A Comment from the President the MCI on the forthcoming Referendum in the Republic of Ireland

Like society itself, the Methodist Church in Ireland is composed of a variety of people and opinions.

While the Church has a policy on many topics to help and inform its members, it never advocates how individual members should vote. In advance of the up-coming vote on the Eighth Amendment the Methodist Church, through its Council on Social Responsibility, reminded its members in January of its thinking on this matter.

As the Referendum date draws close I want to stress two key points in this statement.

Firstly the statement reads,

“We have consistently been against abortion on demand. This remains the case. A holistic concern for the emotional, physical and social health of mothers, as well as our belief that the unborn should have a right to life, underpins our call that the present discussion would encourage the development of a society that does not just adopt what has come to be seen as a default response, but provides its citizens with frameworks for all to thrive.”

So we have clearly stated that we are opposed to abortion on demand and, as I understand it, all Methodists wish to see fewer abortions, but not all agree on the best strategy for achieving this. Some believe the retention of the Eighth Amendment is the most effective way to minimise abortions while others feel detailed legislation would be more appropriate.

The second point from the statement which I wish to reiterate is,

“We are adamant that support services should be put in place for women who proceed with a challenging pregnancy.”

Whatever the result of the Referendum, the Methodist Church will continue to strongly and consistently call for increased investment in adoptive/fostering services, support services for children with disabilities and hospice care for babies as well as in improved care for women’s health before, during and after pregnancy.

Furthermore, the current crisis over cervical cancer screening mistakes and the ensuing tragedy for some families highlights the need for increased investment in women’s health in general.

Finally I urge us all to pray earnestly about this issue, for all affected by a crisis pregnancy and for our political leaders.

Rev Dr Laurence Graham, May 2018