As the 25th of May draws nearer it seems the rhetoric on the No side reaches ever higher pitches in its frenzied mania. Earlier in the week a Councillor in Leitrim, Des Guickan, claimed in an email sent around to constituents that "sex slavery will be normalised" if the 8th Amendment is allowed to be repealed.
Now, Dr. Desmond Farrell, the Bishop of Ossory - a diocese in West Leinster - has said, in an interview with Pat Kenny on Newstalk, that from "what I understand from women who have been raped, is that the abortion that followed sometimes after rape was far worse than the rape itself."
He was on the show to talk about a letter that had been disseminated to his priests and churches in his diocese, that voiced his opposition to the repealing of the 8th Amendment. He described that abortion, once legislated for, would be extremely difficult to restrict.
He argued on the show that his "fundamental argument is that the right to life is fundamental - and that all other rights are based on that, no matter what other right we talk about. Whether it's the to speech, the right to health, the right to housing, all of those rights are predicated on the basic right that we have a right to life."
The Bishop in the interview said that he had no issue with the termination of ectopic pregnancies, where there was evidently no hope for a successful pregnancy and the life of the mother was endangered. However he was more ambiguous in his views on cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, speaking of two cases he was aware of in the last parish he was in where women gave birth to children with "life-limiting conditions" and said that carrying the children to term gave them a time for "healing, a time for memory" and that they were able to "cuddle their son or daughter".
The Bishop, Dr. Farrell and Pat Kenny proceeded to discuss several other aspect of the main points of debate surrounding the referendum before the issue of rape was brought up for with the Bishop. He decried rape as a terrible crime, he said that rape is a "violent act and it's a violent crime against a woman - a terrible crime." When Pat Kenny brought up the issue of rape in the case of incest, even in cases with minors, he stated that the sanctity of the life of the unborn remained paramount while stating that of course the crimes themselves needed to be prosecuted.