As one of the most pro-life nations in the world, Ireland’s vote on Friday to legalize abortion by repealing the Eighth Amendment to their national Constitution has come as a shock for many in the pro-life movement.
Ireland was a shining example of what a first-world nation without abortion could be. It had low rates of infant and maternal mortality, and was a modern, prosperous country in which the rights of women were respected. Their vote last week eliminates their distinctive national character as a nation that respects both mother and child.
The Eighth Amendment was adopted in 1983, at a time when many Western nations were liberalizing their abortion laws. It reads, “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.”
The Eighth Amendment was hardly an extreme or draconian measure. It explicitly safeguards the mother’s rights, and did not prohibit in any way doctors’ interventions to treat life-threatening complications that can arise during pregnancy.
Ireland ranked as one of the safest countries in the world for a mother to have a baby. As a result of this vote, abortion could be legal even up to the point of birth.
Unlike the U.S., Ireland’s citizens had the option of deciding on the issue of abortion by being given the chance to vote. They voted overwhelmingly, by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, to strip away the rights of the most vulnerable persons in society.
Let us pray for Ireland’s conversion, for the safeguarding of their children, and that other nations in Europe and throughout the world do not follow their example.