Abortion can be a very difficult issue to discuss, and we all have a responsibility to be sensitive in the language we use in this debate, so as not to add to the pain which many have experienced.
But it is also an issue that we should not stay silent about, as what happens in the coming weeks will shape the kind of Ireland we live in for generations to come.
If the Eighth Amendment is removed, unborn children will lose the only rights and protection which they have, and a radical law allowing abortion-on-demand in Ireland will be introduced
The Supreme Court has stated clearly that unborn children in Ireland have no rights except the right to life. Ending the right to life will give our politicians a blank cheque to introduce whatever abortion legislation they want.
If the Government gets its way, abortion will be made available on-demand for any reason whatsoever up to at least 12 weeks.
This is nothing to do with difficult cases. Instead, an overwhelming majority of those who will be aborted will be healthy babies, of healthy mothers.
From 12 weeks until viability – roughly six months into pregnancy – abortions will be legal on health grounds, including mental health.
This is very similar legislation to that which exists in the UK, where around 97% of the 200,000 abortions which take place annually take place on mental health grounds.
Repealing the 8th Amendment and introducing such legislation is virtually certain to lead to more abortions taking place. When we legalise abortion-on-demand, we normalise it. Right now, Ireland has one of the lowest rates of abortion in the world. If we had only half the average abortion rate of Western Europe, we’d have more than 4,000 extra abortions each year.
Think of all these unborn children who will never be afforded the chance to be born, to come into this world and bring joy to all those around them.
Is this what we want?
Look at England and Wales. One abortion is recorded there for every four live births; which means that one in five pregnancies ends in abortion.
Imagine your five closest friends or family members. If abortion had been as prevalent in Ireland as it has long been in the UK, then one of them might not have been born.
Additionally, significant misinformation about the current situation in Ireland has been spread by pro-abortion campaigners eager to distort the truth to push for unlimited abortion.
In Ireland, the legal and medical guidelines are all very clear: women are entitled to any necessary medical treatment, including cancer treatment, even if it might end the life of their baby.
The Government’s proposals are certain to lead to far more abortions taking place. They also leave the door open to future changes aimed at making abortion even more readily available, or allowing abortions to take place on grounds of disability, a proposal which leading pro-choice organisations are already calling for.
This is much too far, and the only way to stop it from happening is to vote No.