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One more week to save the 8th

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With the Irish referendum on abortion only a week away, Regan King takes a look at where things are at in the campaign to save the 8th Amendment and consequently protect mothers and pre-born babies. 

On 25 May, Irish voters will flock to local polling stations to cast their vote on whether to keep Ireland’s pro-life laws. Embodied in the Irish Constitution’s 8th Amendment, presented in 1982:

“The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

Referendum ‘too close to call’

The law as it stands was nationally approved with a large majority of 66.90% in 1983, but the new referendum will give the nation the choice of repealing or saving the 8th Amendment.  With the lives of women and children at risk should such a repeal be approved, pro-life groups have been actively engaging the nation through whatever means possible to keep the life loving laws of the nation intact. 

Polls initially showed significant favour toward repealing the 8th Amendment, but as the day has drawn closer, momentum seems to be shifting toward those desiring to retain protections for women and pre-born children. The common consensus is that it is currently too close to call.

Pro-life ad blackout

With such a shift in momentum, there is of course increased pressure and opposition against Ireland’s “Save the 8th” campaign and its devotees. Significantly troubling is the total blackout on social media advertising in the lead-up to the referendum campaign. With most mainstream media organisations biased toward repealing the current law, pro-life groups have relied heavily on Facebook, Google, and YouTube advertising to get their message out. In a troubling transgression against free speech, however, Google announced that they are no longer allowing ads related to the referendum on its platforms (including YouTube). This followed a similar announcement in which Facebook indicated it is banning foreign-funded ads in the campaign.

This news was greeted by most repeal campaigners with glee as it certainly has not hurt their own cause. Nevertheless, it has also made some generally pro-abortion outlets uneasy, the Irish Times expressing suspicion of these actions, as of yet unexplained, calling into question the fairness of the blackout.

With calls for people to return to Ireland for the vote, one University, University of Sussex, has even offered grants to pay for people to return to help repeal the 8th Amendment.

‘Save the 8th’ campaigners persevere

These actions have not deterred the “Save the 8th”campaign who have run an efficient and well organised campaign, mobilising an army of prolife volunteers. Even in London, Irish expats have come together to show their support for retaining the current law, with a strong and visible Irish contingent at this year’s March for Life UK as a public rally organised by London United Irish for near Tower Bridge on 18 May. With only a week to go and given the social media blackout , pro-life efforts will be increased all the more in a bid to convince those still undecided in how they will vote.

Please pray that Ireland will not make the same mistake Britain has made and start making allowances for abortions. It would truly be a disastrous course to follow.