Two hotels in Ireland recently canceled pro-life meetings after hotel staff allegedly received harassment and death threats from abortion activists. The meetings, which were held in Dublin and Cork, were arranged by Unbroken Ireland as part of the “Ending the Silence: Women impacted by pregnancy from rape speak out” initiative.
The pro-life events featured the testimony of rape survivors and a woman conceived in rape. Despite the ongoing threats that caused two hotels to cancel, organizers were able to host the meetings at several locations and in a public square next to one of the hotels that canceled. In an article, the Life Institute described the backlash:
The ugly truth is that abortion campaigners ran orchestrated campaigns to shut down meetings being addressed by rape survivors – trying to silence and censor women who had been assaulted, brutalised, and traumatised. When these women who had, despite all they had endured, found the tremendous, awe-inspiring, courage to speak publicly, those campaigning to repeal the 8th decided they must be silenced.
The talks featured speakers Shauna Prewitt, Jennifer Christie, and Rebecca Kiessling, who received personal threats online. In a press release, Laura Ní Chonghaile of Unbroken Ireland said:
Whatever your views on abortion, I think most fair-minded, decent people would say that we have a right to speak and to share our experiences of pregnancy from rape, and it is appalling and upsetting that abortion campaigners want to silence us.
“It is absolutely shameful that pro-abortion campaigners feel that they can shout everyone down, and that the Gibson Hotel have effectively let ‘repeal the 8th ‘extremists silence women who have been raped,” said Niamh Uí Bhriain, spokesperson for the Life Institute.
According to the Life Institute, legislators co-signed a statement condemning the forced cancellations of the pro-life events. Workers’ Party Councillor Éilis Ryan persisted in endorsing the harassment, calling the female pro-life speakers and rape survivors “anti-woman.”
The speaking tour organized by Unbroken Ireland is part of a larger campaign to defend the 8th Amendment. Ireland is one of the last countries in Europe in which abortion remains illegal. Under the 8th Amendment, Irish law recognizes the right to life of the preborn and the equal right to life of the mother. Abortion supporters have criticized the 8th Amendment for years, and their efforts gained increased momentum in 2012, inspiring the pro-abortion Repeal the Eighth campaign. This year, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that there will be a referendum on the 8th Amendment next May or June of 2018.
In response, pro-life citizens in Ireland have launched a national effort to answer the difficult questions about abortion. The Yes to Life Ireland campaign sends volunteers door-to-door talking with people about issues related to abortion. While polls show that the majority of Irish citizens are opposed to abortion on demand, some question whether or not abortion should be legal in cases where the mother’s health is at risk or a child has been conceived in rape. Pro-life campaigners are sharing information about the reality of abortion and the reasons why abortion is never needed to save the life of the mother. The campaign has also focused on drawing public attention to discriminatory abortions against preborn babies diagnosed with an abnormality in utero and instances in which a child is conceived in rape.
As the pro-lifers in Ireland continue to fight to defend the 8th Amendment, the personal testimonies of speakers such as Prewitt, Christie, and Kiessling give a face to the abortion debate, emphasizing the loss of human life brought by the violence of abortion. Former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, describes the violence of one type of abortion procedure in the video below:
Under current Irish law, children who were conceived in rape like Kiessling have the same right to life as any other child. If the 8th Amendment falls, they may lose that fundamental right. “I was conceived in rape … I am no less of a human being, worthy of love, and deserving a right to life,” said Kiessling.