A Jan. 19 pro-life vigil in Dublin aims to rally against the government's proposal to permit some abortions, warning that abortion advocates are blurring important moral distinctions in the debate.
“Time and again, when the distinction is made between current medical
practice which cares for both the mother and baby and direct,
intentional abortion, voters give their unambiguous support to pro-life
laws,” Caroline Simons, a legal consultant for the Pro Life Campaign,
said in a Jan. 14 announcement.
She said the debate over the legalization of some abortions is a
“defining moment for Ireland” and Irish people need to “make their
voices heard loud and clear.”
The rally will take place in Dublin’s Merrion Square Saturday at 4:30
p.m. local time. A Dec. 4 rally outside of the Dáil Eireann in Dublin
drew over 10,000 people.
Simons on Jan. 15 further explained that everyone agrees women must
receive life-saving treatments even if it may lead to the unintentional
death of the unborn baby.
“Where the disagreement arises is that some are skilfully but unfairly
using the occasion to push for an abortion regime in Ireland and are
blurring the distinction between necessary medical treatments and
abortion,” she said.
The Fine Gael party, which controls the Irish government, has said it
will introduce legislation to legalize abortion where the mother’s life
is at risk. The proposal would conform Irish law to a December 2010
ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that called for a
clarification of abortion’s legal status in light of a 1992 Irish
Supreme Court decision.
That decision said abortion must be permitted to save the life of a
pregnant woman, including when she threatens suicide. Irish law was
never changed to reflect the ruling.
Opponents of the proposed changes to abortion law say a possible
exemption for suicide threats would effectively legalize abortion on
demand. They support present Irish practice which distinguishes morally
wrong direct abortion from medical treatments that may indirectly put
the unborn baby’s life at risk.
Fine Gael had promised not to introduce abortion legislation during
campaigning for the 2011 elections. That changed following media
controversy over the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman who
was admitted to a Galway hospital while miscarrying.
asked for an abortion and later died of a severe infection.
Although her death is still being investigated, abortion advocates
quickly seized on her case to claim legal abortion would have saved her
life. The inquest began Jan. 18.
Any abortion legislation will not be introduced until after Easter.
“Politicians of all parties, but especially Fine Gael, need to hear the
message loud and clear: the Irish people don’t want laws which treat
unborn children as second class citizens, and Irish doctors don't need
abortion to treat pregnant women,” Simons said Jan. 14.
“Fine Gael made a made a promise not to introduce abortion. People need
to turn up in force on Saturday 19th January to make them understand
they can expect to pay a heavy electoral price if they break that
Simons said the vigil has the support of all the pro-life groups in
Ireland, including the Pro Life Campaign, the Life Institute and Family
“Together we intend to send a strong message to the Government that we
stand united to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves,”