Address by Bishop Kevin Doran (Elphin Diocese) at a Conference on ‘Abortion, Disability and the Law’ that was held in Athlone on 20th October 2017.
This Conference was hosted jointly in Athlone by the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and the Consultative Group on Bioethics of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Consultative Group on Bioethics
The Consultative Group on Bioethics and Life Questions is a forum for the exploration of current issues in the ethics of healthcare and of biomedical research. It seeks to develop and promote an understanding of these issues which is consistent with the gospel, with the teaching of the magisterium, and the best available scientific knowledge.
The Committee for Bioethics was established in 1996 as a sub-committee of the Joint Healthcare Commission. It subsequently became an independent commission of the Episcopal Conference, under the umbrella of the Department of Catholic Education and Formation. In 2005 it developed into a Bishops’ Consultative Group.
The modus operandi of the group is to draw on the expertise of a large interdisciplinary panel of consultors, drawn from the various healthcare professions, the natural sciences, philosophy and theology.
The Consultative Group prepares guidelines for the Irish Episcopal Conference on bioethical issues; prepares materials which will communicate the Church’s teaching on bioethical issues to various categories of people – Catholic professionals, other Christians, lay Catholics, and the general public; suggests areas in the bioethical field or in related spheres for research and study by the Catholic Bishops’ Joint Committee on Bio-Ethical Issues (Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales); and promotes circulation of documents published by the Joint Committee on these issues.
A number of documents have been prepared by the Consultative Group for the Irish Bishops’ Conference on End of Life Care and Artificial Human Reproduction. The group has acted as an advisory body to the Episcopal Conference on aspects of biomedical research, including pharmaceutical trials and stem cell research.