Catholic hospitals must provide abortions, says Taoiseach

Catholic hospitals will have to provide abortion services said the Taoiseach in the Dáil yesterday. In reply to a question from Socialist TD, Mick Barry, Leo Varadkar said the proposed abortion legislation will allow individuals to opt out based on their consciences or religious convictions but will not allow institutions to do so. This means that “hospitals such as Holles Street, which has a Catholic voluntary ethos, the Mater, St. Vincent’s and others will be required and expected to carry out any procedure that is legal in the State.”

He added: “As I indicated when it comes to the abortion legislation, just as is the case with the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act, the conscientious objection will apply to individuals; it will not apply to institutions. Under that legislation, enacted by this Dáil in 2013, voluntary hospitals that have a Catholic ethos are required to provide the service if it is necessary.”

In 2013, both St Vincent’s and the Mater said they would perform abortions on the suicide ground under the terms of the Protection of Human Life During Pregnancy Act.