideologues would have us remove what little restraint there is in relation to abortion”.
FULL LETTER TEXT BELOW:
26 June 2008
My dear Member of Parliament
As you may know, I recently had the opportunity of visiting the Houses of Parliament, of celebrating Mass and preaching in St Mary Undercroft, and of hosting a reception in the Scotland Office. This visit had been pre-arranged, but occurred shortly after the debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. This is a Bill, as you will be very much aware, which deals with extremely sensitive and controversial issues.
You will be aware also of the opposition I have expressed on behalf of my Church and many others to specific aspects of the bill specifically around inter-species embryos, abortion, saviour siblings and the role of fathers. These have been dealt with in Committee stage albeit not favourably from my perspective.
I wish now, however, to ask you to consider seriously any proposals at Report stage which would make early abortion more readily available. We already have a shamefully high level of abortions in the UK which continues to climb. This cannot be good for anyone involved in the whole process and I ask you respectfully to vote against measures which would exacerbate the situation.
I know that there is still no date set for the Report stage of the Bill. I am aware, however, that amendments have been put down to allow abortion on request up to 24 weeks gestation, with approval needed from one doctor only and a further amendment to allow nurses and midwives to perform abortions. These amendments do reflect very sadly on our society at this present time.
I would hate to think that as I myself grow older, I will look back at the passage of the legislation and ask myself whether or not I did everything possible to fight for the right to life of the unborn. Consequently, I am asking you to seriously use your conscience at this time and let that be your guide as to how you will vote in the short time which lies ahead concerning this Bill.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Yours sincerely in Christ
+ Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh
Source : Scottish Catholic Media Office