An Irish mother is fighting her country’s pro-life laws after it refused to allow her to abort her disabled baby.
In the fall of 2013, Sarah Ewart was 19-weeks pregnant when doctors discovered that her unborn baby’s brain and skull were not developing properly, according to The Guardian. Doctors told Ewart that her baby had anencephaly and likely would die in the womb or soon after birth; so, Ewart and her husband, Jason, decided to abort their unborn child, the report states.
Ireland is a pro-life country that protects unborn babies from abortion; but Ewart tried to convince doctors that her case should be an exception. The doctors refused.
“They were frustrated, but they said their hands were tied,” Ewart said. “They said: ‘We can’t tell you anything, we would be prosecuted if we gave you that information.’ They weren’t allowed to talk about the options; no phone numbers; no clinic address.”
The Ewarts began pursuing other options. The 25-year-old mother turned to the Yellow Pages where she found a London abortion clinic that would abort her later-term baby, the report states. The couple took out a loan to pay for the 2,100 pound ($3,065) abortion and travel expenses, according to the report.
Ewart claims that she was treated unjustly in her pursuit to abort her unborn baby. Her experience prompted her to contact all 108 legislators from Northern Ireland to demand that they legalize abortion. Since then, she has become the poster-woman for the campaign to legalize abortion in Ireland, according to the report.
Ewart said she wants Ireland to legalize abortions in cases of fetal deformity but not beyond. However, she is working with the pro-abortion group Amnesty, which is calling for broader legalization of abortion, the report states.
Ewart has not received the response to her campaign that she would like. Former Irish Health Minister Jim Wells told Ewart that she didn’t give her baby a chance at life.
“He said that I had destroyed a baby that would have survived, that the consultants get these diagnoses wrong,” Ewart said. “He was blunt and direct. I was sitting in tears the whole time that I was there. I couldn’t speak. We got up and left.”
So far, abortion advocates have not succeeded in pushing legalized abortion on the pro-life nation. In May, the Irish Parliament rejected a pro-abortion bill removing all legal protections for unborn babies. After the bill failed, abortion advocates began trying to overturn the country’s life-protecting 8th Amendment in other ways.
The 8th Amendment (Article 40.3.3.) to the Irish Constitution is the original Life Equality Amendment. It protects the equal right to life of unborn children and their mothers. The 8th Amendment (Article 40.3.3.) to the Irish Constitution is the original Life Equality Amendment. It protects the equal right to life of unborn children and their mothers.
Despite this, pro-choice advocates continue their relentless campaign for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment. Their reasons can perhaps be divided into three main claims. None stand up to closer scrutiny.
First, it is argued that abortion is a right under international human rights law. The second claim involves an attempt to portray Ireland as some kind of international backwater due to its concern to protect innocent human life.
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Perhaps it is the final claim, however, which is the most damaging—the continual insistence that Ireland’s protection of unborn humans jeopardizes the lives and health of Irish women. This erroneous claim has the effect of making people think Ireland is an unsafe place to be pregnant. The truth of the matter is that Ireland is a country that has consistently ranked among the safest in the world for pregnant women. We have a lower maternal mortality rate than a whole host of countries with liberal abortion regimes.
Every society can do better for women and families facing unplanned or difficult pregnancies, and Ireland is no different in this regard. But the radical discrimination that lies at the heart of abortion serves no one. The 8th Amendment, the original life equality amendment, has shaped Ireland into a truly life-affirming society where no one group of human beings has the right to determine that others are “less human”.
More than that, it has saved countless lives and Ireland is a better place because of it.