One of the two nuns on the board of the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin has stressed it “won’t be performing abortions” following the introduction of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act.
According to the Irish Times, Sr Eugene Nolan, nurse tutor at the hospital, stated: “We deal with complicated situations, we do not set out to lose babies. If we do lose babies it’s not because we set out to. A dose of reality is needed here.”
These comments follow the resignation of Fr Kevin Doran, another religious director of the institution, who gave up his position after the hospital released a brief statement last week in which it confirmed it would comply with the new abortion laws. He said: “I can’t reconcile my own conscience personally with the statement, largely because I feel a Catholic hospital has to bear witness.”
Both Fr Doran and Sr Nolan stated last month that the hospital could not follow the law because of its Catholic ethos. Sr Nolan described Fr Doran’s resignation as “a tragedy” and “huge loss”. Asked her position now, she said she was considering her response to the hospital’s decision to comply with the Act.
The issue was also an “extremely difficult one” for the Sisters of Mercy, founders of the Mater hospital in 1861, she said. One of the options discussed was a legal challenge to the Act but Sr Nolan said: “We don’t have the money to take on the Government. I don’t know what the sisters will do.”
The Mater is one of 25 “appropriate institutions” specifically required by legislation to perform abortions if the mother’s life is in danger, including from risk of suicide. It is also one of two Catholic voluntary hospitals on the list, the other being St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin, which also said it would comply with the Act.