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Irish Voters Say 'Yes' to Legalizing Abortion: Pro-Life Groups Grieve

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Ireland has decided to legalize abortion, despite its reputation as one of the staunchest Catholic countries in the world.

In a referendum on Amendment 8, which basically banned abortion, the Irish people by more than two-to-one have voted to repeal that amendment to their constitution.

Elections official Barry Ryan said more than 1.4 million voters, or 66 percent of those who cast valid ballots, favored repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution while roughly 724,000 wanted to keep the abortion ban in place.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he'll work with Ireland's parliament to pass a new, liberalized abortion law in the next few months.

He framed the vote as the Irish trusting women to make the right choices about their own healthcare.

But pro-life groups who don't see abortion as healthcare but the killing of innocent unborn children were quick to react with grief to the vote.

Here in the U.S., the Catholic Association Foundation's Andrea Picciotti-Bayer stated, "Ireland's repeal of its 8th Amendment recognizing 'the right to life of the unborn' reflects the grim influence of the culture of death."

Ideological Colonization

Ashley McGuire of The Catholic Association blamed vote on the influence of outside groups.

"The Repeal the 8th Campaign was a classic example of ideological colonization: it was imported and funded by extreme, pro-abortion special interest groups from outside of Ireland who could not tolerate the reality that Ireland proved that women don't need abortion to flourish and thrive," McGuire explained.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, weighed in, saying "The result of today's referendum is a profound tragedy for the Irish people and the entire world.  While other Western nations including the United States acquiesced to the extreme abortion lobby, Ireland has been a shining beacon of hope for its strong defense of unborn children and their mothers."

Grave and Irreversible Consequences

"We are deeply saddened to learn that many Irish people voted against love and life by repealing the 8th Amendment," March for Life President Jeanne Mancini stated.  "Americans know from experience that there will be many grave and irreversible consequences of this decision, including the loss of precious lives."

Americans United for Life's Catherine Glenn Foster pointed out her group played a pivotal role in creating the 8th Amendment back in 1979, "making Ireland one of the strongest pro-life nations in Europe.   Today, the AUL legal team is saddened that the people of Ireland have paved the way for abortion on demand in their country."

The Coming Loss of Life of Little Irish Boys and Girls

"We are heartbroken that Ireland has succumbed to a false notion of choice that pits mothers' rights against children's lives, rather than remaining a culture of life which respects both," stated The Catholic Association's Maureen Malloy Ferguson.  "When a country legalizes abortion, the rates of abortion increase significantly.  We are deeply saddened at the coming loss of little Irish boys and girls, and for the mothers' who will suffer that loss."

These pro-life leaders all tried to look toward a more positive future.

This Is Not The Path To Equality With Men

Ferguson's colleague Ashley McGuire said, "Pro-lifers are disappointed, but confident we will one day overcome and put to rest once and for all the patriarchal lie that the only path to equality with men involves the violent killing of our own children. That fight, the fight to build a society where all people have the right to life, is not over until it's won."

Comparing this vote to America's Roe v. Wade, Dannenfelser added, "As long as there is a vitally active pro-life movement fighting to protect mothers and save babies' lives, we believe Ireland's Roe will one day be overturned and its deep pro-life roots reflected in its laws once again."

AUL's Foster concluded, "If the global pro-life movement continues to work together to advance the cause of life, we have every faith that we will see a day when everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law."

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About The Author


As a freelance reporter for CBN's Jerusalem bureau and during 27 years as senior correspondent in CBN's Washington bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, government, and God’s providential involvement in our world. Strand began his tenure at CBN News in 1985 as an evening assignment editor in Washington, D.C. After a year, he worked with CBN Radio News for three years, returning to the television newsroom to accept a position as a senior editor in 1990. Strand moved back to the nation's capital in 1995 and then to