Irish voters head to the polls today to decide whether to strip unborn babies’ right to life from their constitution.
For decades, the Eighth Amendment has protected unborn babies and mothers equally in Ireland by recognizing that both are valuable human beings who deserve a right to life. More than 100,000 Irish unborn babies and mothers have been spared from the pain and death of abortion, thanks to the constitutional protection. Ireland has become one of the safest places in the world for pregnant mothers and their babies, with one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world.
The vote today will determine whether unborn babies will continue to be protected under the law. Without the Eighth Amendment, there is nothing to prevent lawmakers from legalizing abortion for any reason up to birth.
The proposal they are pushing already is very extreme. It would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide range of circumstances. Abortion activists, backed by some of the world’s richest men, have been pushing the pro-life country to legalize abortion on demand.
Pro-lifers said the radical proposal has many voters rethinking their positions. While some want to see abortion allowed in difficult cases, such as rape and incest, they think abortion up to six months is far too extreme.
Save the 8th campaigner Aoife de Clár and medical adviser Eoghan de Faoite told Crux Now that they have seen people change their minds after learning what really is being proposed for Ireland.
“There’s always going to be the hard cases, but this referendum isn’t about the hard cases,” de Clár said. “Instead, this referendum will remove every right of the unborn child.”
“When people are aware of that reality, they begin to change their mind,” de Faoite added.
Polls suggest this as well. While support for the repeal remains higher than opposition, several recent polls showed the pro-abortion campaigners lost huge ground this spring. In April, the Business Insider reported 47 percent of Irish voters now say they will vote to repeal the pro-life Eighth Amendment – down 9 points from an earlier poll. According to the poll, 28 percent will vote to retain the pro-life amendment, and 20 percent are undecided.
A Protect the 8th analysis predicts a very close vote today, but numbers indicate that hope remains for unborn babies in Ireland.
Results of the election are expected to be announced Saturday.
Even if the repeal passes, pro-life lawmakers and advocates said the battle will not be over.
The majority of Fianna Fail TDs are against repealing the Eighth Amendment, and many may vote accordingly, regardless of the referendum result.
At least three have indicated this. Fianna Fail TD for Waterford, Mary Butler, said she will actively “halt” the passage of the proposed legislation which she says is “too extreme”.
Ms Butler said she would allow parts of the bill dealing with cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality but said: “I have a serious issue for abortion just because you don’t want the baby.
“I personally will not hold up legislation for rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality. I will, however, scrutinise the bill word for word, line by line,” she said. “This goes too far, it’s too extreme.”
Irish doctors have been some of the most outspoken advocates against abortion, saying the repeal of the Eighth Amendment would do nothing whatsoever to help Irish women. People with disabilities and their families also are expressing fears that legalized abortion could lead to wide-spread, deadly discrimination against unborn babies.
Irish celebrities also have weighed in on the debate. This week, Jim Corr of the Irish folk-rock band Corrs said he plans to vote no because the government proposal is “too extreme,” according to The Catholic Times.
“… many are being duped into believing this referendum is about healthcare and choice, when it’s really about bringing the lucrative abortion industry into Ireland,” Corr wrote on Twitter.
Pro-life advocates have been working hard against a biased media, politicians, celebrities and huge, illegal donations from rich American businessmen who are intent on pushing Ireland to adopt abortion on demand. Pro-life volunteers have been knocking on doors across Ireland to save the Eighth Amendment and thousands of unborn babies’ lives.