Following on from the Citizens’ Assembly on abortion, the Irish public is gradually coming to terms that this process, which has just ended, was in no way representative of the feelings of people generally when it comes to the right to life.
Nowhere was this more obvious than in a recent poll which highlighted to wide distance between the recommendations of the Assembly, (which included abortion on grounds of mental health and socio-economic grounds), and the reality of how people feel on the ground.
The Irish Times newspaper reported that only 23% of those polled are in favour of abortion on request. This is in stark contrast to the findings of the Citizens’ Assembly, where two thirds of its members supported abortion on request for any reason – a suggestion that the vast majority of people in Ireland find horrific, and for good reason.
The reality is that thanks to the Eighth Amendment, people in Ireland have the great benefit of looking around the world to see how the legalisation of abortion has affected other countries. That gives us a good idea of what would happen in Ireland were the procedure to become normalised here as it has done elsewhere, and the picture isn’t very pretty.
In the UK alone, abortion on the grounds of “health” and “mental health” has led to 200,000 abortions a year. Abortion is described by its advocates as “healthcare” and this is despite that fact that it treats no illness and is life-ending, not life-saving.
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Pro-life supporters know that trying to push abortion as any form of “healthcare” is deeply disingenuous but it is the best way for abortion advocates to try and advance their agenda. While they make no secret of their personal support for abortion on requestion without restrictions, they know that the Irish public is not on board for such radical change – and this poll is further confirmation of this fact. Instead, they are adopting a “softly-softly” approach, trying to make abortion seem less than it is, insisting that any interference with the Eighth Amendment would result in restrictive abortion – despite the fact that no such thing exists and also ignoring the humanity of every unborn child who deserves his or her protection under the law.
There are some real positives for pro-life supporters from this poll. It’s a confirmation of what pro-life supporters have said – that the one-sided Citizens’ Assembly bears no relation to how the general public feels about this issue. It also shows that despite the push for abortion from powerful groups like Amnesty International, the public are not prepared to adopt their position of singling out some groups in Irish society as unworthy of legal protection.
The clear lesson from the Citizens’ Assembly is that once you start discriminating against some unborn babies, then in effect you are saying that unborn human life in general has no intrinsic value. As a society in Ireland and elsewhere, we either protect all human life or you end up protecting none.