Save the 8th: Irish Pro-Lifers Battle Biased Citizens’ Assembly, George Soros

By Liberty McArtor Published on August 17, 2017

Abortion is illegal in Ireland — for now.  

The Irish constitution’s Eighth Amendment was adopted in 1983 and expanded in 1992. It “acknowledges the right to life of the unborn.” Abortion is only legal if necessary to save the mother’s life. 

Because of this, Ireland has long been a pro-life lighthouse. It’s the movement’s “jewel in the crown,” according to one abortion attorney. A jewel that abortion advocates are eager to pluck.

Right now, they’re within arms length. In June a Citizens’ Assembly recommended repealing or replacing the Eighth Amendment. The Irish people will decide whether that becomes reality next year. Niamh Ui Bhriain, prominent Irish pro-life activist, doesn’t think it will. She spoke with The Stream about the bias at the Citizens’ Assembly — and how foreign funds are giving pro-abortion advocates a leg up.

Citizens’ Assembly Doesn’t Mirror Public

The Citizens’ Assembly includes 99 randomly selected citizens. Their purpose is to review certain issues, then recommend actions to Parliament. In April, they voted in favor of legalizing abortion. As reported by Politico, 64 percent support abortion without restriction. Of that group, 48 percent support abortion without restriction up to 12 weeks. Forty-four percent support it without restriction up to 22 weeks. Only 8 percent support abortion for any reason at any time. 

But those numbers don’t reflect public opinion, some say. Irish Times political editor Pat Leahy predicted that legalization of abortion is likely. But he doesn’t think it will be that drastic.

“It wasn’t designed to be representative of people’s views on abortion,” he writes of the assembly. “If it was, there would have to be 1,000 members, not 100.” According to Leahy, a majority of Irish citizens support abortion. But they don’t support it without restriction. Most support it only in cases of risk to the mother’s health, rape, or fetal abnormalities that may lead to death.

“The pro-life majority, come the referendum, will turn from this abortion extremism to Save the 8th.”

“Asked simply if abortion should be available on request, two-thirds (67 per cent) say no,” he writes.

Ui Bhriain dug into the alleged bias of the assembly. “Senior Government ministers talked up a referendum to legalize abortion as the only outcome,” she told The Stream. She said abortionists were presented as “impartial experts.”

Ui Bhriain also reports that the final day of voting was “chaotic.” Certain grounds for making abortion legal got added to the vote roster at the last minute. But they weren’t subjected to “serious discussion.” She notes that only 88 of the 99 members ended up voting.

“Let the Assembly say what it may,” she wrote in May. “The pro-life majority, come the referendum, will turn from this abortion extremism to Save the 8th.”

Why the Big Push for Abortion?

A referendum on the Eighth Amendment may come as early as next spring. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who took office in June, pledged to make it a priority. It was originally planned for next summer. But abortion advocates complained that students would be away then. College students are an important part of the pro-abortion movement in Ireland. That could be thanks to the traction pro-abortion groups have gained in the last 10 years. Why the quick traction? An “influx of foreign funds,”  Ui Bhriain says.

Last year, leaked an alleged three-year strategy from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. The documents revealed that the group was giving money to pro-abortion organizations: the Abortion Rights Campaign, Amnesty International Ireland, and the Irish Family Planning Association. The funds were to support “a campaign to repeal Ireland’s constitutional amendment.”

Receiving foreign money for political campaigns is illegal in Ireland. So Ireland’s Standards in Public Office investigated. Only the Abortions Rights Campaign was forced to return the money.

More Foreign Funding for Pro-Abortion Groups

Open Society Foundations isn’t the only group funding the Irish pro-abortion campaign. The Atlantic Philanthropies is also shelling out millions. The grant foundation of Irish-American billionaire Chuck Feeney has given over $10 million to the pro-abortion Irish Council for Civil Liberties since 1998. The foundation has given over $5 million to Amnesty International Ireland since 1997. And the National Women’s Council of Ireland has received over $2 million from Atlantic since 1996. 

Ten years ago, the pro-abortion cause had “very little support from the public,” Ui Bhriain said. But foreign donations have “changed that dramatically.”

“Who needs crowdfunding when you have George Soros in your corner?”

“Without this funding from abroad, abortion campaigners would not raise large sums from the public,” she said. 

As an example, she pointed to the Abortion Rights Campaign. After returning Soros’ funds, the ARC used GoFundMe for a roadshow promoting abortion. “After two months of fundraising they have barely made 25 percent of their goal,” Ui Bhriain told The Stream. The fundraising page lists 10,000 euros as its goal for the project, but has only raised about 2,500 euros.

“Then again, who needs crowdfunding when you have George Soros in your corner?” Ui Bhriain said.


Check back with The Stream for the next part of Ui Bhriain’s interview. Part II will examine the pro-abortion bias in Irish media, and how pro-lifers are fighting back.

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