The abortion issue in Ireland
The situation in Ireland with reference to an amendment to the Constitution to outlaw the possibilities of legalizing abortion by court or parliament has suddenly changed. The situation is very fluid; anything could happen.
Under pressure, Prime Minister Garret FitzGerald had agreed with his opponent Charles Haughey to submit a pro-life amendment to the Constitution in a national referendum. When Haughey became Prime Minister, he proposed a tight, no-exceptions amendment, but his government fell before it could be processed through parliament. In the ensuing campaign, the 3rd in eighteen months, Haughey accused FitzGerald of being soft on abortion. FitzGerald responded by saying that, if elected, he would by the 31st of March present to the nation the same tight amendment issued by Haughey’s government. After winning the election, through his health minister Barry Desmond, FitzGerald reneged on his campaign promise, and now says that he wants a different amendment.
For weeks Planned Parenthood-type abortionists and groups have been screaming in the anti-life/anti-Catholic Church/ anti-Catholic bishops, daily newspapers and electronic media that the originally proposed amendment is divisive, sectarian, unnecessary because the law already forbids abortion, undemocratic, archaic, unprecedented in the Western world, and premature. A hundred diabolical slogans and subtle diversionary tactics are being used to gain time and to mislead. All the pro-life amendment would do is to ensure that no Irish Supreme Court, as in the USA, and no government, as in Britain, could slip abortion into the nation without again consulting all the people.
Significantly, the abortionists have been able to secure for their cause the signatures of only 122 of 6,000 doctors in the country to oppose a closed amendment.
Most unfortunately the few Protestant groups, particularly the Methodists, Presbyterians, and the Church of Ireland (Anglicans), who said little when the tight amendment was first proposed, have come out with carefully timed statements. These support FitzGerald; he is known to want to legalize divorce and to “desectarianize” the whole Constitution. Additionally, FitzGerald, through his health minister, has made it known that the disastrous Health-Family Planning Bill, which still contains a few restrictions, needs to be revamped, that is, have all restrictions removed so that contraception will be totally free to everybody and that sex and contraceptive education can be inaugurated in the schools. (The latter is not voiced out loud but clearly meant.)
In their statements the Protestants have been saying that the tight amendment would be a direct negation of the principles of all the mainline Protestant churches (adherents very few). They have stated that the pro-life amendment would be contrary to their concept of an open society. The statement of the churches goes on to say that the amendment would occasion needless litigation and state-interference with personal and sexual privacy. It would reflect a medical ethics unparalleled in any country in the world. In part, the Methodist statement reads, “It would be especially unfortunate when we seek a society of open understanding for all of Ireland, that one part of Ireland should be asked to define itself in this respect as a closed society on conservative Roman Catholic lines.” Fear is expressed, too, that a closed amendment, allowing no abortions, would deny certain forms of “contraception,” like abortifacient pills and IUDs, as well as future forms of early, do-it-yourself, bathroom abortions.
All of this, of course, we have heard before. It is indeed pitiful that these churches, representing so few, allow themselves to be used by anti-life and Planned Parenthood types. A part of the tactic is to gain time. If the national referendum were held today on a closed, no-exceptions amendment, the pro-lifers would surely win.
The enemy (the devil) knows exactly what is at stake. The situation is exceedingly fluid. Anything could happen.