Ireland's Roman Catholic bishops say the public should lobby lawmakers to reject a bill that would allow abortions to save the life of the mother.
The bishops in a statement Friday say the bill represents "a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law."
Deputy Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore says the bishops are free to express their opinion, but the government intends to pass the bill by July to fulfill rulings by the Irish Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
Ireland has the most severe restrictions on abortion in Europe. Thousands of Irish abortion-seekers travel annually to England, where abortions have been legal since 1967.
An uproar ensued last year when a woman died from blood poisoning after she was refused an abortion.
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