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bishop of elphin

Minister on bishop's comments: 'Contraception is fact of life now for women'

Mary Mitchell O’Conner said she agreed with the health minister that religion should not determine health and social policy in Ireland.

“CONTRACEPTION IS A fact of life now for women,” said Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor when asked about her reaction comments made by Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran last week.

The Bishop’s comments were reported in the Irish Times last night, which said that he was speaking at an event in Dublin marking the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, when he said the document’s principles have been “ignored for too long”.

Humanae Vitae, which can be read on a Vatican website here, addresses the issues of family planning and contraception. It looks at the Church’s moral teaching on marriage, and its stance on “married love”.

It states that the Church “teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life”.

It also says that “direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children”.

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.

pjimage-12-18-390x285 Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran and Health Minister Simon Harris

The comments attracted harsh criticism from Health Minister Simon Harris over the weekend, who hit back by stating:

Please make it stop! Increasing access to and availability of contraception in Ireland “is and will remain public health policy.

Mitchell O’Connor said she agreed with Minister Harris’ comments.

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“Simon Harris has his job to do and I am Minister for Higher Education and I have my job to do. I have to ensure our students are safe that they can learn and can flourish, and contraception is a fact of life and we are going to have to deal with it.”

She added that contraception is one of the issues Education Minister Richard has asked be included in the National Council on Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) review Ireland’s sex education programmes being taught in Irish schools.

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