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Cardinal caught by backlash over abortion warning

Scotland’s most senior Roman Catholic faced a furious political backlash last night after he launched an outspoken attack on what he described as the “evil trade of abortion”.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien was criticised by politicians, health workers and pro-choice campaigners after he called for the Abortion Act, passed exactly 40 years ago, to be redrawn to make it harder for women to have terminations.

In a sermon marking the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, he issued a warning to Catholic politicians of “the barrier such co-operation (on abortion) erects to receiving Holy Communion”.

But critics and even fellow Catholics warned the cardinal not to use the sacraments as a “political weapon”.

Liberal Democrat MSP Jeremy Purvis (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale) said: “I think it’s very unfortunate he has chosen to use extreme and provocative language, and a hectoring and bullying tone against MSPs and MPs who every day balance their own consciences against what they think are the best interests of their constituents.”

Terry Sanderson, of the National Secular Society, said: “There is an implied call to Catholic politicians and health workers to place Catholic doctrine above the wishes of the electorate. This is undemocratic and unacceptable.”

Full story at The Herald.

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