O'Malley said Kenny has violated Catholic teaching on abortion by backing a law that would allow the procedure in some limited circumstances, Catholic Education Daily reported. He said the college, a Jesuit institution, is violating the directives of the U.S. Conference of Bishops by giving Kenny an honorary degree at the commencement ceremony May 20.
Kenny has backed a law that would permit abortion to save the life of a pregnant woman, including when a panel of doctors determines she is likely to commit suicide. The law codifies a 1992 ruling by the Irish Supreme Court and was given new urgency by the death of a woman who went into early labor and died at a Galway hospital when doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy as long as they could detect a fetal heartbeat.
Jack Dunn, a spokesman for the college, said the prime minister was invited a year ago to celebrate the relationship between B.C. and Ireland, the Boston Globe said.
"Our invitation is independent of the proposed bill that will be debated in the Irish parliament this summer," Dunn said.
O'Malley urged Ireland to reject the proposed abortion law.
"Abortion is the taking of an innocent human life; everyone should resist abortion. Ireland has the good fortune, in part thanks to Catholic sensibilities, that her people have been opposed to abortion despite the great pressure that they have come under from secularizing forces," he said.