The Pro-Life Vigil outside the Dail yesterday was a great success, congratulations to those who organised it at such short notice, and well done to all who took part. There were about 8,000 people there, though RTE, the national broadcaster, initially reported that there were only about a 1,000 – they have since changed their figure to “thousands”. We had a mixture of all ages – but the large number of young people was noted – young people tend to be more pro-life than the middle aged, – many of them realising that they could have been aborted and so see they cannot take life for granted. We even had five bishops officially representing, I am told, the Bishops’ Conference – it was great to have their presence. There were also a number of priests there.
It was bitterly cold, but that did not stop the enthusiasm of the crowds. There were a number of good speakers including Caroline Simons of the Pro-Life Campaign and Niamh Ui Bhriain of the Life Institute. I am not sure if there were elected representatives there – a friend of mine told me he met Sinn Fein TD Peader Toibin. Deputy Toibin is defying his party in his support for the lives of the unborn – Sinn Fein, like the Labour Party, is pro-abortion. Other TDs came out of Leinster House (the parliament building) to have a look at us, but did not come to speak to us.
In her talk Caroline Simons, a lawyer with the Pro-Life campaign clarified the Savita Halappanavar case the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights. She explained, as pro-life advocates have been explaining from the start, that an abortion was not required to save the woman’s life and that Irish hospitals have an excellent record of care for pregnant women and those facing miscarriage.
Another speaker pointed out that the pro-abortion groups had actually disgraced Ireland’s excellent record in the eyes of the world in order to achieve their aims. This is true. Around the world there are now people who believe that Ireland is a dangerous place to be pregnant. In reality it is one of the safest – it is safer than the UK, it is safer that US which is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, and it is miles safer than India where for every 100,000 pregnancies 212 women die every year. Indeed it is reckoned by a UN report that every ten minutes a maternal death occurs in India. This is not to lessen the tragedy of a woman’s death, but to expose the lies of those clamouring for abortion. And as we are speaking about India, more statistics: 20,000 women die as a result of abortions annually, and 200,000 baby girls are aborted very year in India just because they are girls. The feminists are happy to ignore that gendercide when it suits them.
It was also pointed out that our doctors, most of whom, we were told, are pro-life, do a fantastic job in caring for women in difficult pregnancies – that also is true. In painting Ireland as a dangerous place for pregnant women the reputation of these fine doctors is seriously undermined, as are the colleges in which these doctors are trained. Our health care system is not perfect, but we in Ireland should be proud of the care our medical professionals deliver each day. Instead of plotting for abortion, pro-choice groups should actually wake up and see how good we actually have it in comparison with other countries.
I am delighted to see the united stand against abortion. All the major pro-life groups were represented on the stage: the Pro-Life Campaign, the Life Institute, Family and Life and Youth Defence. If we are to battle the pro-abortion groups we need all the groups working together. We also need the leaders of the various religions in the State to work together – the Bishops of the Catholic Church and Anglican Communion, the Moderator of the Presbyterian community and President of the Methodist community, the leaders of other Christian denominations, the Chief Rabbi and leaders of the Islamic communities; pro-life humanists and atheists must also be invited too.
As I have said before, we need all the citizens of the State who believe in the sanctity of human life to form a grand coalition: a Coalition for Life. In the US we see people of all faiths and none marching together: we need to do the same in Ireland. At the moment the pro-abortion groups are targeting the Catholic Church, presenting pro-life ethics as no more than oppressive Catholic teaching designed to denigrate women. Abortion is not a Catholic issue – it is a human issue: it is THE human issue because if the right to life is not respected, then no other right can exist or has any force.
Here are some video snippets from the Vigil. More rallies and demonstrations are planned, I will keep you updated. I would be happy to hear news of any pro-life initiatives, so email me and I'll include them on my blog if I can.