Discussing the 8th Amendment
Irish philosopher Dr Patrick Riordan SJ recently gave a talk at the Loyola Institute forum at Trinity College Dublin, entitled ‘Living Humanely: Perspectives from Law, Morality and Science’ on 13 April, 2018. In it he discussed the impact the vote on the 8th amendment could have on these areas.
Dr Riordan emphasised the philosophy of John Locke who argued to “do no harm” in the late 1600s, and sees its significance in today’s debate. He disagrees with American Ronald Dworkin (1931-2013) who said that issues such as abortion ought to be private matters.
Pointing out that it is unprecedented to remove constitutional rights from anyone, he questioned where a yes vote could have possible future unforeseen consequences.
He also said that a language or rights can be divisive and would rather a more nuanced language offering greater scope for medical professionals to deal with difficult cases.
Dr Riordan talks about the “permissive” law on abortion in the UK, as he sees it, looking at sex selection and children with Down’s syndrome. He ultimately feels the need to promote a message of love for all as depicted in the Gospel.