In the referendum vote last week, Irish citizens voted to overturn legal protection of the preborn, legalizing abortion in the formerly pro-life country. The referendum overturned the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which was adopted by referendum in 1983. In that vote three and a half decades ago, a two-thirds majority voted to enshrine in the constitution recognition of the right to life of the preborn child. Last week, a two-thirds majority voted to overturn that same amendment.
What has changed? How could a country that overwhelmingly recognized the need to protect the most vulnerable become one that overwhelmingly supports the legally sanctioned killing of some human beings? The answer is certainly not that the Irish people have become barbaric, cruel, and inhumane, although the majority voted in favor of abortion, which is, in fact, barbaric, cruel and inhumane.
The answer is, in part, the powerful psychological tactics used by the abortion industry and pro-abortion politicians to present abortion as something other than what it really is.
The international abortion lobby has shown that Ireland was a testing ground for overturning legal protection for the preborn in strongly pro-life countries. The three-year plan for George Soros’ Open Society Foundation Women’s Rights Program, leaked in 2016, reveals that after Ireland, Poland and Mexico will be targeted for overturning legal protection of the preborn. Documents also show that as the international abortion lobby hones its messaging, Zambia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and parts of Latin America and Europe will also face the interference of this radical abortion agenda.
The more pro-life activists understand the powerful psychological tactics of the abortion lobby, the better able countries assaulted by these strategies will be to combat them. As Fabian Stahle writes in an analysis of the similar psychological tactics used by the assisted suicide movement, “These are always in use when normal, well-socialised persons are coerced into accepting and participating in the killing of fellow human beings.” By understanding what happened in Ireland, pro-life groups around the world can be better prepared for the international abortion lobby. What, then, were the strategies used in Ireland?
Here are some of the most deceptive tactics used by abortion supporters to push for legal abortion in Ireland:
1. Pretend abortion is a solution
Throughout the referendum campaign, pro-abortion activists exploited tragic circumstances to present abortion as a necessary and compassionate solution. Specifically, the abortion lobby used the death of a pregnant woman due to gross medical mismanagement to claim that abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother. If this were the case, which it is demonstrably not, we could expect Ireland to have an atrocious record of maternal mortality and morbidity. To the contrary, Ireland has an exceptionally low maternal mortality rate, which prompted the United Nations to rank Ireland as “one of the safest places in the world for a mother to have a baby.” Recognizing the right to life of the preborn child does not come at the expense of the mother’s life, and many Irish physicians testified that the Eighth Amendment in no way inhibited their ability to treat potentially life-threatening complications during pregnancy such as septicemia, cancer, and pre-eclampsia.
Additionally, the abortion campaign exploited the stories of rape victims to claim that children conceived in rape must be killed for the physical and psychological health of the mother. Many women who became pregnant through rape courageously spoke out against the misuse of their stories, and emphatically stated that taking an innocent life is not a solution to the pain and trauma of rape.
2. Act as though it is inevitable
Another tactic employed to great effect was to claim that Ireland is “behind the times” and oppressed by the antiquated views of the Catholic Church by not having abortion on-demand. Top politicians complained about a “legacy of shame” because Ireland did not allow the killing of the preborn, and pro-abortion protesters carried signs proclaiming, “I can’t believe I still have to protest about this sh**.” The message was clear: the rest of the world has already entered the brave new world where preborn babies have no legal protection, and can be killed for any reason; Ireland needs to hurry up and get there. Such slogans made abortion a foregone conclusion and painted the pro-life position as exclusively religious. These strategies undermined any discussion of abortion and the right to life of the preborn.
Abortion campaigners also made much of the fact that a small number of women currently travel from Ireland to the United Kingdom to undergo abortions. They stated, as abortion activists have in many countries before, that without legal abortion women will still find a way to abort, and it will be “less safe.” The exceptionally low maternal mortality rate would suggest otherwise. Legalizing abortion clearly leads to a significant increase in the number of abortions, and the unfortunate reality of some abortions does not justify removing the rightful legal protection of human life.
3. Call it anything but what it really is
The abortion industry thrives on euphemisms. Calling an abortion a “termination” and a preborn baby an “implanted embryo” creates psychological distance between what abortion activists are campaigning for and what abortion actually is: the violent dismemberment of a living human being with a beating heart.
Even more powerful than calling a preborn baby something other than a baby is ignoring the baby altogether. The abortion campaign focused on abortion as a means of achieving “bodily autonomy.” This is a strawman. No one on the pro-life side is advocating for the enslavement and oppression of women. Where the abortion campaigners claim the right to life of the preborn baby comes at the expense of the mother, when in fact it does not, the abortion campaign outright demands that the bodily autonomy of the mother come at the direct expense of the bodily autonomy of the preborn child. While pro-abortion voters celebrate the results of the referendum, many warn legalized abortion is nothing to celebrate.
4. Minimize the consequences
As the Irish pro-life group Save the 8th wrote after the results of the referendum, “The 8th amendment did not create a right to life for the unborn child – it merely acknowledged that such a right exists, has always existed, and will always exist.” The abortion campaign refused to acknowledge that as a result of the referendum, actual human lives will be violently ended.
The abortion campaigners also act as though the systemic abuses in the international abortion industry will not affect Ireland. Sources in the health department told the Independent that abortions will likely take place as part of the state-funded health care system in Ireland, rather than having private abortion businesses like Marie Stopes. This is an understandable decision, given that Marie Stopes has been plagued with egregious violations and abuses. However, government officials are mistaken in thinking that simply having a government body directly oversee abortions will render the legally sanctioned killing of the preborn without problems. Legal abortion has claimed the lives of many women, in addition to almost 1.5 billion preborn babies killed worldwide since 1980.
The problem is not with who is committing the abortions; the problem is with abortion.
By understanding how the international abortion lobby successfully campaigned for abortion in Ireland, pro-life activists around the world can better prepare for the next assault on the legal protection of innocent human life.