Irish government leaders published their long-awaited proposal Thursday to overturn Ireland’s pro-life constitutional amendment.
The Eighth Amendment protects unborn babies’ right to life, but a referendum vote is scheduled for May on whether to repeal the amendment and legalize abortion on demand.
On Thursday, the Irish government published the exact language of the referendum bill, or the proposed 36th Amendment to the Constitution, the Irish Examiner reports.
Voters will be asked to repeal the Eighth Amendment and replace it with the following language: “Provision may be made in law for regulation of termination of a pregnancy.”
The language is very broad, giving rise to concerns that Ireland will be pushed to legalize abortion without restriction.
Dr. Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign criticized the government for using International Women’s Day to push its pro-abortion proposal.
She said politicians could have celebrated the bond between mother and child or condemned the horrific gendercide of abortion against unborn girls and women.
“It should be a day that we … challenge those in power to provide the necessary supports so that no woman ever feels she has no choice but to go down the road of abortion,” Cullen said, according to the Catholic Herald. “Instead International Women’s Day 2018 is being used as part of the government’s choreography to introduce abortion on demand into Ireland. The way the day is being exploited is a total betrayal of women and their unborn babies.”
On Thursday, the government also released a proposal that recommends allowing abortions for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, should the amendment be repealed, according to the Irish Independent.
In addition, it would allow abortions up to birth in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities or risks to the mother’s life or health. What specifically “health” refers to is not clear, but the proposal indicates that “physical and mental health risks will be treated the same.” This could mean wide exceptions that allow even healthy, viable, late-term unborn babies to be aborted for almost any reason.
The government plan also suggests a waiting period of 48 to 72 hours between the woman’s first appointment and the abortion, as well as the approval of two doctors. Women who attempt their own abortions would not face criminal prosecution.
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A referendum vote likely will be held May 25; however, the date will not be finalized until after the Dáil, Seanad and President Michael D. Higgins sign the referendum bill, according to the Examiner.
Health Minister Simon Harris told the Independent that he also wants to set up a “free” taxpayer-funded system to provide contraception to women.
While claiming to be pro-life, Harris said he supports legalizing abortion.
“I share the desire to see the unborn protected in every way possible,” Harris said, contradicting his own actions. “[But] retaining the Eighth Amendment does not negate the fact that abortion is already a reality in this country. Retaining the Eighth Amendment will not prevent it from happening.”
But Cullen and other pro-life advocates said there is a better way. Pro-life advocates estimate hundreds of thousands of people are alive in Ireland today because the country recognizes that both unborn babies and their mothers deserve rights and protections under the law. Legalizing abortion will not help mothers, it will only pressure them to kill their unborn babies.
Ireland is under intense pressure to repeal its Eighth Amendment, which protects unborn babies’ right to life. Abortion activists, backed by some of the world’s richest men, are pushing the pro-life country to legalize abortion on demand. In December, a biased government committee recommended that Ireland repeal its Eighth Amendment and legalize unlimited abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
A referendum vote is scheduled for May, prior to Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families. There were some rumblings among abortion activists that the Catholic leader’s visit could influence voters to support unborn babies’ right to life.
Pro-life groups have volunteers knocking on doors across Ireland to save the Eighth Amendment and unborn babies’ lives. They are up against a biased media and huge, illegal donations from American businessmen who are intent on pushing Ireland to adopt abortion on demand.