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Now available to purchase on Kindle and Paperback here.

The repeal of the Eighth Amendment was a turning point in Irish social history, especially in relation to the Catholic Church. But abortion is not a settled matter and it will continue to generate controversy. Likewise, issues such as surrogacy and assisted dying will give rise to sharp differences of opinion. Legislation that seeks to address bioethical topics such as these will inevitably provoke demands for amendments or repeal. By examining developments in biomedical science, Irish law and some central aspects of Catholic moral teaching, Don O’Leary builds a thorough analysis of controversies relating to: 

  • contraception 
  • abortion 
  • IVF 
  • Surrogacy 
  • human embryonic stem cell research 
  • assisted dying 
  • church control of healthcare services 

Biomedical Controversies in Catholic Ireland is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the historical background, ethical arguments and scientific advances that will inform debates about morality and social policy in the coming years

Now available to purchase on Kindle and Paperback here.


“…this book makes a valuable addition to the history of the relationship between Church and State in Ireland in the provision of health care, particularly as it relates to reproductive health.” Dr Peter Boylan (former Master of the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin), History Ireland, January-February 2021, p. 69. Full article available online here (Subscription required).

“Biomedical Controversies in Catholic Ireland is an excellent book…because it delivers a detailed examination of highly complex and emotionally charged subjects in a nuanced and articulate manner, but remains highly accessible.” Dr Olivia Dee, Newcastle University; online review for the Women’s History Association of Ireland. Full article available online here.

“[T]he author rightly comments on the lacklustre campaign waged in these debates by the Catholic Church, weighed down with depression after the scandals of recent decades.” Professor (emeritus) William Reville, University College Cork; The Irish Catholic, 26 November 2020, p. 37. Full article available here (Subscription required).