Irish voters have turned back an effort that would have kept Ireland’s ban on abortions in place, but a pro-life leader said the fight for life will not be abandoned.
As reported by The U.K. Independent, unofficial results show that about 68 percent of Irish voters supported an end to the ban, while about 32 percent wanted to keep it in place. The vote took place Friday, with final results expected later Saturday.
The eighth amendment to the Irish constitution, adopted in 1983, required that the lives of a mother and baby be on equal footing, which served as a de facto ban on abortions.
The 8th did not create an unborn child's right to life – it merely acknowledged it. The right exists, independent of what a majority says. That said, with a result of that magnitude, clearly there was very little to be done. Thank you to every NO voter and campaigner. #8thref
— John McGuirk (@john_mcguirk) May 25, 2018
Now that the amendment has been scrapped, Irish legislators can approve proposals allowing abortion in Ireland.
According to The U.K. Guardian, Katherine Zappone, Ireland’s minister for children and youth affairs, said the legislation could pass Ireland’s parliament and be in place by the end of this year.
The government wanted to see the abortion ban defeated. Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, framed the victory for abortion backers as the “culmination of a quiet revolution in Ireland.”
“We will have a modern constitution for a modern country,” he said.
One voter who supported ending the ban suggested the vote was also a sign of disaffection with the Catholic Church, which long dominated Ireland and strongly opposes abortion.
“It’s an important day for Ireland. I think it’s a very Irish thing. It isn’t the Church anymore that’s dictating to us. I think it’s a moral thing for the Irish (to decide). It’s not a Catholic thing anymore,” said Jerry Moynihan of Killarney, according to CNN.
But those who lost said they will oppose the legislation.
“The unborn child no longer has a right to life recognized by the Irish state,” said pro-life spokesman John McGuirk.
“Shortly, legislation will be introduced that will allow babies to be killed in our country. We will oppose that legislation,” McGuirk said. “If and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland … we will oppose that as well,” he said.
“Every time an unborn child has his or her life ended in Ireland, we will oppose that, and make our voices known,” he added.
In a comment on his Facebook page, McGuirk said those exulting in victory may yet change their tune.
“I fear that over the coming years, more and more women and their families will sadly learn that it was never the journey that was lonely, but the decision, and that it was not the country that is cruel, but the decision,” he wrote.
“Thank you all, so much, for your work and your friendship. Today will be a hard and difficult day, but hold your heads high. It is never wrong to speak up for what you believe in. It is wrong to stay silent, and especially wrong to stay silent when the crowd is totally against you. I will never stay silent. I hope the rest of you will join me,” he wrote. “If you voted no, be proud, and defiant. Now is the time when your voice is needed more than ever.”
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