The Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland have urged Catholic voters to avoid supporting pro-abortion candidates in the regional elections next week.
The bishops have released a pastoral reflection for voters ahead of polling day which said: “The moral issue here is not whether what is proposed is abortion ‘on demand’ or some form of so-called ‘limited’ abortion.
“From a moral point of view, there is no such things as ‘limited’ abortion. Abortion is always the deliberate and intentional taking of an innocent, vulnerable human life, and a direct breach of the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’.”
In Northern Ireland abortion is only legal where the mother’s life is in direct danger.
The bishops said: “The principle of the inviolability of innocent human life is the most fundamental of all moral principles. It is the basis upon which every human right we enjoy as persons is predicated. This is not only a religious doctrine, but a universal human value upon which our very freedom and dignity as a person rests.”
The document also referred to same-sex marriage and quoted Pope Francis as it emphasised that there are “no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”.
The statement appealed to voters to “reflect on the importance of the family based on marriage between one man and one woman, as the foundation and cornerstone of society and therefore deserving of special recognition and protection in policy and law”.