Pro-lifers claim irregularities in Ireland abortion vote, plan legal challenge
DUBLIN, June 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The results of Ireland’s May 26 referendum that repealed the pro-life Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution are being challenged in the country’s High Court.
The pro-abortion “Yes” side won with 66.5% of the vote.
The first challenger, Joanna Jordan of Dublin, has complained that large numbers of potential “No” voters were allegedly deregistered and therefore blocked from casting their ballots.
In addition, she questioned the unexplained boost to the “Yes” side. Before the day of the referendum, polls indicated that the victory might go to either side. However, the exit polls and the ultimate tally showed that two-thirds of voters voted “Yes”, an unexpected landslide for the pro-abortion side.
Jordan stated that “evidence is coming in of large numbers of potential No voters who were unable to vote due to de-registering.” These included convents of nuns and residents of nursing homes.
She also alleged that “thousands of young Irish citizens who were paid to return to vote” were not questioned at polling stations about their time of residency abroad.
Having canvassed for a “No” vote for over 17 weeks, Jordan said most people were inclined towards voting “Yes” until early May when opinions shifted towards the “No” side. This trend continued until May 24, when, she believed, there was only a 2.6% difference in the polls between the two sides.
“Within 24 hours, the result showed an increase of 20 per cent,” she wrote. “Such a swing is not possible.”
Charles Byrne of Drogheda also complained that many potential No voters, including Poor Claire communities, found their names absent from the register. He alleged that some voters received two polls, that non-citizens had voted, and that in some places ballots for over 100% of eligible voters were counted.
In addition, Byrne objected to the Referendum Commission’s information campaign, saying that it had misrepresented the nature, bounds and likely results of the repeal. He accused the pro-abortion Taoiseach (Prime Minister or “Chief”) and the Minister of Health of having misinformed the public. He said that Taoiseach and other pro-abortion politicians had falsely stated that the Eighth Amendment, which protects the lives of both mothers and their unborn children, endangered women’s lives. Such statements must have undermined the credibility of No campaigners arguing the opposite.
Abortion is permitted in Ireland when the baby is directly endangering the physical health or life of his or her mother. The Eighth Amendment declared that both mother and baby had an “equal” right to life. It stated: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn, and with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
Ireland has one of the lowest rates of maternal death in the world. Between 1985-2015, the Republic’s maternal mortality rate (MMR) was 9. In contrast, the United Kingdom, which has liberal abortion laws, had an MMR of 11. There is no evidence that the Eighth Amendment threatened women’s lives.
Ciaran Tracey of Leitrim also complained that the Referendum Commission campaign had misled voters. He also alleged that it had committed a serious omission when it neglected to refer to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the “D v. Ireland” case. In that battle, an Irishwoman who traveled to Northern Ireland to abort a child with severe disabilities asked the ECHR’s help in making such fetal abnormalities grounds for abortion in the Irish Republic. Her case was dismissed. Tracey believes that omitting the details of that case was crucial in determining the final “Yes” result.
He stated also that the “Yes” campaign had “played upon” Irish citizen’s natural compassion for women pregnant with severely disabled children.
The petitions will be brought before Mr Justice Peter Kelly on Monday, June 11.