Liftoff: Save The 8th Campaign Launches In Dublin

On May 25th, politicians are asking the public to trust them in legalising abortion on demand. They are effectively seeking a licence to kill preborn babies, and to introduce an abortion model that is in many ways even more extreme than the British regime.

Niamh Uí Bhriain, SAVE the 8th Campaign Director

On May 25th, politicians are asking the public to trust them in legalising abortion on demand. They are effectively seeking a licence to kill preborn babies, and to introduce an abortion model that is in many ways even more extreme than the British regime.

We believe that this is a step too far for most Irish people and that the abortion proposal will be rejected on May 25th.

For five years now, a sustained campaign to remove all legal protection from the unborn child has been waged.

This campaign has been funded from overseas, cheered on by journalists, and embraced by spineless politicians.

There have been more flip flops in the Dáil in the last three years on the abortion issue than there are at the average beach.

The public are now being told by Simon Harris that this legislation will be restrictive.

This is the same Simon Harris who begged for votes in 2011 from pro-life voters in order, he said, to save the 8th amendment. He has already broken promises on abortion – why should anyone believe his promises on abortion now?

We are told by the Taoiseach that this legislation will be restrictive – but this is the same Taoiseach who said in 2010 that any restrictive legislation would lead to abortion on demand.

Then we have Simon Coveney, who has held four distinct positions on abortion in the last year alone, and who does not trust his own colleagues not to shift their position again. Simon Coveney has had more positions on abortion in the month than most people manage in an entire lifetime.

This referendum is happening because Katherine Zappone demanded it as a condition for her support of the Government.

What will people like Katherine Zappone demand in the future? Extreme as this proposal is, will it be followed by an even more liberal abortion regime?

The electorate are being asked to hand over the right to life of unborn children to a political class that has broken promise after promise on abortion.

Nearly every politician in this Government has broken a promise on abortion, some of them have broken several. And now they’re making another promise- that this is restrictive abortion. The facts speak otherwise.

This is abortion on demand, for any reason or none, through the first three months of the preborn baby’s life. It is abortion because the baby is a twin, or is inconvenient, or has a disability or is a girl. It doesn’t matter what the reason is.

Then, the proposal goes even further. It seeks to allow late-term abortion - the killing of preborn babies up to 6 months on health grounds. In Britain 98% of all abortions are carried out on health grounds. And it also seeks to allow abortion until birth where the baby has a severe disability.

This referendum is not about helping women – abortion doesn’t help women, it hurts them. Rather, the referendum seeks to make the Irish people complicit in establishing a licence to kill preborn babies.

The public cannot trust politicians. Every single voter in this country knows that to be true. And we’re not being asked to trust them with water charges, or property taxes – we are being asked to trust them with the right to life of babies in the womb.

This legislation is already more liberal than what was inititally proposed in the UK in 1967, and we need only look to see how that turned out. One in every five pregnancies in the UK ends in abortion. It is not just a travesty but a shocking and enduring tragedy.

A yes vote is not a vote for choice. It is a vote of active approval.

It is a vote to sanction every single abortion that becomes legal after the 8th amendment is repealed.

On this side of the debate, we believe that this is deeply wrong, and that a YES vote would be a horrible and tragic mistake.

We are asking the Irish people to trust their guts on this. They are being asked to give politicians a power they do not deserve and cannot be trusted to wield.

They are being asked to sanction not just this abortion law, but every abortion law, and every abortion, in the future.

This, for Ireland, is going too far.

So, we’re asking people to say NO to abortion on demand. And they are responding. 100,000 marched in the Rally to Save the 8th and thousands are out canvassing every week to Save the 8th. The pols are turning in our favour, as the reality of the repeal slogan become more and more evident to voters.

This is a rising of the people against the elites, and on May 25th, it’s time to join a rebellion, and reject both abortion on demand and the untrustworthy political class that wants to repeal the right to life of children before birth.

Marie Donnelly, Nurse and Regional Save Co-ordinator

I knew from when I was a little girl that I wanted to work in the health service. It is the most noble profession that there is – caring for the sick, the elderly, those who have had accidents, those who need our help.

We make people better. We try to make them smile. We try to hold their hands when they are on their own, to touch their spirits and help them through the hardest times in their lives.

For us, a successful outcome is a patient who is more healthy and happy after spending time with us.

