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As pro-lifers gain, an update on Ireland’s abortion referendum four days out

by | May 21, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

We are just four days away from Ireland’s abortion referendum and there is action on many fronts.

On the popular culture front, The Washington Post’s Allyson Chiu reports that on Friday Singer Ed Sheeran posted statement via Instagram story

saying he had been informed the song [“Small Bump”] was being used to promote a “Pro-Life campaign.”

“I feel like it’s important to let you know I have not given approval for this use, and it does not reflect what the song is about,” Sheeran wrote.

“Small Bump,” which is from Sheeran’s 2011 debut album “+,” was reportedly being played by antiabortion activists campaigning in Dublin’s city center, according to the Guardian.

We’ve reposted a story about this song before. Sheeran subsequently explained that “the song was about a friend who had experienced a miscarriage” and that the lyrics were “from the perspective of actually being the parent.”

But it is impossible not to take the words as anything other than humanizing the unborn child. For example,

You’re just a small bump unborn in four months you’re brought to life

You might be left with my hair but you’ll have your mother’s eyes

I’ll hold your body in my hands, be as gentle as I can

But for now you’re a scan of my unmade plans

As even Chiu acknowledged, “The song concludes with two gut-wrenching lines: ’Cause you were just a small bump unborn for four months then torn from life/Maybe you were needed up there but we’re still unaware as why.’”

The pro-abortion to the hilt Irish Times tells us that “Two sides prepare for frantic final days of a long campaign.”

The key for those who wish to retain the 8th Amendment to the Constitution [known as article 40.3.3] which affords equal rights to mothers and unborn children is likely the two television debates, one on Tuesday and another on Wednesday. It would not be unfair to say that both sides (for different reasons, obviously) agreed the “retainers” carried the day in the first debate.

The other reason the television debates will be so important is that Google and Facebook have almost entirely censored pro-life advertisements.

There is no question those who want the 8th repealed and authorized for the government to legislate on abortion are ahead, just as there is no question the margin has shrunk. Indeed a poll for Sky News on May 21 showed the narrowest margin ever:

showed 47 per cent supporting reform and 37 per cent opposed.

Some 11 per cent said they did not know and 6 per cent prefer not to say.

Thus, “Turnout will be key to the result,” according to Pat Leahy of the Irish Times.

One of the reasons why referendum outcomes are unpredictable is because of wildly fluctuating turnout figures – with numbers varying between the 60s and the 30s in percentage terms depending on the topic. With just days to go, each side holds the same fear: that not enough of its supporters come out on the day.

Finally on Sunday, the Irish Times’s Sarah Bardon Compiled “Q&A: Your key questions answered from the abortion campaign.” Critics have made the point repeatedly that the government is not talking only about abortions through the first 12 weeks. Bardon says otherwise. To the question, “Will abortions be available after 12 weeks?,” she writes

In very specific circumstances, yes. If there is a risk to a woman’s life or of serious harm to her health, two medical practitioners will be asked to determine if an abortion should be permitted.

That simply is not accurate. As “Save the Eighth” explained. “According to a statement signed by 100 legal experts, including several former judges including a former judge of the European Court of justice, [the proposed legislation] would mean the total removal of constitutional rights from the unborn.”

Those experts wrote

“The proposed legislation would allow the life of the unborn to be ended for any reason up until twelve weeks, and far beyond that on grounds which have led to abortion on demand in other jurisdictions. In addition, such limitations on abortion as may be set in the legislation could be removed at any time without the consent of the People.”

As Save the Eighth also noted, if you read the government’s policy paper, you’ll find

if the 8th is repealed, abortion on mental and physical health grounds up to 6 months will be legal. Mental Health is the reason for 184,000 of the 190,000 abortions in England and Wales every year.

We will keep you updated right to Friday’s referendum and beyond.

Categories: Ireland