Pro-life campaigners in Ireland are helping to raise awareness of comments on abortion made by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar last week.
The comments came about following the release of a hashtag by pro-choice campaigners in the days leading up to the meeting between the two, which was supposed to focus on trade.
#Justinformleo asked the Canadian premier to bring up the issue of abortion, which he duly did, informing Leo Varadkar that in Canada, abortion is considered a fundamental right for women. Pro-life campaigners in Ireland and abroad were disappointed to see that Mr. Varadkar chose to express his view that a referendum on Ireland’s constitutional protection for the baby in the womb would be held in 2018, instead of highlighting the fact that Ireland offers one of the best systems of care for women in pregnancy anywhere in the world.
Commenting on the meeting, Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said: “The Taoiseach has never formally met with groups at home representing women who regret their abortions or mums who say they owe the life of their child to the 8th Amendment. Yet, when he travels abroad he’s happy to converse with foreign leaders on the issue and brief them on his plans. It doesn’t make sense. In fact, it’s inexcusable.
“If Prime Minister Trudeau was so anxious to challenge Ireland’s pro-life constitution, why did the Taoiseach in turn remain silent about Canada’s ‘truly barbaric’ abortion law?
“Canada in effect provides no legal protection for unborn babies throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy. Official Canadian figures show that over a ten year period starting in 2000, 491 babies who survived botched abortions were abandoned by medical staff and left to die alone in the corners of hospitals.*
“These figures reveal the chilling and truly barbaric reality of legalised abortion. Just because this reality is rarely talked about in public doesn’t make it any less horrific. If anything, it adds to the horror.
“It’s a bit much the way Ireland’s pro-life laws are constantly attacked with little or no criticism or debate on what happens in other countries. Implied in the criticism of Ireland is that countries like Canada offer an example to the world when it comes to abortion legislation. An incredible 1 in 5 pregnancies in Canada end in abortion and there is no legal protection for unborn babies, right up to birth.
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“If an issue is going to be made of Ireland’s abortion laws, then the inconvenient truth about Canada’s abortion law must also be front and centre of any discussion.”
It is very disappointing that Leo Varadkar doesn’t feel confident in Ireland’s pro-life laws. The Eighth Amendment is a provision which stands alone in terms of human rights protection. An independent report commissioned in 2016 found that it saved the lives of 100,000 babies in the womb. It is something to be proud of, not reviled, and criticism from countries like Canada should not be accepted, particularly given their own shocking record in terms of protecting the baby in the womb.
In order to highlight this hypocrisy, the Pro Life Campaign issued two graphics, which were released on Facebook and widely shared. They are both intended to convey the message that Ireland has nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to our pro-life laws. On the contrary, it is up to other countries to look at their record before criticising Ireland, and it is up to Ireland’s politicians to defend the life-saving Eighth Amendment and provide the necessary supports which will help mothers keep their babies and enable fathers to enjoy the benefits of parenthood.