NRL News

Political maneuvering intensifies following announcement of 2018 abortion referendum in Ireland

by | Sep 28, 2017

By Dave Andrusko

Senator Catherine Noone

Senator Catherine Noone

Yesterday NRL News Today reported on the announcement by the Prime Minister of Ireland that the country would hold a referendum in 2018 on the nation’s very protective abortion laws, principally the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution.

Already there is intense politically maneuvering and feints by those who want to radically undermine the existing laws. Their ideal is the recommendations from the Citizens Assembly, described by the pro-life Society for the Protection of Unborn Children as recommending that that Ireland should legislate for abortion “with many saying there should be no restrictions at all.”

The very pro-abortion Irish Times’ Pat Leahy and Sarah Bardon reported that at their weekly pre-Cabinet meeting,

“several [Fine Gael] Ministers have confirmed to The Irish Times that most of those present believed the assembly recommendations, which suggest changing the Constitution and legislating for general access to abortion up to 22 weeks into a pregnancy, would not be supported by the Fine Gael party, would not pass a vote in the Dáil and would not be passed by the electorate in a referendum.” (The Fine Gael is a political party ; the Dáil is the lower house of the Parliament of Ireland.)

Which brought about a subsequent story by Leahy which began, “The chairwoman of the all-party committee on the eighth amendment Senator Catherine Noone has said that it would be ‘prudent’ for the Government to propose a wording that can be successful in a referendum.” Noone added, “It wouldn’t make sense to put forward a referendum that was going to be defeated.”

But Noone immediately hedges her bets. According to Leahy

However, Ms Noone also acknowledged the difficulty of knowing how exactly how people would vote in a referendum.

Speaking to the BBC Women’s Hour programme, she said, “It’s very hard to know what people’s views are.

“The Citizens Assembly came up with quite a liberal position. They would have been in favour of abortion without restriction – you know, which a lot of people feel the Irish public wouldn’t agree with.

“But there’s no tangible evidence of what the Irish people actually feel. Or actually would vote for in a referendum,” she said.

As if to dispute her characterization, Leahy then points to the Irish Times’ own polling which he characterizes as “repeatedly” illustrating “that voters favour liberalising Ireland’s strict anti-abortion laws in specific cases such as rape and instances of fatal foetal conditions, but would not back general access to abortion.”

NRL News Today wrote about Leahy’s analysis in a story he posted March 3. Assuming for the sake of discussion the poll was conducted fairly, there is 3/4ths support for legal abortion in cases of rape, incest, or child abuse, and when the baby would not survive outside the womb.

In addition, 50% agree abortion should be legal, according to the poll, “where a child would have a severe physical or mental handicap.”

But there are gaps and omissions in Leahy’s analysis. First, it does not mention that 68% believe it should not be illegal to abort a baby past 24 weeks. Nor does he mention that not even a quarter (24%) agree abortion should be legal “where a woman believes she would be unable to cope because of her age or circumstance.”

Second, as Leahy acknowledges, “anti-abortion activists argue, citing some examples that it may not be possible to say with certainty when a baby will not survive after birth.” But it is not an isolated example, as we have noted in many stories we have reposted from Irish pro-lifers.

Third, “Severe physical or mental handicap” is, in the latter case, placing a bulls-eye on babies with Down syndrome, and opening the door, in the former case, to what is happening in Britain–babies are aborted up until the final stages because they have a cleft palate!

Stay tuned.

Categories: Abortion Ireland