June 18, 2024 12:16 pm EDT

Ireland Repeals Anti-Abortion Amendment

Ireland went to the polls yesterday for a national referendum on their Eighth Amendment, and the all initial results indicate the decision was to repeal it.  According to the Irish Journal:


The nation was faced with the option of retaining or repealing the Eighth Amendment, and the Irish people have decided.

It’s looking a near certainty that that the country has voted Yes to repealing the Eighth – with early tallies backing up the landslide predicted in two exit polls.

They then posted the first official results, from Galway, which showed a 60.2 Yes, 39.8% No vote.

This is the culmination of a long campaign from abortion advocates.  After losing their effort to advance their position in 1983, when the Eighth was enacted, the Irish pro-abortion community had been attempting to remove the Eighth.  A strong push had been made before in 1992, following the X case.  During that effort, a 14 year old rape victim had been threatening to take her own life rather than bring the child of her serial attacker to term.  The Irish Supreme Court was not allowing her to travel to England for an abortion, in keeping with their Constitution.  Despite the ruling, a judge allowed her to go to England, and on the way to get an abortion she had a miscarriage. (Journal)

That sparked outrage from the pro-abortion lobby and from many in the media, but did not trigger a desire to change the law in most Irish people.

There were other efforts made, and the pro-life contingent steadily lost ground as the country’s religious demographics changed.  The population currently identifies as 13% less Catholic than it did in 1991.  (Faith Survey)

To fuel this latest attempt, they had seized on the death of Savita Halappanavar, a dentist who had died in 2012. (Guardian)  Savita died of sepsis after being denied an abortion that doctors admitted would have likely saved her life, because her fetus, already in the process of a slow miscarriage at 17 weeks, was still showing signs of a heartbeat.

The abortion advocates promoted the repeal using the promise that abortion would become, in Ireland, “Safe, Legal and Rare”. (Irish Times)  That had been the pledge in the past as well, but had been rejected in part by comparisons to similar pledges that had been made in the United States, Britain, and France at the time their abortion laws were enacted.  The recorded abortions in those countries from their most recent available statistics were roughly 926,000 in the U.S. in 2014 (Guttmacher Institute), 190,000 in Britain and Wales in 2016 (UK government) and 211,000 for France in 2016 (Alliance Vita).  Only under the broadest of interpretations would the “rare” portion of the original pledges be seen as accurate.

The death of Savita Halappanavar demonstrates the danger inherent in governmental power.  She died not because doctors thought it was the best way to preserve life… the fetus was already dying and, at 17 weeks, could not be saved… but because they were required to follow a strictly enforced law and feared the penalties they might face.  The country of Ireland now faces a new dilemma: to demonstrate that they are mature enough, on an individual basis, to stand by the stated intent of allowing abortion only for cases where it will save a majority of lives.  If they use it instead as a convenience, they will have traded an occasional unjust and tragic death for thousands of unjust and tragic deaths daily.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.
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