DUBLIN, Ireland, November 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Defenders of life around the world, including anyone with Irish heritage, are being asked to submit their views supporting the country’s embattled Eighth Amendment to its extraordinary Citizens’ Assembly.
The Eighth Amendment of Ireland’s Constitution, which recognizes that unborn children have a right to life equal to that of the mother, is the first of five items on the agenda of the 99-person Citizens’ Assembly, the members of which were selected by a market research organization appointed by the newly-elected government to discuss several issues, including climate change and a housing shortage. With pressure from international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the Europe’s Human Rights Council, the government has deferred the divisive issue to the assembly.
“We want organizations and people from all over the world — especially those of Irish descent — to tell the Irish governmenthow dreadful it would be to see the protection that Ireland is well known for providing the unborn damaged in any way,” said Maria Madise, the international director for the London-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.
The Citizens’ Assembly, which met for the first time in October, is accepting submissions on “the Eighth” until December 16 at citizensassembly.ie and is slated to make its recommendations next June. The Dail — the Irish parliament — is expected to discuss the issues until December and then decide whether to hold a referendum on rewriting the amendment in the spring of 2018.
Niamh Ui Bhriain, head of Dublin’s Life Institute, says a referendum on the Eighth Amendment is almost a certainty. “The Citizens’ Assembly is a farce,” she told LifeSiteNews — or at least its consideration of the Eighth Amendment is. “Several cabinet ministers have already come out in favor of a referendum.”
Though the Assembly’s website only allows 500-word entries to be written on the page, it also invites downloads of larger documents. Madise and colleague Patrick Buckley would like copies of any submissions sent to them for the record at [email protected]> or [email protected].
“I am certain,” Madise said, “that Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and other George Soros-funded globalists will be making their submissions”
The Eighth Amendment, also known as Article 40.3.3, acknowledges the equal rights of the mother and unborn child. It did not allow abortion to save a woman’s life but did permit efforts to save the mother that unintentionally might lead to the child’s death.
After a Supreme Court decision, however, in the infamous X case, the European Court of Human Rights in its judgment on a later case known as the ABC case called for more clarity, leading to a 2013 law that permits abortion on the grounds of threatened suicide. “In the long term,” Madise said, “we must work to reinstate the amendment to the fullness of its original scope and overturn the pro-abortion legislation.”
Niamh Ui Bhriain told LifeSiteNews, “It’s absurd and horrifying that the members of this Citizens’ Assembly will be voting on which category of children will live and which will die. The right to life is fundamental. The Eighth Amendment merely acknowledges the right. It doesn’t give the right.”
She said her organization, the Life Institute, and Youth Defence, have been preparing for the referendum for a year. That’s when they began training volunteers for the “Life Canvas,” a plan to visit every home in Ireland. “So far we’ve knocked on 120,000,” she said. “There are 1.1 million in all.”
Knocking on doors reveals most Irish to be pro-life, she reports, “but they have questions.” Hopefully, by next spring, most will have answers. The campaign website is www.yestolifeireland.org.