Let me say this clearly: Abortion is not healthcare. Abortion takes the life of a healthy baby that has nothing medically wrong with it. Calling it healthcare is like calling Simon Coveney principled and consistent. It has no relationship to reality. It is spin, it is Orwellian, and it is designed to confuse and mislead the public.

Like many others in the health service, I would give up my career before I ever took part in an abortion.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about the way the Government’s plan is to turn every Irish GP surgery and every Irish hospital into an abortion clinic.

I want to ask questions that the media so far seem to be refusing to consider.

Let’s start with a simple one:

How is a GP to determine the gestational age of a baby before he prescribes an abortion?

Most Irish GPs lack the equipment and lack the training.

A doctor who isn’t sure how far along a pregnancy is could be risking a woman’s life or health.

He could be risking his own career.

To equip doctors to do this, we would have to give them all ultrasound machines.

Then we would have to train them how to use those machines.

Training that would include the stuff we don’t talk about. Every ultrasound machine will have to have the volume turned down, so that only the doctor can hear the heartbeat. The screen will be turned away, so that only the doctor can see the life he is about to end.

Where would women wait? A woman carrying a child that she considers to be condemned will have to wait in a doctor’s waiting room with other women, with their toddlers.

She will have to come back a second time, three days later, to have a miscarriage induced.

If the YES campaign are correct in their figures, this is thousands of extra appointments every year for GPs who are already turning away new patients.

Surgical abortions will have to be performed in hospitals that are packed to bursting.

Abortions are time-sensitive. You cannot have a nine-month waiting list for an abortion. So, these extra operations will jump the queue, ahead of other sick patients, taking up theatre time and extending waiting lists.

Minister Harris cannot on the one hand say he intends to cut waiting lists and on the other hand issue an order prioritising operations where none is medically needed.

Such a plan will throw the medical system into chaos, because a clear majority of medical and nursing staff have said they will opt out.

In the media’s headlong rush to cheer on this bill, nobody has stopped to think of the practical consequences.

Let me be blunt: This will add an intolerable strain to an already broken health service.

It is not medicine. It is not necessary. It is just a licence to kill.

Vicky Wall, mam to baby Líadán who had a life-limiting condition

Like too many women in Ireland, I know what it is like to hear a doctor telling you that your unborn child will not survive.

I know that pain. I know that agony. I know that hopelessness and despair. For some women it is accompanied by a feeling of failure. The questions.

What did I do wrong? Is it my fault?

There is no grief like the loss of a child. It really doesn’t matter how old that child is. There are women in Ireland who have lost adult sons and daughters. There are women who have lost children. There are women like me who knew that loss would come before their child saw even the light of day.

In my case, with Liadan, I knew that above all else, I had to be able to say goodbye in person. To meet her. To let her, if only for a moment, breathe the free air and touch her hand to mine.

She was not a baby with a fatal foetal abnormality, she was my baby, and she was perfect. Her life was short, but her life was full of the kind of love that you cannot express in words.

The bond between a mother and a child is sometimes described as sacred. That word does not do it justice. It is more than sacred – it defines the very nature of us as a species. Our unbreakable commitment to each other. Our solidarity. The way we are not just two separate individuals, but made of the same blood, the same flesh, and the same bone.

When a doctor told me to consider an abortion for Liadan, I recoiled in horror. To someone who does not understand the bond between a mother and her child, it might seem like an imperfect baby is a burden.

It might seem like mercy to “end the suffering” or “ease the pain”. We convince ourselves of our own goodness. It’s the curse of the human condition. Every horror we perpetrate has some higher goal, some noble purpose.

In the UK, nine out of every ten babies diagnosed with Downs Syndrome are not permitted to see a single sunrise.

Their lives and their experience are taken from them in the name of mercy. A life that can be so full of joy and happiness is reduced to a potential problem.

The women who have these abortions are not bad people. I do not condemn them. I do not wish them ill. I do not give this speech to hurt them. I do not campaign for them to suffer.

But the culture that tells them that abortion is a solution, or that abortion is merciful, or that abortion is kind? That has to go.

In Ireland we’re being asked to import this culture. Our yes votes on May 25th will not only be a licence to kill, they’ll be a message to the public that sometimes, killing is the right thing to do. The just thing to do. The expected thing to do.

This is what happens everywhere abortion is introduced. Leo Varadkar was right when he said that restrictive abortion would lead to abortion on demand.

