Saoirse (pronounced ‘sear-sha’) is an Irish name, which means “freedom.” I don’t know many words in Irish, but this is one I learned and one that I love. The word “freedom” means so much to us as Americans, and it is also a very meaningful word to the Irish people.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, which brought to mind this word because much of Ireland’s history revolves around the battle for freedom. I’m not here to give you a history of Ireland’s battle for freedom (look in a history book if you want the history), but I think it’s important to speak about a specific freedom the Irish have – which is freedom from abortion.
Ireland has within its constitution a protection for the unborn child, which states:
The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right. (Article 40.3.3)
Isn’t that amazing? The mother and child are treated as equals. Two persons with equal rights…beautiful! But – just because there is a protection for the unborn, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t pressure to legalize abortion.
In 1992, the “X case” (often referred to as Ireland’s Roe v. Wade) used a rape victim’s case to challenge this protection of the unborn and tried to legalize abortion. Thankfully this case did not legalize abortion, but it did open the discussion and continues to fuel the abortion debate to this day. For the past 20 years, the Irish people have continued the battle to keep their country abortion-free, but this fight continues to rage on and is getting more intense by the day.
Last year, for the first time in history, the United Nations reviewed Ireland’s human rights records and allowed the 192 U.N. member-states to offer recommendations on how Ireland could improve. During this review, six different countries attacked Ireland’s pro-life laws and called on Ireland to legalize abortion. Interestingly, abortion is the greatest human rights abuse in the world and is not legal in Ireland, yet these countries called for abortion to “correct” human rights violations. After tremendous pressure from the people, the Irish government rejected these motions by various member-states, thankfully.
Just this past month, however, the pressure for abortion came on again and came on stronger than ever. A few weeks ago marked the 20th anniversary of the infamous “X case.” Pro-life groups like Youth Defence were celebrating 20 years of Ireland’s abortion ban and over 100,000 babies saved because of it…amazing, right? One hundred thousand babies! But abortion advocates used this anniversary to fuel the most intense battle cry for abortion to date, demanding that the Irish government legislate on the “X case” and legalize abortion.
Every day for nearly the past month, the issue of abortion has flooded the Irish papers, the Irish radio, and television shows across the nation. Pro-abortionists are whining about women’s rights and claiming that Ireland needs to “get with the times.” The media is obsessed with the pro-abortion movement and continues to promote that movement’s anti-life agenda. But – the pro-lifers are standing strong for life and working harder than ever to run educational campaigns, write articles and reports that engage the public, and use social media to expose the truth about abortion and the abortion industry.
Saoirse – the Irish have fought to keep their great nation abortion-free and continue to fight for freedom to this day. Freedom is a nation untouched by the horrors of abortion. Freedom is being in a country that has more pregnant women and children walking around than any place you’ve ever experienced. Freedom is a place where the unborn child and its mother are treated as equals, treated as persons. Ireland is a nation that is truly free – because every life is protected and respected.
Planned Parenthood’s lawyer Julie Kay once described Ireland as the “jewel in the crown of the pro-life movement.” This is true. Although Ireland is small, it is a nation that has become one of the pro-life movement’s most precious jewels. We must stand with Ireland and make sure that this “jewel” is guarded and that life is protected. And then we will add more jewels to this crown and polish them to make them shine brighter than ever before. We will win this battle; Ireland continues to give us hope every day in this battle for life.
For many years, Ireland has fought to keep Ireland abortion-free, and I am happy to say that today will be another day without abortion in Ireland. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! And remember when you are out celebrating to raise a glass in honor of the 100,000 lives that have been saved because of Ireland’s ban on abortion, and remember that there is hope for our great nation – that one day, America will be ABORTION-FREE!