Pro-lifers march in Dublin ahead of crucial vote

What happened?

Tens of thousands of pro-lifers have marched in the streets of Dublin as Ireland prepares for a referendum in May which could sweep away laws protecting the unborn child. The organisers of the Rally for Life claim that 100,000 people joined the demonstration. One speaker, GP Judy Ceannt, told the marchers: “We are not meant to intentionally kill or harm any patient, least of all the most helpless, the unborn baby. The government has no right to impose this on us.”

What pro-lifers said

In his speech, campaigner Declan Ganley characterised the current debate as “a battle between the people and the powerful – with the political elites and the taxpayer-funded lobby groups on one side, and the ordinary people on the other”. Ganley said there had been a “relentless drumbeat for abortion from the media and people in cushy taxpayer-funded lobby groups”.

In a pastoral letter, Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam said that “Abortion is a deliberate taking of a human life” and that many pro-abortion arguments tried to “confuse” the question. If Ireland’s constitutional protections were undone, he said, even if only for “hard” cases, Ireland would go down the road of England and Wales “where one in five pregnancies ends in abortion every year”.

What the media said

in the Irish Times, Louise Roseingrave observed that the turnout had “exceeded organisers’ expectations”, and that the pro-life movement had been galvanised by a recent Supreme Court judgment. The court said last week that, apart from the Eighth Amendment which could be repealed in the referendum, the unborn child had no constitutional protection.

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