Hospital board member resigns

A Mater Hospital board member who claimed the facility would ignore new abortion laws as they contradict its Catholic ethos has resigned after being overruled by colleagues.

In August, Fr Kevin Doran said the voluntary hospital would not comply with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.

Despite being named as one of the 25 “appropriate institutions” where the procedures can take place under the law, the priest said the facility’s Catholic ethos blocked any such proposals.

A meeting of the board last week contradicted the priest’s claims, with officials confirming the hospital will adhere to the new law.

As a result, Fr Doran yesterday stood down.

“Women are entitled to essential medical treatment during pregnancy even when that treatment results in the unintended loss of life of the unborn as an indirect consequence,” he said

“This principle has guided Catholic hospitals for many years. The Mater Hospital has an excellent track record of service and care in the spirit of the gospel. “The Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act, in section nine, envisages the direct and deliberate taking of human life as a social response to the threat of suicide.

“Women should always be provided with proper medical care if they are at risk of suicide. “The deliberate taking of human life is not medical treatment, however, and is contrary to Catholic teaching which values each human life equally. “Without prejudice to what might or might not actually happen in any hospital in the future, I could not, in conscience, support a statement which indicates without qualification a willingness to comply with the law as provided for in the act.”

When contacted by the Irish Examiner, Fr Doran said it was “my decision completely” to resign.

In a statement last week, the 13-person Mater board — which also includes two nuns — said it would comply with the law of the land as its “priority is to be at the frontier of compassion, concern and clinical care” for patients. A spokesperson declined to comment on Fr Doran’s resignation when contacted. The Mater hospital’s “Catholic ethos” claim stems from its foundation by the Sisters of Mercy in 1861. While it is now considered to be in the public system, it is still run as a voluntary hospital by a private firm mainly controlled by the same organisation, the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin, the Catholic Nurses Guild of Ireland, St Vincent de Paul, and doctors. While Fr Doran claimed the new law allowed hospitals to opt-out provided they can guarantee a patient has access to all options, this clause only relates to individuals, not facilities.


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