How Ireland Lost The War On Abortion

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Image: Stephen Mc Elligott

The Seed Of Destruction

Irish Pro-Lifers fought exceptionally hard on this referendum. Many deprived themselves of daily joys and a good nights sleep to save 8th amendment and maintain Irelands pro-life title. It is, therefore, with a heavy heart, I even dare to criticize such hard-working people. However, I find it necessary to offer objective criticism of what perhaps played a massive role in the failure that we may learn from it for future campaigns. 

Leading up to the abortion referendum, we had become a very secular country. The Irish media, along with the arts industry, pumped us full of movies that portrayed the Church as an institution where our way of thinking and laws originated. What were these laws? Abortion, homosexuality and divorce were all associated as being the direct consequence of the states relationship with the Church. 

The Catholic Church played its role with the incredible cover-up of child sexual abuse by priests and bishops. The scene is set for a stage to host a prolonged process in the breaking down of Irish societies moral compass. The procedure of turning a society into a liberal quagmire took only 30 years… less even. Having turned people into hating the Church, it made sense, then, to hate the laws that they saw as inhibiting their newfound freedom. 

Nothing New

The political left fought equally as hard to get abortion into the country. Like a Chessmaster, they knew their chessboard intimately and were ready for the fight. They didn’t have any logical way of overcoming the truth of the pro-life argument. Instead, they allowed the pro-life do all the work for them as was evident from the three referendums held before the golden prize got won. The children’s rights, homosexual and referendum as a result of Savita Halapannavar destroyed the pro life cause and here’s why. 

The previous referendums were all won by a landslide. The faces who contested all these referendums such as John Waters and Maria Steen were reviled by a general public who make decisions not on intellectual prudence, but likability. When the time came for the last abortion referendum, on our screens yet again appeared the same people, the general public had already come to revile.

It was clear the pro-lifers did not examine the psychological make-up of the general public. They -the pro life campaign – had no new faces coming out into the public that they may debate the issue. All we got was the same people who debated all the other referendums. This failure in sleight of hand gave the opposition the floor in winning the minds of the public. It gave the impression that there’s little to defend the pro-life cause, and of the little there is they’re all anti LGBT bigots who fought against their right to marry.

Don’t get me wrong, Maria, John and everyone else’s televised input trashed the opposition in logical debate. However, we are dealing with a public who votes with their hearts, not their brains. Likability is more important to the public than intellectual dialogue; every politician knows this. It’s the reason why they spend so much more money on getting the public to like them over anything else. The pro-life cause should have been aware of this, but they failed miserably. 

The Question About Rape

During the debate surrounding last years abortion referendum in Ireland, many pro-life people live on television danced around the problem regarding rape. The question was straightforward and, might I add, cleverly constructed by the media who used it as a stick to beat us with. 

I watched how famous Irish journalist and writer John Waters, for example, danced around the question and refused to give a straight answer on live television. I can imagine a majority of viewers on the fence concerning abortion perhaps were annoyed at this. It gave them more reasons to vote yes to abortion on demand, not on legislation in relation because of rape. 

The answer was quite simple. The response was going to be that abortion is not necessary in the cases of rape or even incest. The reason is because we don’t believe eliminating an innocent life is one that eradicates the suffering and pain from the rape. The option that an eye for an eye is a solution to rape/incest is one that an intelligent, loving and caring society should never adopt. What we need to do, then, is challenge the question as being redundant and not a good reason to vote for abortion on demand. 

Furthermore, many children who were born as a result of rape came to give testimony in Ireland that their lives were not full of suffering. Unfortunately for them, their voices got suppressed, and events overshadowed with protests from people who denied them a platform. In the end, they had to come out and speak on the street because hotels wouldn’t allow them entry. 

All of this was incredible ammunition to fire at such questions designed to cloud the ethical reasoning of the general public. None of the pro-lifers I know who are aware of these simple, straightforward arguments, used them. 

In light of the absence of their confronting such questions honestly, I was left to swim in a teary-eyed puddle of confusion and disappointment. However, in the act of insanity, the Irish it seems already made their mind up. Abortion on demand and the dismembering of Ireland’s future generation in the 98% of cases had won the referendum. 

The Prodigal Son

There’s always hope. I’m a believer that sometimes, like the father with his prodigal son, we must leave a person to walk their path. When all their joy in practising evil becomes exhausted, they can fully recognize the errors of their ways and begin the long journey back to proper reasoning. It happened during slavery and can occur again during this era of abortion on demand. It might not happen in my lifetime, but sometimes these things take many years and so we need to keep fighting and have patience.  

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