Look at Germany. In Germany there is no law sanctioning abortion for disability. But yet 9 in 10 pregnancies where Downs Syndrome is detected end in abortion, on mental health grounds. When your culture tells a woman that her pregnancy is a crisis, she will experience it as a crisis pregnancy. When your culture and your laws say the opposite – that this is not a crisis pregnancy, fewer women will see their pregnancies as something to be ended.

We are being asked to sanction every future abortion in Ireland on the basis of my pain, and the pain of women like me. Our suffering has been shamelessly used by the YES campaign.

They want the public to feel our sorrow and our misery and our despair, and to turn their sympathy into a licence to kill. Well I for one, and many others, will not stand by and stay silent while our suffering is used to inflict death on perfectly healthy babies.

That is not medicine. It is not care. It is not compassion. It is indeed change, but not a change that we should ever countenance. That’s why I’ll be voting NO.

Dr. Eimear Thornton

My name is Eimear Thornton. If I was to stand here today and say that tobacco companies want more people to smoke, nobody would disagree with me.

If I was to say that alcohol companies want more people to drink, nobody would disagree with me.

If I was to say that big oil wanted to mitigate climate change laws, nobody would disagree with me.

But if I say that abortion providers want there to be more abortions, some people will say I am scaremongering.

You have heard from Marie Donnelly about the impacts of this plan on the health service.

You have heard from John Monaghan about the lack of medical evidence to justify it.

You have heard from Vicki Wall about the pressures that some women come under to abort.

So let me tell you about the UK abortion industry, which this government, in its folly, wishes to copy.

In England, one in five pregnancies ends in abortion, rising to nine in ten where a diagnosis of Downs Syndrome is made.

In England, we have cases of abortion clinics paying bonuses to staff based on the number of abortions they procure.

In England, we have a situation where one in 20 abortions after 20 weeks ends in a live birth.

In England, abortion is the first solution, not the last resort.

And it was not meant to be so.

The 1967 act required medical indication before an abortion could happen. Our proposed law does not.

The number of abortions was initially small but soared and soared as abortion became first culturally acceptable, and now culturally expected.

In 2012, fourteen UK hospitals were found to have broken the law and performed illegal abortions. And since 1967 in the UK, there has never been an incident where a doctor was found to have denied an abortion contrary to law. All the mistakes and crimes happen in one direction.

In Ireland, we are told our law will be restrictive. But if we listen carefully, the facts are already clear.

Dr. Peter Boylan himself told the Sunday Times that he was not worried about restrictive language, because decisions about an abortion after 12 weeks would not be made by doctors, but by those seeking abortions.

Pretending that there will be a medical barrier to abortion access based on risk falls apart when the leading doctor on your own side says doctors will not be the ones assessing the risks.

We are being asked to believe that Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney, Simon Harris, and their successors will prevent a UK style abortion regime here, and that they can be trusted. If they have proved one thing over recent years, it’s that when they say something on abortion, it is not their final position.

Trusting them not to change their mind is like trusting the sun not to set. It is an inevitability that they will change their minds, because they have done so so often already.

The Irish people are being asked to entrust this most sensitive and deadly of issues to politicians who have proven themselves beyond untrustworthy.

I am just an ordinary citizen. I don’t have a tragic personal story. I have only my own children, and my own conscience, and my own experiences. As a mother of four children, I have far more experience in pregnancy than Katherine Zappone or Leo Varadkar or Simon Harris.

I was never pregnant with a clump of cells. I was never pregnant with a foetus. Clumps of cells don’t kick. Foetuses don’t move around inside you. Each one of them has a personality and a life than you can feel before they are born. There will never be another one of them.

Every time one of them is snuffed out, we lose a bit of ourselves. As a voter, I’m being asked to sanction this, to give it my blessing. If we vote yes, we are putting ourselves there in the room with the person carrying out the abortion. We are prescribing the tablet. We are turning on the suction pump. We are making ourselves accessories to the fact.

I will not consent to this, and I will work night and day to ensure that others do not either. This is wrong, it is a mistake, and it must be rejected.

8 Reasons to Save the 8th

Emer Toibin – Women deserve better supports

Our government’s plan to introduce abortion in Ireland is a smokescreen for the real support and services that Irish women need. All Irish women including young parents, single mothers and first-time mothers need appropriate care, emotional support, and financial support and services. This is what our government should be advocating and legislating for, yet they seem to think that abortion, ending the lives of the unborn Irish children, is the best service that we can give Irish women which is not the case. I believe that we should be asking for better healthcare, better housing provision and more financial support. We do not need abortion in Ireland and this is why I will be voting No.

