Over the weekend, the votes were counted in the Irish General Election and as the new political landscape emerges, pro-life supporters have lots to be positive about.
In the run-up to Election Day, candidates from all of the main political parties admitted that when abortion came up on the doorsteps, it was invariable pro-life people raising it and not abortion advocates. This lack of interest in the further liberalization of Ireland’s abortion laws via the removal of the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution now seems to have been reflected in the polls, as a high number of politicians who were pushing a pro-choice agenda have lost their seats in parliament.
What this really means is that the Pro Life Campaign has been right in what they’ve been saying for so long – there is no demand for the repeal of the 8th Amendment from the grassroots in Ireland. Instead, the demand for a referendum to dismantle this life-saving provision is coming from a small elite group in politics and the Irish media. If this fact needed to be clarified, then the results of the General Election have surely provided that clarification.
On 18th February, the Irish Labour Party held a special press conference where they unveiled plans for abortion along the lines of the British Abortion Act which allows abortion for any reason up to 24 weeks, and up to birth if the unborn baby is diagnosed with any form of disability. Just one week later, Labour was decimated in the election. Of course, it would be wrong to claim that abortion is the sole reason for this comprehensive defeat but equally it is a fact that the Irish public resoundingly rejected all of their proposals.
It is also encouraging that quite a few of the new politicians openly adopted a pro-life position before the election. The Fianna Fail party and independent politicians received the lion’s share of the pro-life vote. The Fine Gael party lost that vote completely after breaking their promise not to legislate for abortion.
The challenge for pro-life supporters in Ireland not is to ensure that things change when it comes to the issue of abortion. The next Government can’t be allowed to act as the last one did, widening the laws on abortion and endangering the lives of babies and women alike. There must be meaningful scrutiny of abortion so that the terribly negative consequences for women are made known to the wider Irish public.
The 8th Amendment is an incredible achievement of human rights protection – a life-saving beacon introduced at a time when abortion laws were being liberalized throughout the rest of the world. So many people are alive in Ireland today because of the 8th Amendment and there are many other positive effects for the medical profession in Ireland. The Pro Life Campaign is now committed to bringing those positive effects into the public arena more and more.