Ireland is one of the world’s most pro-life nations, and the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution recognizes the right to life of every preborn child. Abortion activists, however, are seeking to dismantle protections for the preborn by pushing the nation to legalize abortion. Projections show that if Ireland succumbs to the pressure of international abortion groups, 10,000 more preborn Irish babies will die in abortion each year.
The well-funded abortion lobby is carrying out a campaign claiming that abortion is necessary for the life and health of pregnant women. This claim is patently false, as over 1,000 medical experts have testified in the Dublin Declaration that abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother. Decades of statistics show that Ireland consistently ranks among the nations with the lowest maternal mortality rate, and the United Nations called Ireland “one of the safest places in the world for a mother to have a baby.”
Ireland succeeds in both protecting preborn children and preserving women’s lives during health crises because life-saving interventions have never been denied and are explicitly required. Pregnant women facing serious complications, such as pre-eclampsia, septicemia, cancer, ectopic pregnancy or other life-threatening conditions, are not denied care. Doctors intervene, including prematurely delivering babies when circumstances require it, and the prohibition of abortion does not interfere with appropriate care.
Despite this well-established record of maternal care, abortion supporters have long pushed for abortions in cases applying to maternal health as a means of legally sanctioning elective abortions. In 2013, abortion groups succeeded in passing the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act. This legislation defines certain circumstances in which an abortion may legally be committed when the mother’s mental and physical health is at risk.
The real driving force behind the Repeal the 8th movement is clearly elective abortion. Niamh Uib of the Life Institute said the best projection of what abortion-on-demand would look like in Ireland is to look at Ireland’s neighbor the United Kingdom. Women in Ireland travel to the U.K. for elective abortions, which results in the current 5 percent abortion rate for Ireland. The U.K., on the other hand, has an abortion rate of more than 20 percent, which is consistent with abortion rates across other European nations. She says if Ireland repeals the life-saving Eighth Amendment, with an abortion rate of 20 percent, roughly 14,000 babies would die in abortion each year, an increase of 10,000 preborn children.
Saving Ireland’s Eighth Amendment is a matter of saving human lives. Ireland is a shining example for every country that it is possible to love both mother and child. We cannot let the rhetoric of the abortion lobby distort Ireland’s record of preserving women’s and children’s lives.