ANALYSIS: What the Irish Referendum Means for the International Pro-Life Cause
NEW YORK, May 18 (C-Fam) The Irish people take to the polls next Friday to decide whether or not to repeal the 8th amendment of their Constitution which protects the lives of children in the womb. Their decision will affect the lives of Irish children in the womb, and have a powerful effect globally.
Perhaps no other nation has been targeted more aggressively by the UN system to change its abortion laws than Ireland. Since the 1990s, UN experts and bureaucrats have assailed Irish diplomats and politicians in New York and Geneva, lecturing them about the benefits of abortion for women and scolding the Irish for their lack of sensitivity and compassion.
Irish diplomats have pushed back only rarely. To the contrary, they often have shown themselves indifferent to both the sovereign prerogatives of their own people and the lives of children in the womb. Now Irish voters have a chance to reply for themselves without the mediation of bureaucrats. And their opinion will matter in three very important ways for the pro-life cause internationally.
First, the vote has symbolic value for abortion proponents. Ireland was a bastion of Catholicism, arguably the world’s strongest force in opposition to abortion. Repealing protections for children in the womb would have been unthinkable only ten years ago. A vote for abortion would signal a new stage in Ireland’s progression to a more secularist and even anti-Catholic society.
Second, a yes vote will further erode the evidence base against the development of an international right to abortion. Ireland is one of a handful of countries in the world who do not have legislation permitting abortion in any circumstance. These countries are a daily reminder to abortion groups that abortion is not an international right. So long as Ireland’s 8th amendment remains in place it is strong evidence that Ireland does not interpret any of its international obligations in UN human rights treaties as encompassing a right to abortion, regardless of what abortion groups and UN bureaucrats say.
Third, if the Irish vote yes, it will remove one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the false narrative of the abortion movement. After Chile, Ireland will have become the second nation in as many years to have repealed a complete ban on abortion. What these two nations also had in common is global leadership in preventing maternal death during pregnancy and childbirth. For decades they combined robust legal protections for life in the womb with outstanding records in maternal health. This has always been a thorn in the side of the abortion industry because it gave lie to one of its main claims, that is, that legal abortion is somehow “safe” for women, and correlates to better maternal health.
The international importance of this referendum is evident from how abortion groups backed by foreign governments and George Soros have been pouring money into Ireland, at times illegally.
All indications are the vote will be close, even though the pro-abortion side has set itself up with a significant strategic advantage. Not a single major Irish newspaper is in favor of retaining the 8th Amendment. Coverage of the referendum is centered around the so-called “hard-cases,” such as rape, disability, and danger to a mother’s life. Tech giants Facebook and Google have blocked online adds about the referendum, knowing that the pro-life side has been most reliant on this method of communication to reach Irish voters.
The deck is stacked against the life of future generations of Irish children. Their fate now lies in the hands of men and women of good faith in Ireland. Americans, who know well the physical and political anguish a yes vote will cause, can only urge them to vote in favor of life.