The Referendum on Abortion in Ireland: The Violation of Rights
by Maria Horan
“The [Irish] State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
Inserted into the Irish Constitution on the 7th of October 1983.
Voted to be removed on the 25th of May 2018.
Since the establishment of the independent Irish state in 1922, Ireland has always prided herself on her neutral stance. Ireland’s war-time neutrality, together with its former colonial past, has helped Irish soldiers work as peacekeepers around the world. Though Irish history has been steeped in blood, in recent years, Irish policymakers and activists have promoted peaceful negotiation. However, the rush to legalise abortion in Ireland negates the years of this hard work and indeed subverts the push for peace in Ireland, both within the whole island and internationally.
Violation of Irish Sovereignty
With the collapse of the Anglo-Irish Bank in 2008 (thanks to the mismanagement of the Irish government), Ireland was forced to take a bailout of 7 billion euros from the European Bank. The funds awarded to Ireland by Germany served to make the Republic even more vulnerable to the “groupthink” ideals of more powerful European nations. So it’s hardly surprising that Ireland is now beholden to the European Union and other pro-abortion global forces.
Ireland has excellent standards in maternity care, which means the country has served for years as an uncomfortable exception to the global claim that women are safer where abortion is legal. But this has been ignored by the international powers that be, as Ireland’s good maternal health challenges this erroneous but widespread belief. Now that Ireland’s pro-life example is about to be removed, global abortion advocates will be able to continue to attempt to spread the deception that women are safer where abortion is legal. In Europe, the only abortion-free countries that will be left are Northern Ireland, where protections for the unborn are under severe threat, as well as Poland and tiny Malta, both also threatened.
Violation of Irish Independence
In autumn 2016, my former university Women’s Studies lecturer, Ailbhe Smyth, marked the 100th-anniversary celebration of the Irish Rising against British rule by inviting the staunchly pro-abortion Ann Furedi of BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) to Ireland. Smyth, who later became spokesperson of the pro-abortion Repeal the 8th group, wanted to discuss how Furedi could help Ireland promote the abortion legalisation. Furedi’s views are radically pro-abortion: she supports abortion up to birth for any reason, including because of the child’s gender.
Furedi and BPAS hail from Britain, Ireland’s former colonizer. British colonial rule in Ireland included episodes of extreme violence and repression against the Irish. These include scorched-earth policies ordered by Elizabeth I, Cromwell’s massacres in Ireland, the Penal Laws, The Great Hunger (Irish famine of 1845-1851), and killings during the Irish uprising of 1916.
Clearly, the irony of inviting in a citizen of Ireland’s former coloniser to discuss how best to kill pre-born Irish citizens was completely wasted on Repeal the 8th. Thus, in 2016, a British abortion advocate was invited to Ireland, to instruct the Irish on how to kill their own. With the removal of the 8th Amendment, now there will be nothing to stop British abortion mill Marie Stopes (who have already expressed interest in Ireland) or Furedi’s BPAS in setting up clinics all around Ireland.
Violation of Democracy
Through the outcome of the Repeal vote, the Irish have foolishly handed over all autonomy to their government, allowing this small group of people to create any abortion laws they like, with citizens having no rights to object. And now, with a small but vocal number of abortion extremists in the Dáil (Irish Lower House of Parliament), this is becoming more likely to occur.
Abortion in Ireland will likely be available on demand, up to 12 weeks for any reason, and at taxpayers’ expense. The Irish healthcare system is already stretched to the limit, but Minister for Health Simon Harris chose to ignore the real health issues and plumped for abortion, clearly as a means to gain instant popular approval and future votes.
Meanwhile, predictably enough, now that abortion is to be legalised in Ireland, euthanasia is being discussed in the Dáil. Now that the pre-born Irish are disposable, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the elderly in Ireland are seen to be a burden as well.
Violation of Conscientious Objection
Since the voting outcome, conscientious objection of doctors has been systematically ignored. The abortion service to be rolled out in Ireland is the bizarre practice of GPs being expected to hand out the abortion pill to women 12 weeks pregnant and under. GPs were never consulted by the government about this and a journalist in the staunchly pro-abortion Irish Times paper has called on the government to force doctors to perform these procedures, thus echoing the inhumane treatment that midwife Ellinor Grimark had to endure in her native “progressive” Sweden, because of her refusal to participate in abortions. This is deeply disturbing and goes against international standards of conscientious objection, despite its continuous erosion, such as that of Scottish midwives Mary Doogan and Connie Wood in the UK.
It is completely unreasonable to expect family practice GPs to start handing out abortion pills and deal with the consequences if anything goes wrong. This is a malpractice suit waiting to happen. Both Harris and Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar have refused to listen to doctors’ objections to this, which is especially bizarre considering that Varadkar practised medicine before his political career. As one Irish doctor pointed out, GPs don’t have ultrasounds in their clinics, so they have no way to verify whether a woman is twelve weeks pregnant, which the planned cut-off line for the abortion pill clinic distribution.
The Truth Will Out
What now remains? There is still a strong pro-life movement in Ireland, many of whom became acquainted during the networking months before the referendum. Many Irish had become complacent about being pro-life, presuming that Ireland was safe from such violence, which is now sadly untrue. However, it is a chance for the Irish to stand strong, revive the movement and take back what has been lost by this generation. Those who voted ‘no’ behaved with integrity and can hold their heads high.
This will be challenging, as those opposed to the violence of abortion are already being treated with disdain and contempt, as reflected in the Irish media. However, it is really important that the work that needs to be done is carried out with dignity. Our day will come again. Truth will out. In the meantime, we need to be patient and continue to work with honour. We need to keep repeating the facts, again and again, until they are eventually heard.
F0r another post on our blog from Maria Horan about Ireland, see Sinn Féin and the New Legacy of Violence.