Irish Committee Invites Abortion Activist Over Independent Expert to Testify on 8th Amendment

International   |   Cora Sherlock   |   Nov 8, 2017   |   2:20PM   |   Dublin, Ireland

The Pro Life Campaign in Ireland has said that with most of the focus of the abortion debate on repeal of the country’s last remaining constitutional for unborn babies, the 8th Amendment, the public “are being deprived of the opportunity to consider what precisely legalised abortion would involve.” The group was commenting following the release of new Amárach research showing that most of the public are totally unaware of basic facts regarding what legalised abortion has led to in countries like our nearest neighbour, England.

LifeNews readers will be aware that abortion campaigners both at home and abroad are focussing their efforts on trying to repeal the 8th Amendment, a constitutional provision that has saved tens of thousands of lives since it was voted into place by a majority of the Irish public in 1983.

A Government Committee is currently underway, discussing various aspects of the abortion debate.  In order to do so, it invited witnesses from both side of the debate but it was clear from the outset that the Committee was irretrievably biased – 24 of the invited speakers were in favour of repeal of the 8th Amendment, while just 4 speakers supported keeping the 8th.  This bias has become even worse since then, with the result that there are now 27 speakers in favour of Repeal, and just 3 in favour of keeping the 8th Amendment.

Today, international abortion lobby group the Centre for Reproductive Rights, which is currently fundraising abroad to help repeal the 8th Amendment, was flown into Ireland at the cost of the taxpayer to make a presentation to the Committee, explaining why they think abortion should be liberalised here.

To add insult to injury, the Committee members opted to vote some weeks ago, before all of the evidence was heard.  At that time, they voted not to keep the 8th Amendment in its current form, a development that would, in time, lead to abortion on wide-ranging grounds.

Pro-life activists have been working to highlight the imbalance of the Committee and as a result, the organisers have been going to great lengths to invite more prolife speakers.  Unfortunately for them, the speakers would have been giving evidence after the vote for abortion had already taken place and, understandably, they have refused to attend, citing the reason that there is no point in them taking time out of their busy schedules to give evidence to a Committee that is purely trying to “make up the numbers” for the benefit of public perception.

This failure on the part of the Committee to provide a fully comprehensive and fairly run discussion on this life and death issue was highlighted by the research released today by the Pro Life Campaign which shows a startling lack of knowledge on the part of the public when it comes to abortion.  Just 6% of the public are aware that 1 in 5 pregnancies in England now end in abortion. Just 10% of the public are aware that 90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted in England. The research reveals that the public think considerably fewer abortions are performed than is actually the case.

Commenting on the findings of the latest research, Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said: “It is extraordinary how little time is devoted in the debate to what legalised abortion has led to in other countries. When proposing changes to the law, particularly changes as radical as those being proposed on abortion, the first thing you’d expect any Government Committee to do is look at what similar changes have brought about in other countries. But the Committee currently recommending changes to Ireland’s abortion law has scrupulously avoided talking about abortion itself and the changes that inevitably occur when it is legalised. With almost the entire focus of the debate on repeal of the 8th Amendment, the public are being totally deprived of the opportunity to consider what precisely legalised abortion would involve and the devastating impact it has had in other countries.

Dr Cullen said “it is farcical beyond words that 27 groups and individuals advocating abortion have been invited as witnesses before the committee with just 3 pro-life individuals invited. The fact that leading US pro-abortion group Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) are attending the committee as ‘expert’ witnesses this week is ludicrous. The CRR is actively fundraising at present in the US to change Ireland’s abortion laws and yet they qualify as impartial experts while families of children saved by the 8th Amendment are turned away. It doesn’t matter how much their friends in the media try to prop it up, the credibility of this committee cannot be restored.

Dr Cullen concluded: “There’s one thing the public don’t like and that’s being taken for fools. That is precisely what is happening at present.  When people are given a more balanced presentation of the issues, I am confident that support for keeping the 8th Amendment will grow considerably.”

The Pro Life Campaign commissioned Amárach to carry out the research earlier this year. The questions were included in Amárach’s monthly online omnibus poll of 1,000 adults aged 16 and over. The research reported here is based on findings from omnibus fieldwork conducted in May 2017.