In this interview with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications, Irish Jesuit philosopher Dr Patrick Riordan discusses the 8th Amendment in light of his talk at the Loyola Institute forum at Trinity College Dublin, entitled ‘Living Humanely: Perspectives from Law, Morality and Science’ on 13 April, 2018.
Dr Riordan supports 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.
Rather than relying on a language of rights, Dr Riordan wants a greater scope of action for medical professionals to deal with difficult cases, asserting that those actions can then be tested for their constitutionality.
Dr Riordan talks about the “permissive” law on abortion in the UK, as he sees it, and he promotes a message of love as depicted in the Gospel, paying particular attention to children with Down’s syndrome.