Irish political leaders used New Year’s Day to celebrate the legalized killing of unborn babies in their country.
Abortions officially became legal Jan. 1 in Ireland. The law, which was rammed through parliament in mid-December, allows abortions for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances. It also forces taxpayers to pay for abortions and forces Catholic hospitals to provide them. The new law strictly limits conscience protections for medical professionals, and hundreds of doctors and nurses fear being forced to help abort unborn babies or lose their jobs.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave a speech Tuesday that hailed the new abortion law as one of four “important milestones” in social progress for Ireland in 2018, the Independent reports.
“I believe this is one of the biggest social changes in our history,” the prime minister said. “Women no longer have to leave the country to get the help they feel they need.”
Pro-abortion Health Minister Simon Harris echoed those words, calling Jan. 1 “a very significant day for women’s healthcare.”
According to the government, 165 doctors have signed up to provide abortions in Ireland. The country now has a hotline and website to direct women to abortionists. The government also is rolling out an advertising campaign to promote abortions.
Dr. Ruth Cullen of the Pro-Life Campaign told the Irish Times that abortion activists lied to voters as they pushed through the radical pro-abortion law.
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She said Jan. 1, 2019 will be remembered “as the day Ireland abandoned authentic human rights, to sanction the direct and intentional killing of innocent human life. … It is a law built on a lie that will not make Ireland a kinder, gentler, more compassionate place as some abortion advocates suggest.”
Major concerns about the safety of women and girls also are piling up. Leading medical professionals have said the Jan. 1 start date for abortions could put women’s lives at risk, and many hospitals have said they are not ready. They pointed to a lack of ultrasound machines, clinical guidelines and trained staff as reasons for delay, but pro-abortion political leaders refused to back down.
Other medical leaders expressed major concerns with the lack of parental involvement in young girls’ abortions, Irish Central reports. One doctor even accused the health minister of taking “leave of his senses” by allowing girls ages 15 and under to get abortions without a parent’s knowledge or consent.
Two weeks ago, the Irish College of General Practitioners still was seeking answers to basic questions about the law. RTE reports the group provided interim clinical guidelines for abortion to its GPs, but it also wrote to Harris “to express concerns over the lack of clarity around referral pathways to hospital care …” It also mentioned pro-life doctors’ concerns about being forced to help abort unborn babies against their consciences.
For decades, Ireland was a pro-life nation that protected every human life from conception to natural death. It also was a strong protector of women, with some of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world.
But in May, voters approved repealing the country’s pro-life Eighth Amendment.
Polls indicate a strong majority of Irish voters do not support the new law. An October poll by Amárach found that 60 percent of Irish residents oppose taxpayer-funded abortions. In addition, a full 80 percent say health care workers should not be forced to carry out abortions against their conscience.
Just how many unborn babies may be killed in Ireland annually is uncertain, but about 3,000 Irish women travel to England or Wales every year for abortions, according to government statistics.