Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Pro-life Advocates Disadvantaged in Irish Fight to Legalize Abortion

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On May 25, Ireland is set to hold a referendum that would repeal the country's Eighth Amendment, which protects the right to life of the unborn. If passed, the government would then push legislation that would allow abortion up to 12 weeks for any reason. The vote appears to be close at the moment despite Ireland's deep pro-life roots, largely as a result of the unfair campaign advantages given to those who favor the referendum.

Ireland's Eighth Amendment, introduced in 1983, "acknowledges the right to life of the unborn." As such, abortions in Ireland is virtually non-existent, according to the BBC, as they are not legal in cases of rape or incest or in the event that a fetal abnormality has been detected. Pro-lifers estimate that the amendment has saved roughly 100,000 unborn babies from abortion, LifeNews reports.

Until recently, the campaign to overturn the amendment had a rather large advantage, but pro-life groups have campaigned fiercely, helping to close the gap a bit in the final days leading up to the vote, the Daily Wire reports. Still, the campaign to repeal the amendment maintains a lead, largely because the pro-abortion government has been monopolizing the debate and because outside pro-abortion groups have been permitted to illegally influence the vote while pro-life groups have been silenced.

For example, pro-life campaigners in Ireland have been pointing to the eugenics behind abortion and have used children with Down Syndrome in their advertisements to highlight this point, as Down Syndrome has been all but removed from several countries because of abortion. But this campaign prompted criticism from Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who happens to have a child with Down Syndrome and who also happens to support a repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

“As the father of a child with [Down] syndrome, I am opposed to the propagandistic use of people like my son in attempts to limit reproductive rights," he said, "as has happened in the Irish debate, as well as in the legislative actions taken in various American states to outlaw the abortion of fetuses with [Down] syndrome.”

In other words, despite being a father to a child with Down syndrome who should recognize first-hand the right to life of individuals with that condition, Varadkar still believes that mothers should be able to abort their children, even if it is simply because their child may be like his.

The government has also been deceptive in its campaign to repeal the amendment, the Daily Wire notes. It claims that it wants to legalize abortion up to 12 weeks, but the reality is that it would legalize abortion up to 23 weeks, as long as two doctors agree that the pregnancy can cause mental or physical harm to the mother. The UK Spectator notes of this exception: "We know how that works out in practice: no abortion is denied."

The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro made a similar observation: "That's an exception big enough to drive a truck through."

The Spectator notes that the law would not only bring Ireland in line with Britain in terms of abortion law but would go even further, stating: "Unlike Britain, there would be access to abortion without the formality of doctors' signatures up to 12 weeks, with 72 hours for reflection."

International pro-abortion groups have been influential in the campaign to overturn the Eighth Amendment despite rules by the Irish Standards in Public Office Commission. According to LifeNews, leaked documents reveal a "well-funded plan to legalize abortion in Ireland" that includes money funneled from leftist billionaire globalist George Soros. Those documents showed Soros' Open Society Foundations' three-year plan through 2019 to target abortion laws in Ireland, Mexico, and other fiercely pro-life countries, the Catholic News Agency reports.

Additionally, pro-abortion advocates throughout the United Kingdom are providing Irish students studying in institutions located in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland with vouchers so they can be home in time for the May 25 vote. In those countries, Irish students are offered a "bursary" ranging from £55 to £110 to travel home, according to LifeSiteNews.

However, when Facebook announced on Tuesday that it would stop accepting advertisements pertaining to the referendum from groups based outside of Ireland, it seems that the only groups that were targeted were pro-life advocates. Life News notes that a Washington Post article on the announcement referred only to pro-life organizations and went so far as to compare their campaign tactics to the "Russian aggression" that the Left continues to claim had influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The Washington Post also reported that Google has also made a similar announcement to that of Facebook, though the media giant has taken it a step further, placing a "moratorium on all referendum-related advertising, of both foreign and domestic origins." Unfortunately, such a moratorium impacts only pro-life advocates, as the pro-abortion groups have virtually limitless access to the public through the Irish media, the Irish government, and the Irish branch of Amnesty International.

LifeNews reports that pro-life groups such as Save the 8th group, Pro-Life campaign, and the Iona Institute have claimed censorship following the announcements, adding that Google has virtually shut down "a free and fair debate."

“Online was the only platform available to the NO campaign to speak to voters directly. That platform is now being undermined in order to prevent the public from hearing the message of one side," Save the Eighth said in a statement.

In fact, even off-line pro-life campaigns have been targeted. The UK Spectator reports that posters of unborn children have been ripped down throughout Ireland.

Sadly, the debate over the May 25 referendum has underscored just how far the Catholic Church has fallen in Ireland. The UK Spectator notes that it has been largely absent from the fight, stating that the church's impotence is "reflective of the condition of the Church in the wake of successive abuse scandals."

"The Church has a chastened position in Irish society," said Father Patrick Claffey, who has a central Dublin parish. "The feeling is, let laypeople do the speaking; they have the expertise and they’re doing it very well."

It's becoming increasingly clear that secular societies are embracing a culture of death, and Friday's vote could reveal that that phenomenon has struck Ireland.

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