On 25th May, a referendum will be held on the question of removing the right to life of the unborn child from the Constitution of Ireland. There are many reasons to vote against this referendum on May 25th. Here are seven.
- Love them Both
The 8th protects the right to life of both mother and baby. It doesn’t favour the baby over the mother – instead it asks us to love and protect them both. That’s what it means to be a progressive and compassionate society.
- Keeping women safe
Women are safe in pregnancy in Ireland under the 8th amendment according to the United Nations – and doctors say they have never been prevented from giving a woman any life-saving treatment she needed when it was required. Repealing the 8th won’t make women safe – it will just legalise abortion.
- Humanity of the child
The 8th protects preborn babies that are undeniably human and recognises the human right to life of these babies. Technology means we can no longer deny the humanity of a baby whose heart begins to beat at 21 days and who is perfectly formed at 8 weeks.
- Don’t discriminate against people with disabilities
Preborn babies with a disability are legally protected under the 8th amendment. In contrast, 90% of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted in Britain. This also means the 8th has helped us to develop better treatments for babies born with disabilities. For example, a leading heart specialist recently observed that, because we don’t abort babies with congenital heart disease “it allows us to build up a particular expertise here in dealing with those sick newborns”.
- Abortion numbers are falling
The 8th has led Ireland to support women, by offering real, life-affirming choices instead of pushing abortion. The number of Irish women travelling for abortion has fallen by 50% since 2002. If we repeal the 8th we would get the British model of abortion – that means one in five babies being aborted before birth. It would lead to 10,000 MORE abortions every year. No reasonable person should want more abortions to happen.
- Better care for women and families
The 8th has encouraged Ireland to seek better care when a crisis arises in pregnancy – for example, developing perinatal hospice care to help parents and babies where a life-limiting diagnosis has been made, instead of cruelly describing these babies as a ‘fatal abnormality’ and ignoring the distress abortion brings for women in these situations, usually involving a late-term abortion. A recent study showed that women who had an abortion after a diagnosis of a severe disability (anencephaly) were much more likely to suffer depression and despair.
What will happen if the Eighth Amendment is repealed?
The Eighth Amendment protects the right to life of pregnant women and unborn babies equally. Without it, Ireland’s abortion rate will rise dramatically. Statistics from the Department of Health UK reveal over 185,000 abortions were performed in 2016. When abortion was legalised in the UK in 1967, no one could have predicted that in just 50 years 1 in 5 British babies’ lives would end in abortion every year. Similar rates are seen in Sweden (1 in 4), France and Spain (1 in 5), Italy and Portugal (1 in 6).