DUBLIN, July 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Irish President today signed into law the bill that allows direct killing of unborn children, up to the point of full gestation, in cases where the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, including if she threatens suicide.
Pro-life activists have said that not only does the law violate the Constitution's protections for the unborn, but the suicide provision is wide open to abuse and could pave the way for effective abortion on demand. During government hearings into the bill psychiatric professionals had specifically denounced the suicide provision, saying abortion can never be considered treatment for mental illness.
While President Michael D. Higgins had the power to send the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act 2013 to the country’s Supreme Court to determine whether it violated the country’s constitutional guarantee of the right to life for the unborn, he chose instead to sign without a legal review.
This legislation was the final result of the Irish Supreme Court judgment in the 1992 X Case and the subsequent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C case. Pro-life advocates have vowed both to defeat the Fine Gael party, which formed a coalition government with the Labour Party, after promising during the campaign never to legislate for abortion.
Niamh Uí Bhriain of Dublin’s Life Institute, who was in the forefront of the fight against the bill, said that the immediate task is to launch a legal challenge to the law. She told LifeSiteNews.com that there are also plans afoot for a pro-life party.
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“The challenges that then face the pro-life movement include ensuring that a pro-life political alternative arises from this travesty, which has seen our government defy the media, ignore the medical experts and allow bullying and bribery to force passage of this legislation,” she said.
Rebecca Roughneen of Youth Defence wrote that the act has set a historical precedent for Ireland in establishing in law that “some of us are worth less than others; so much so that it is now within legality to deliberately destroy a human life … A tiny, helpless, voiceless life.”
She said the act is in violation not only of the Constitution, but of the Irish tradition of “cherishing the children of the nation equally” and opposing the death penalty.
“What happened to our country that rose from the ashes of an oppressed nation, which vowed to uphold the rights of and protect its citizens from those that sought to oppress them?”
Liam Gibson, the Belfast, Northern Ireland representative of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), told LSN that various groups, including SPUC, had predicted that this would be the outcome of the A,B&C decision. Legalization of abortion in the Republic, he said, is going to have repercussions throughout the island, and abroad. Among the avenues open to the pro-life movement now are the “serious doubts” about the act’s constitutionality.
But Gibson warned that the pro-life cause “will always be vulnerable while we place too much trust in the democratic process.”
“Abortion in Ireland could not have been legalised without the betrayal of politicians who, prior to being elected, pledged to protect the rights of unborn children. Of course those politicians must be held accountable at the next election but first pro-lifers must work to gradually win over the ordinary people in all walks of life who at present simply don't care.
“At the same time we need to organise resistance to the implementation of the new law especially by strengthening the resolve of medical personnel not to co-operate with the culture of death.”
Gibson also called for greater and more muscular resolve among some elements in the pro-life movement in Ireland. They “must remain resolute in defence of the right to life of every unborn child, without exception, without apology and even in hard cases.”
“Not every section of the movement is prepared to do this but anything less than this and Ireland could easily go the same way as Canada. That might seem unimaginable but what was unimaginable just five years ago has now happened.”
Pro-life people must not allow themselves to be “intimidated into silence by well-meaning colleagues who believe that the abortion debate must be carried out on terms acceptable to modern secularist culture”.