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Irish pro-lifers to use on the ground canvassing, social media to fight pro-abortion referendum

by | Jan 25, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

The Irish Times is about as pro-abortion as you can be short of actually performing abortions. The newspaper is a huge megaphone for the forces, largely external to Ireland, who have steadily worked for years to eliminate the 8th Amendment to the Constitution which recognizes the equal right to life of the mother and her unborn child.

Now there is to be a referendum this summer on the 8th Amendment. In late December Members of Ireland’s Parliamentary Committee on the Eighth Amendment published its 40 page report that included the recommendation that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution be repealed and, at a minimum, that abortion be legal on demand through the 12th week.

As NRL News Today has reported on numerous occasions, however, there is language in the report that could allow abortions much later in pregnancy for a host of reasons.

This week, Irish Times reporter Pat Leahy wrote a story under the headline “Social media and canvassing will be focus for anti-abortion campaigners.” Why might that be their choice? The subhead reads, “Groups feel shut out of debate in media and by the political establishment.”

And, of course, pro-life groups were under-represented in the so-called “Citizens Assembly” whose recommendations were the blueprint for the Parliamentary Committee on the Eighth Amendment, and on which pro-lifers were also largely excluded.

Here are the key paragraphs from Leahy’s story:

“We never ever heard about the thousands of lives saved every year by the Eighth Amendment. We just never see that talked about,” says Cora Sherlock of the Pro-Life Campaign.

The groups are canvassing every weekend, campaigners say, and some local groups have been doing so for months.

“To us the ground campaign is the most important thing . . . that’s where we’re concentrating our members,” says Niamh Uí Bhriain, spokeswoman for the Life Institute, an anti-abortion group.

A social media strategy is being run by the group’s headquarters which seeks to identify voters who are open to hearing anti-abortion messages.

“It’s all about bringing the right message to the right people,” Uí Bhriain says. “It allows you to target your message. It’s not like a billboard.”

One of the many messages this grassroots campaign will highlight is the number of lives that have been saved because of the 8th Amendment. Here’s a lengthier explanation from Sherlock from last fall than found in Leahy’s story:

“There are few laws we can say with certainty save lives. The 8th Amendment is one such law. Taking a conservative read of what is contained in the actuarial report, there are tens of thousands of Irish people alive today thanks to the 8th Amendment. It is reasonable to posit that well in excess of 100,000 people owe their life to this Amendment.

“To date, there has been way too much focus on the push for repeal of the 8th Amendment. It’s time some attention was given to all that’s good about this life saving constitutional provision.

“Abortion campaigners make the extraordinary claim that the 8th Amendment hasn’t saved a single life and has had no effect other than ensure that Irish abortions happened abroad.

“They want the public to believe in the fiction that the law does not influence our behaviour or that somehow the 8th Amendment is different from every other law ever passed and had no impact. The truth is repeal of the 8th Amendment would inevitably result in more lives being lost. That’s the tragic reality of legalised abortion. I look forward to a more wide ranging discussion on this aspect of the debate which is long overdue.

Sherlock explained to Leahy that there are still many people not on social media, which is where the door-to-door canvassing comes in. “What’s really important is that we bring clarity; how radical this proposal is, and how much it will change Ireland.”

Categories: Abortion Ireland