This coming Friday, May 25, 2018, Irish citizens will decide in a referendum whether to scrap a constitutional amendment that protects unborn babies’ right to life. If they vote “Yes,” the government will change Ireland’s status from that of one of the last bastions of pro-life laws in Europe to one of Europe’s most permissive abortion regimes overnight. Despite the odds stacked against them, Irish pro-lifers have had significant success in convincing many of their countrymen to vote for life. However, polling still shows a lead for those favoring a repeal. Ireland needs our prayers and support.
In 1983, the Eighth Amendment was added to the Constitution of Ireland, after 66.9 percent of Irish voters decided to add the following language to their nation’s basic legal document:
The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.
However, in recent years there have been increasing calls to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Last June, on his first day as Taoiseach (prime minister of the Republic of Ireland), Leo Varadkar said that a referendum would be held on the matter. Since then, he has made it clear that if the Irish decide to repeal the constitutional protections, he will not only legalize abortion on demand during the first trimester, but also, shockingly, late-term abortions “in very specific circumstances.”
Although they have the bulk of the media, political, and cultural establishment against them, the “Save the 8th” campaign has nonetheless been working hard to defeat Goliath over the past several months, canvassing, communicating through posters and billboards, holding pro-life rallies, and reaching out to Irish voters on social media. “We were out first and reached more people than the ‘Yes’ campaign, and that’s pretty much acknowledged by the media and everyone else here,” says Niamh Uí Bhriain, spokesperson of the “Save the 8th” campaign. “We have at least three thousand volunteers, with more joining everyday. Just to give you some perspective, the population of Ireland is 4.5 million. The population of the United States is 320 million. If you do the math, that’s about 200,000 volunteers in the United States. That’s a huge number. Political parties would never have as many volunteers.”
Uí Bhriain notes that once the Taoiseach announced the referendum, it became very clear that his intention was not only to repeal the Eighth Amendment, but to legalize abortion as well. Since then, “Save the 8th” has worked to inform the Irish of what will happen if they vote in favor of repeal. “The government’s proposal is very radical. It seeks to legalize abortion on demand in the first twelve weeks, and on health grounds up through six months of the baby’s life. In addition to that, it seeks to legalize abortion in the case of fetal disability right up through all nine months of pregnancy,” she explains.
Read more at Catholic World Report.