DUBLIN, February 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - For the past week, the Irish Labour Party has become increasingly panicked, as it sees its support in the polls inexorably continue on a downward drift. Last November, Labour were riding high in polls, with 27% of voters expressing a preference for the party, which would have almost doubled its number of seats in the Parliament. Labour deputies were eager for an election and talked excitably about the prospect of the party leader, Eamon Gilmore, becoming Taoiseach.
Then the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the ABC case - and it said that Ireland would have to legalise abortion. Labour rushed out to support the ruling. On January 4th, Gilmore told Ireland’s primary news programme - RTE’s News at One - that he would introduce abortion on ‘life and health’ grounds. That’s the UK model, which results in 180,000 dead babies every year, in lunchtime abortions, and in abortion right through until birth for children with disabilities.
Three months later Labour ratings have sunk to just 17%. They’ve lost more than a third of the votes they hoped to get in tomorrow’s election, and their posters emblazoned with ‘Gilmore for Taoiseach’ look increasingly forlorn and ridiculous. The floating voters which had flocked to Labour prior to the ABC case now seem to have abandoned them for Fine Gael and for Independents. And a major factor is their support for abortion.
It’s the issue that just won’t go away, mostly because the Irish people won’t lie down and allow the abortion industry to ride roughshod over our pro-life culture. Protecting children and their mothers from this particularly unnatural cruelty runs deep within the Irish psyche, and, as Labour are finding to their cost, there is very little support for legalising abortion here.
I canvassed doors and public places with Youth Defence’s leaflets, telling people about Labour’s policy and asking voters to demand a ban on abortion from all candidates - from all parties. It was heartening to see that, even in the midst of this unprecedented economic downturn, the response was hugely positive. In Donegal, where our pro-life volunteers braved torrential rain to go door-to-door, voters subsequently told reporters that abortion was now a major issue. That pattern was repeated right across the country, and candidates began to admit they were ‘inundated’ with queries about their stance on life issues.
Fianna Fáil canvassers told our volunteers in Rathfarnham that they “were hearing about the issue all day”. In Nass, Fine Gael said abortion had become a “hot issue” in the election. Labour supporters n Tallaght were furious that their position on abortion had been exposed, and on Twitter they fulminated that Youth Defence had orchestrated a “pro-life smear” against Labour resulting in “calls from people who believed that Labour wanted abortion on demand”.
The problem for Labour of course, was that it wasn’t a smear, and that pro-life people were very open about exposing Labour’s policy on abortion. As awareness grew, Labour’s support slipped, slipped and slipped some more. There are now rumours of internal rumblings within the party as furious rank and file members castigate Gilmore for being so open about his support for abortion.
This election - and the threat of abortion legislation - also united the pro-life movement, producing real, positive results. Former MEPs Dana Rosemary Scallon and Kathy Sinnott led more than 30 pro-life and cross community groups, including Youth Defence, Life Institute, Precious Life and SPUC, in a high-profile press conference which called on the parties to pledge they would ban abortion. Within days, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil had strengthened their policies on abortion, eager to court the pro-life vote.
Its true that both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have both left themselves wriggle room in their policies on abortion. And it’s also true that the international pro-abortion industry is pouring its resources into attacking Ireland’s pro-life laws. But they know that, whatever the result of the tomorrow’s vote, the pro-life movement is ready, united and determined.