Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow in the Local and European elections and if the campaign has shown pro-life voters one thing, it’s that we need more than ever to hold politicians accountable for the decisions they make on our behalf. The last few months have shown us beyond any doubt that they are only too happy to forget the fall-out if we’ll let them.
Take Fine Gael, for example. This Government Party was directly responsible for introducing abortion during the full nine months of pregnancy last year on the grounds of a risk of suicide. At the time, they refused to engage with the experts who pointed out that there was no evidential basis that abortion would in any way assist or treat a pregnant woman experiencing suicidal thoughts. Instead, they allowed the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar to be used by abortion advocates as the catalyst for their campaign, drawing the international spotlight on Ireland and leading to a global clamour for the introduction of abortion.
Sadly, we now know that the official inquest into Savita’s death found that she died due to “medical mismanagement”, and not the lack of abortion. The fact remains that Fine Gael have done nothing to address the real failings of the health system that led to her untimely death.
So what are we left with, thanks to Fine Gael? A law allowing abortion during the full nine months of pregnancy, and a complete whitewash of the circumstances surrounding a woman’s death.
And yet, to listen to some Fine Gael candidates, you would think that their record in this area is perfect. Their canvassing pitch is confident as they insist that the Party never gave a commitment not to legislate for abortions (this is not borne out by the evidence, and it leads one to ask – if Fine Gael broke this fundamental promise, what other promises will they disregard?), and, most alarmingly, they insist that they are, most definitely “pro-life”.
Here’s the thing. If you are a member of a political party that acted in the way Fine Gael did last year, introducing one of the most radical and inhumane abortion regimes in Europe (let’s remember, the Government refused to allow any amendments to the law, even those that would have obliged doctors to supply pain relief in late-term abortions), then you are not “pro-life”. Not in the generally understood meaning of the term. You support abortion; a little, a lot. It doesn’t matter – at least, not to a voter who specifically gave you their support in a previous election on the grounds of your commitment to protect unborn human beings.
This is the reality of where we are in Ireland, and yet it doesn’t seem to get through to Fine Gael candidates who are particularly blind to the effects of the legislation they voted for. Many don’t seem to realise that the legislation last year also opposes church teaching, so they continue to adopt the age-old practice in Ireland of handing out political literature to church-goers leaving Mass or Sunday service.
I spoke with one woman last weekend who expressed her disbelief that her local Fine Gael candidate was there to meet Mass-goers outside the gates of the chapel. No doubt her views are echoed across the country:-
“I told him that he should not be there, giving out leaflets. Not after his Party had voted to introduce abortion legislation. He told me he supported the legislation but he still considered himself “pro-life”. I told him that was impossible – if he was really “pro-life”, then he would have voted against the passing of the law. Fine Gael have let us down. I will never vote for them again.”
This is the attitude of many voters in Ireland – ordinary people who committed their support to Fine Gael in particular in the belief that they would hold the line against abortion and protect Irish society from the influence of international abortion lobby groups like the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Centre for Reproductive Rights. Instead, Fine Gael has turned into every pro-life voter’s worst nightmare – a political Party that made a solid commitment on the most fundamental issue of all and then turned tail and did the exact opposite, introducing a liberal abortion law that wilfully endangers women and babies in Ireland.
In the aftermath of every election, we can expect a good deal of political analysis of social and economic issues affecting the country. It’s a good time to take stock and for the Irish pro-life movement, it should provide an opportunity to focus our energies more and more on exposing the inhumane reality of Fine Gael’s abortion law and increasing our efforts to have it repealed.
Voters can check out the pro-life credentials of European candidates standing in their area by clicking here
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, surrounded by Fine Gael’s European candidates at a recent Fine Gael press conference.