On May 25 we will be asked to completely remove the right to life of babies in the womb from the Irish Constitution. Why? To allow the Government to introduce abortion on demand into Irish hospitals and GP clinics. The Government want to legalise unrestricted abortion in the first three months of pregnancy and abortion up to six months on grounds including “mental health”, which in Britain means abortion on demand. Abortion will be allowed up to birth if the baby has a life limiting condition.
Abortion is not a caring or compassionate response to crisis pregnancies; it is the deliberate targeting and taking of an innocent human life. It is the cheap and easy solution for a Government unwilling to provide real supports for mothers and their babies in crisis pregnancies. It has nothing to do with genuine healthcare.
Abortion campaigners often give the impression and this referendum is only about dealing with those rare and tragic hard cases. This is a smokescreen for what is actually being proposed. Minister Simon Harris’ proposals will make abortion very widely available. It will be completely unrestricted for the first three months of pregnancy and with only nominal restrictions up to six months of pregnancy. A group of over 200 Lawyers, including two retired judges and a former chair of the referendum commission, have studied the draft legislation and have confirmed that it will lead to abortion on request up to six months. They state that the legislation will provide for abortion up until viability “for reasons so similar to legislation in Great Britain that there is no rational basis for thinking that they would operate differently”. In Great Britain, for every four babies born, one is aborted. This referendum is not about hard cases. That would have been a different referendum proposal. It’s about whether we are for or against widespread abortion on demand in Ireland. Voting No will unquestionably save thousands of lives.
Ireland without abortion is safer for pregnant women than countries such as England and the U.S. where abortion is widely available. In 2017 the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists welcomed figures that showed Ireland is one of the safest places in the world to have a baby. At the time, Dr. Peter Boylan, current Chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “These figures should offer reassurance about the high level of maternal care and the safety of the Irish maternity services for women and babies.”
Unquestionably, individual doctors sometimes make mistakes. This happens in every country and sometimes these mistakes can cost lives. However, doctors who make mistakes in maternal healthcare cannot blame our law for their mistakes. Four former chairpersons of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists along with Doctor Michael O’Hare, the chair of the IOG/HSE Working Group on Maternal Mortality, have jointly stated: “Recent ‘Maternal Death Enquiry reports confirm that Ireland is one of the safest places in the world to be pregnant. Not one of our colleagues should ever be permitted to use the Eighth Amendment as an excuse for not treating a woman. … Four of us who practised in this jurisdiction have carried out necessary surgery which resulted in termination of pregnancy in order to save and protect Irish women.”
Dr Mary Holohan, a leading consultant obstetrician at the Rotunda Hospital, has condemned scaremongering about Ireland’s maternal healthcare saying that Ireland’s law fully allows doctors to care for pregnant women. The duty to intervene to save the woman’s life is clear in Irish law, even if it means the baby dies in the process. If we vote No, Irish women will continue to receive all the care and protection they need in pregnancy. Ireland will remain one of the safest places in the world for women to be pregnant in. Doctors will be able to care properly for both patients – mother and baby.
If we repeal the 8th amendment and abortion on demand becomes a reality, our culture will change and abortion will quickly become normalised. This is clear from looking at the experience of other countries. The risk to children with “disabilities” will increase massively. For example in England and Wales, 9 out of 10 babies diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome are aborted. That is a frightening statistic. What does it say to disabled people?
If we vote to remove the life-saving Eighth Amendment, we will completely remove right to life from children in the womb. They will have no right to life at all, not even a limited right to life. We will support the abortion of disabled children and wide-ranging abortion on demand. We will repeal thousands of unborn, innocent human lives each year. Our abortion rate will triple at the very least, and likely quadruple. Our hospitals and GP clinics will routinely carry out abortions. We will give a blank cheque to politicians, present and future, to legislate for even more unrestricted abortion.
Future generations have a right to grow up in a country that cherishes and respects human life in all its diversity. We can only do this by rejecting the Government’s proposals and voting No.