Church Could Lose Control Of Hospitals Following Proposed Abortion Ban

The Catholic Church may lose control of hospitals in the wake of released guidelines stating they would ban abortion as it clashed with their religious beliefs.

Racks of figurines of the Virgin Mary on sale in hospitals
Image: Photo by Thom Masat

Following yesterday’s news that the Catholic Church could break the law and refuse to offer abortion services across their hospitals, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stated that public hospitals should be removed from their ownership.

Speaking on the proposed ban, Leo Varadkar said “Religious bodies are of course entitled to come up with their own ethical guidelines but the ones that should be followed in publicly funded hospitals are those of the medical council and that is what I would very much expect to happen.”  

An Taoiseach continued, “A lot [of hospitals] are publicly funded but not publicly owned. My view is that we should separate the church and state; that the church should no longer be at the centre of public life… We need to work out a process and a system over the next couple of years when it comes to both health and education to make sure that the approach is one that is more appropriate for a modern country.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said a report on the plan to separate church and state in healthcare is on the way in upcoming weeks.

It was reported yesterday that the Irish Catholic Bishops had published their Code of Ethical Standards for Healthcare which detailed proposed bans on contraception, gender reassignment surgery, crisis pregnancy counselling with information on abortion and counselling for families going through a fatal foetal abnormality diagnosis that lists termination as an option. It also stated that limited reproductive assistance procedures would not be given to unmarried women or same-sex couples. These guidelines would apply to over 20 hospitals across the country. 

There was understandably a huge backlash as the Code is basically illegal, meaning the Church believes itself to be above the law and the people of the country it continues to attempt to impose its will upon.

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