In Ui Bhriain’s view, Irish voters might be having second thoughts.
“Many reluctant ‘yes’ voters are appalled to see that they were not told the truth in the referendum, and that the number of abortions is expected to treble to 10,000 per year,” she said in a statement. “That’s why one of the most important tasks ahead of the pro-life movement is to subject this abortion regime to endless scrutiny, and to keep the path lit until we can repeal the 36th [Amendment].”
She suggested that cultural change, demographic change and falling birthrates could mean “the future belongs to those who do not abort their children, but who welcome and cherish every child. Change may come sooner than we imagine.”
Political leaders also spoke at the rally.
Carol Nolan, a deputy to the Dáil from County Offaly, said politicians “do not represent the views of many of us here today nor do they want to.”
Nolan resigned from the Sinn Féin political party in 2018 because of its pro-abortion rights stance. She said she would like to see more pro-life women in the Dáil, the lower house of the Irish parliament.
Also at the rally was Peadar Toibin, a deputy to the Dáil from County Meath who was suspended from Sinn Fein twice for breaking with the party platform on legalized abortion. He resigned from his former party and then launched the Aontú party earlier this year. He planned to launch the party in part to provide a voice to the 34% of Irish voters who opposed repeal and to ensure they are not marginalized, he told reporters in November 2018.
Toibin has helped to publicize the cause of parents who say they aborted following doctors’ advice that the baby had a fatal abnormality—but after the abortion tests showed the baby was healthy, the Irish Catholic reports. The family has said the abortion might have been illegal because a second doctor did not examine the pregnant woman.
Medical professionals also spoke against the abortion law at the rally.
Dr. Trevor Hayes, a consultant obstetrician/gynecologist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny, is among three consultant colleagues at the hospital who have told management they would not perform abortions at the hospital.
He told the rally that abortion is “a procedure that helps no one and takes the life of the child,” the Irish news site Kilkenny Now reports.
(Story continues below)
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“Abortion is not life-saving, it’s life-ending. It’s not health care, and no amount of spin can make it health care,” he said.
Like many rally attendees, he was critical of Minister for Health Simon Harris. Hayes charged that he is “obsessing with abortion” and is “trying to bully good men and women to get involved in their abortion against their conscience.”
Continued pressure to back abortion would force doctors, nurses and other medical professionals out of medicine and add to “the staffing crisis already crippling the health service,” Hayes predicted.
Northern Ireland’s law against abortion is now in the crosshairs of abortion advocates. As soon as the Irish referendum succeeded, their cry was “The North is Next.”
This led to the pro-life rejoinder “The North Protects.”
The political division of Ireland means that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. However, powers to legislate on abortion are devolved to the local parliament in Stormont.