The weekend All-Ireland Rally for Life saw thousands of pro-life rally line the streets in Belfast, Northern Ireland to speak up against abortion.
The rally had support from pro-life people across the Ireland, and the pro-life group Life Institute had encouraged people to attend. “Let’s stand together, unified and strong, in Belfast on July 5th and show the abortion industry – and the politicians in Stormont – that we do not want abortion in Ireland, north or south. Please make every effort to attend,” the group said in emails prior to the event.
The 8th Annual Rally for Life started at 2pm Saturday in Custom House Square in Belfast City Centre.
“The aim of the Rally for Life is to give the people of Ireland a unique opportunity to show their united opposition to abortion and to send out a clear message that Ireland cherishes her unborn children and their mothers,” organizers said.
“The pro-life battle in Ireland has intensified. On the 1st January 2014, abortion was legalised in the Republic of Ireland under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, and now in Northern Ireland, the Justice Minister David Ford proposes to put forward a consultation that could change the abortion law in Northern Ireland to permit the killing of our unborn babies with ‘foetal abnormalities’ and in cases of rape and incest,” they explained. “This will have devastating effects on mothers and their babies throughout the whole of Ireland.”
“Over the years, we have seen tens of thousands of Irish people respond to the threat of abortion with such zeal and passion. Last year over 60,000 people attended the Rally for Life in Dublin in opposition to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill,” they added. “It is of the utmost importance that thousands of people come out to support this year’s Rally, and to send out a clear message to Stormont and the Dáil that we will never be silent while unborn babies are under the threat of abortion. We must not allow the government in Northern Ireland to dictate the future fate of the next generation of Irish unborn children. We must act now before it is too late! ”
As Bernadette Smyth, Director of Precious Life, stated: “in the words of Pope Francis, “let’s say ‘yes’ to life, ‘no’ to death. This is the time to rise up and make our voices heard loud and clear!”
Among the thousands of people attending this year’s Rally for Life were parents whose children had been diagnosed with terminal conditions, to talk about their individual experiences, raise awareness of Trisomy, and to encourage better provision of perinatal hospice care. According to Gemma Bradley, a campaigner for Trisomy Awareness, many parents have been told that these conditions are “incompatible with life”. But she affirms that these babies are “compatible with love, joy and cherished memories”.
While the message of this Rally was serious, the event was also a celebration of the sacredness of life.
Here is a report with more info:
People of all ages travelled to the city for the All-Ireland Rally for Life which began at Custom House Square in the afternoon.
The crowds made their way around Belfast to the city hall and back to the square for speeches.
Protection of unborn children with severe disabilities was the theme for this year’s demonstration.
Abortion is currently outlawed in the region – except when the life of the mother is at risk.
In December, Justice Minister David Ford announced plans to launch a consultation on changing Northern Ireland’s abortion laws in cases involving terminal foetal abnormality.
At the time, the Alliance leader stressed he was not proposing “a fundamental change” or the introduction of the 1967 Abortion Act, which does not apply in Northern Ireland.
Bernadette Smyth, of Precious Life, said that this proposal would have “devastating effects on mothers and their babies throughout the whole of Ireland” and said that the attempt to target children with special needs was “abhorrant and unacceptable”.