Save the 8th: Irish Pro-lifers Counter Pro-Abortion Media With Grassroots Action

"A real, proven example of why abortion is never necessary."

This image is taken from footage of the 2017 Rally for Life in Dublin, Ireland on July 1, 2017. The video was published on YouTube by The Rally for Life.

By Liberty McArtor Published on August 23, 2017

This is the second in a two-part series, featuring an interview with prominent Irish pro-life activist Niamh Ui Bhriain. She spoke with The Stream about the battle to preserve Ireland’s strong pro-life laws. Read the first installment here.

Ireland will decide next year whether to nix its Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which “acknowledges the right to life of the unborn.” The push for the referendum comes after a Citizens Assembly voted in favor of legalized abortion. But as Niamh Ui Bhriain told The Stream, those votes don’t reflect public opinion.

Another thing that doesn’t reflect public opinion on abortion? Irish media. Public support for abortion has grown in the past decade. Ui Bhriain says this is thanks to “funding from abroad.” But media support for abortion has always been strong, she said.

Ireland’s Life Institute, where Ui Bhriain writes, analyzed abortion bias in the country’s largest papers. The Irish Times, a leading publication, “showed 90 percent of relevant news articles were biased for abortion,” Ui Bhriain said.

The bias is evident in the media’s coverage of “half-truths,” she said. In March a story went viral about a young pregnant girl admitted to a mental health hospital. Many headlines claimed she was admitted because she asked for an abortion. According to the Child Care Law Reporting Project, the girl felt suicidal upon learning she was pregnant. She felt an abortion would help. But a psychiatrist determined abortion “was not the solution for all of the child’s problems.” She was later discharged at the recommendation of another doctor.

Women Aren’t Dying For Lack of Abortions

Another example often cited by pro-abortion media is the case of Savita Halappanavar. She requested an abortion in Ireland while miscarrying in 2012. She later died in the hospital of severe sepsis. The pro-abortion narrative claims that the Eight Amendment is to blame.

But there’s more to the story. Halappanavar miscarried due to an Ecoli ESBL infection. And her medical staff didn’t catch it until it was too late. If they had, “they would have been perfectly free under the law to give her any treatment required to save her life,” Ui Bhriain said. The Eighth Amendment allows termination if the mother’s life is at risk.

“Ireland’s experience shows that you could ban abortion and protect women’s lives.”

“Her tragic story was exploited … to insist that Irish women’s lives were in danger without abortion,” Ui Bhriain said. She noted that Ireland is among “the safest places in the world for a woman to have a baby.” A recent analysis of various world reports by Ireland’s The Journal confirms this.

“Several parliamentary inquiries have found that not one woman has lost her life in this country because of our ban on abortion,” Ui Bhriain said.

Grassroots Efforts to “Save the 8th”

Volunteers around the nation are working on a major collaboration campaign to “Save the 8th.” Through their efforts, they hope to counter the pro-abortion media and foreign funding.

Efforts include The Life Canvass, started in 2015. There are over 1 million households in Ireland. Ui Bhriain says they’ve reached 200,000 so far, going door-to-door to answer questions about abortion.

There’s also the annual Rally for Life. Last month, about 70,000 people gathered in Dublin to “Save the 8th.” Some counter protesters made an appearance but were “significantly outnumbered.”

The rally’s main speaker was Karen Gaffney, an American pro-life activist with Down syndrome.

“In my country, and in many countries all around the world, babies who may have Down syndrome are being wiped out before they can even take their first breath,” she said. In nations like France, Denmark, and the U.S., the majority of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. The Down syndrome abortion rate is 100 percent in Iceland.

“But not here, not today,” Gaffney said in Dublin.

“A Proven Example”

Youth Defence, “Ireland’s leading pro-life organization,” also pushed the “Save the 8th” theme on its annual roadshow in July. The group went to 15 cities around the nation to answer questions about abortion, the Eighth Amendment, health care for women, and more. They also joined with local volunteers to hand out educational materials. Four “mobile billboards” also followed the roadshow, highlighting the plight of unborn babies with Down syndrome.

“Ireland’s experience shows that you could ban abortion and protect women’s lives,” Ui Bhriain said. She believes there’s one main reason abortion advocates are so desperate to dump the Eighth Amendment. “They know pro-lifers the world over can look to Ireland as a real, proven example of why abortion is never necessary.”

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  • Rebecca

    Thanks for the insightful and truth filled examination of the pro-life movement in Ireland.

  • Rex Rhinesmith

    Thank you for this series, Liberty. Your contributions at The Stream are a joy.

  • John

    Thank you. May Ireland’s light shine ever brighter and help turn the tide.


    Pro-lifers everywhere need to join hands, sharing the truth and confronting the lies. THanks so much for this encouraging news. Our prayers are with Ireland!

  • Stephen D

    Ah yes, the Citizens Assembly. Ever since the French Revolution, the word “citizen” has had sinister overtones. It was the assemblies of “citizens” that created and conducted over a period of years the slaughterhouse in which their opponents were guillotined at the rate of one per minute. There is a big problem in any nation when the restraint of traditional moral standards is cast off in favour whatever the “citizens” feel like today. Read Psalm 2 replacing the word “kings” with the word “citizens” and you will get the picture. No country that defies God will avoid justice in the end.

  • The lies of the pro-abortion crowd are outrageous and stunning. But if you support the killing of the innocent then what’s another sin to get your way? I hope the pro-abortion politicians pay a heavy price. Ireland I’m praying for you.

    • Faith of Our Fathers

      Manny unfortunately Ireland where many Martrys will be turning in their graves for Fighting for a Land that has now completely sold the Jerseys. Abortion without doubt will become Legal . The Homosexual Prime Minister is meeting right now with the Deviant Canadian Trudea . Are they talking Politics no there talking what they both want more than any other trade agreement except for Guinness and that’s Abortion. As this Article says the Media ( still corrupted by the Satanic Soros ) will sway this vote in his Masters Favour. Also do not expect this to be a fair fight or Vote,Ireland in this instance will loose the only piece of Dignity it has left .

      • Well I said “I hope,”. I’m not as optimistic as some of the other people here. May we be proven wrong. God be with you and Ireland.

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