Ireland’s Catholic bishops have urged church members to tell their public representatives they oppose abortion.

They have warned that legislators are facing a critical decision on whether or not to uphold the right to life of both the mother and the child in the womb.

Speaking on their behalf, Bishop of Killala Dr John Fleming said the government would decide within weeks how to respond to the European Court of Human Right's judgment two years ago on the Supreme Court's 1992 ruling in the X case.

Dr Fleming warned that the Cabinet's response could allow for the introduction of pro-abortion legislation for the first time here.

The bishop said that Christians who live their faith believe they cannot do what they will with their bodies because they come from God and are created in his image.

Dr Fleming was speaking at the national Marian Shrine in Knock, Co Mayo.