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Dr Michael Jackson says any move to bring legal clarity to the topic of abortion is to be welcomed. Niall Carson/PA Archive

Anglican Archbishop welcomes moves 'to bring clarity' to abortion law

Dr Michael Jackson says the abortion issue is one of “almost indescribable complexity”.

THE ANGLICAN Archbishop of Dublin has welcomed the government’s plans to introduce legislation on abortion in Ireland – saying the complexity of the issue means clear legal guidance is needed.

Dr Michael Jackson said his Church recognised that “that any decision which, in respect of a woman’s health, results in a termination is a terribly weighty one.”

“Our hope would also be that appropriate clarity will facilitate those who are practitioners in the field, namely nurses, doctors and others, as well as parents,” he said in a statement.

Jackson said the Church of Ireland believed that a “real and substantial risk” to the life of a mother was grounds to make a decision on whether a pregnancy should be terminated.

He said this was in line with the stance agreed by Anglican bishops in 1958, where it was agreed that Christians would reject any practice of induced abortion, “save at the dictate of strict and undeniable medical necessity.”

Jackson said the Church’s main concern was to ensure that the legislation being drafted adequately outlined a method by which a threat to the mother’s life could be measured.

“We look forward to contributing our perspective during the period of consultation,” he said. “We further feel that authoritative guidance on this subject is urgently needed.”

The Church of Ireland’s stance is in contrast to that of the Catholic Church, whose four Archbishops – including Jackson’s counterpart Diarmuid Martin – said the government decision would “pave the way for the direct and intentional killing of unborn children”.

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