The abortion referendum in Ireland has been making headlines for weeks, and will continue to do so until it comes up for a vote in May. Pro-life Americans may have seen the headlines and wondered two things: “What is this vote all about, and should I care?”
The answer to, “Should I care?” is a resounding YES when the details of Ireland’s abortion ban are examined.
What is Ireland’s 8th Amendment?
The 8th Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland was adopted in 1983 and recognizes the equal right to life for both born and unborn children. This amendment was adopted after the collection of a referendum vote, and a great majority of those who voted in the referendum voted in favor. It officially became law under the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Act 1983, which was signed into law on October 7th, 1983.
Even with the current ban, abortions in rare cases that typically revolve around the health of the mother were legalized in 2012.
What is the referendum in May all about?
Just like the original amendment was adopted via a referendum vote, the upcoming referendum in May will determine whether or not the constitutional ban on abortion remains in place. If passed, the new version of the law would allow fairly unrestricted abortions up to the twelfth week of pregnancy. Polling hints that 50 percent of the citizenry would support a repeal of the abortion ban.
How does this apply to Americans?
American pro-lifers cannot simply ignore what is going on in Ireland. The fact that such a ban on abortions has been maintained for over 30 years is no small feat, and the upcoming referendum is a direct threat to continued protection of unborn life. Even though we may be in a different country, American pro-lifers can assist in keeping the 8th Amendment in place in varying ways.
Americans can help campaign for life via letter writing and phone banking from the states, or even, if able, by flying to Ireland and campaigning on the ground for a period of time. Americans can also help contribute financially and assist in funding Irish campaign efforts. Finally, if religious, Americans can pray and seek divine assistance in the protection of life.
If nothing else, American pro-lifers should be inspired by the efforts of our Irish counterparts. They have been fighting the good fight for life for decades, and countless babies have been protected because of it. We should learn from them, and fight just as hard for life in the states.
Photo credit: William Murphy via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0