The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, has signalled a possible legal challenge to proposed abortion legislation unless it is changed.
Catholic bishops have described the proposed bill as “morally unacceptable,” and Cardinal Brady has told politicians they have a “solemn duty” to oppose abortion.
The Catholic Primate said legislators had an obligation to oppose laws that sought to attack the right to life.
Spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops Conference, Father Tim Bartlett, said the Bishops will vigorously oppose the bill if its not changed.
He said: "What has happened in this legislation, very few people have picked it up, and it is difficult to believe it is not quite deliberate in its intent.
"But its intent is to prevent Catholic and other faith-based hospitals that share our view and indeed organisations with no faith that still share our views on abortion, it is going to impose a duty to provide abortion in those hospitals.
"That is totally unacceptable and a breach of the principle of religious freedom."