Christine Darcy

Irish Student for Life

I am a young, prolife female student in Ireland and I am not in the minority. As the discussion around the referendum increases hundreds and thousands of young people, students and young professionals who value the right to life of the unborn are using their voices in their colleges, communities and workplaces. There are street sessions in every young city in Ireland, information stalls popping up in universities and colleges across Ireland, and youth canvasses happening in towns and villages all across Ireland. The young generation is rallying hard to protect our future generations and we believe that this movement will only increase and gather momentum as the weeks go on. I am a student, I am prolife, and I am voting No.

Ciara Murphy

Hundreds of Thousands of Conversations Happening at the Doors (Canvass)

A recent poll by The Sunday Times shows us that the Irish people are now realizing the reality of repeal and do not want it in Ireland with a 6-point swing to the pro-life side. The Irish people, in communities all across Ireland are recognizing that what the government is proposing, is one of the most liberal abortion regimes in the world.

These facts and information are impacting voters because of the thousands of one to one conversations that prolife volunteers are having at the doors all across Ireland. The LIFE Canvass has knocked on 250,000? doors so far and will engage with another 300,000? by the time the referendum is here. While the government and media may not present the facts, the voters are still accessing them through the local people in local communities protecting local lives in Ireland. I believe that the 8th protects Irish communities, I see the impact that the truth has on the Irish public at the doors, and I will be voting No.

Margaret McDonagh

Irish Travellers for Life

I am an Irish woman and a proud prolife member of the Irish Travelling Community. I have been disappointed and shocked to see that the National Traveller Women’s Forum has become a member of the pro-abortion campaign. This is a direct misrepresentation of Irish Traveller Women, we are a prolife community who value the life of both the mother and the baby in the womb. In recent days I have spoken, contacted and messaged hundreds of members if the Travelling community who have been left down by our representatives. However, this will not stop us coming together to protect our values, our culture and our children. The widespread support of the Irish Travelling Community for the 8th Amendment will be seen throughout this campaign and up to the referendum, starting today at 1pm where we gather to demonstrate outside Dail Eireann. I am a prolife Irish traveller, I want to protect our culture and future generations and I am voting No.

Ciara Kavanagh

Homeless Support / Housing

Every single person in Ireland, irrespective of age, class or background needs proper support from our government and communities, this includes the women, men and families who find themselves experiencing homelessness. I have worked with the homeless community in Ireland for 00 years and the homeless women who I know do not need abortion, they need homes, appropriate support services and a place to call their own. Many people who are advocating for this liberal, on demand abortion scheme in Ireland, are using homeless women who have no homes and supports as an example of why we should allow abortion in Ireland. This angers me and causes such upset amongst those who work with the homeless; abortion is quite clearly not the answer that these women need. There is no care or long-term help shown to a homeless woman when she is given an abortion. Every woman needs a home, and support, not ending the life of her baby. I am passionate about seeing homeless women cared for properly in Ireland and I am voting No.

Caoimhe Lynch

Crisis Pregnancy

My mam was shocked to find out that she was pregnant, and she wasn’t ready or prepared for a baby. However, she knew that just because she hadn’t planned my pregnancy she couldn't end the life of the little baby in her womb, just because it was an inconvenient time. I was her baby

Often women in crisis pregnancies are used as examples of why we should bring abortion in Ireland. I completely disagree with this. If a woman is in crisis because she can’t afford to rear a child, the right supports and services are, and should be there to help her. We need to be petitioning our government to give women in crisis pregnancies the real care that they need. If our taxes are to be spent on abortion then something else will loose out, will that be our healthcare services, our housing services, our education supports? By bringing abortion into Ireland we will only loose money and services that are really needed and that is why I will be voting No.

Anne Trainor


Ireland is one of the safest places in the world to have a disability, why? Because the 8th Amendment protects all of our beautiful children by valuing their life and giving them the opportunity to contribute to our families, our communities and our world. Abortion discriminates against children and people who have a disability. I am a mother of a beautiful boy, he has Down syndrome and he is the light and life of our family. His smile is contagious, his pure heart sweeps you off your feet and his life is one to be treasured. In Britain 9 out of 10 babies who are diagnosed with Down syndrome before birth are aborted. This is a shocking and upsetting fact. Ireland is doing better; the Irish people are leading the way in valuing each and every child of Ireland. The 8th Amendment does not discriminate, the 8th Amendment saves lives, it saves my sons community and that is why I will be voting No.

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