One of Ireland’s largest pro-life leaders is speaking out after the nation’s referendum legalizing abortion, alleging that “fake-news” is largely to credit for the results of the vote.
A “fake-news storm … shifted the majority of middle-ground voters towards repealing the 8th,” Niamh Uí Bhriain said in an interview with Charles Camosy following the referendum, the Crux reported Monday.
Bhriain was the chair of Ireland’s #Savethe8th campaign to preserve the country’s Eighth Amendment. He also founded the Youth Defence in 1986, an organization opposing the legalization of abortion.
Bhriain claimed that “without the fake-news storm [abortion advocates] built around the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar,” the referendum would likely have turned out quite differently, pointing also to a lack of media diversity in Ireland.
Bhriain’s comments about fake news refer to pro-choicers’ co-opting of Halappanavar’s death in their campaign to legalize abortion.
Abortion advocates claimed that her death was a result of her attempt to abort, and that women like her would not die if Ireland legalized abortion.
Medical evidence shows that Savita Halappanavar died of a sepsis infection she had contracted prior to her abortion.
Doctors ruled that Halappanavar died of sepsis and an E. coli infection, complicated by a miscarriage, according to The Irish Times.
Bhriain also pointed to Google searches to back his claims, pointing to 19,800 results that appeared for the terms “Savita, abortion” since 2013 and 66 results for the terms “Savita, sepsis.”
“The lie that Savita was killed by the 8th Amendment was repeated so often that it became deeply embedded in the public narrative, more deeply, perhaps, than we had realized, and this caused a shift in the mindset of middle Ireland,” Bhriain told Camosy.
Prior to the referendum, Ireland “was one of the safest places in the world to be pregnant,” Bhriain also noted, pointing to the nation’s low maternal mortality rates.
Bhriain’s statements come after Ireland voted May 26 to legalize abortion by repealing the Eight Amendment.
Women in Ireland can now abort their unborn babies until the third month in pregnancy. Between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, abortions will be permitted only in the presence of fetal abnormalities and where the mother’s life is threatened.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has also been facing mounting pressure to take executive action and legalize abortion in Northern Ireland where it remains illegal.
Ireland was one of the last European countries that banned abortion before its May referendum.
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