By Susan Gately - 14 October, 2016
The Citizens’ Assembly on the Eighth Amendment (concerning abortion) sits for the first time tomorrow, 15 October 2016.
Speaking in advance of the Assembly, the Pro Life Campaign (PLC) said it would be happy to make a submission or other contribution to the process, but had not so far been asked. “At the same time, that doesn’t mean that we consider this to be anything other than a pretend process with a prearranged outcome which is to pave the way to a referendum to dismantle the Eighth Amendment,” Cora Sherlock, PLC spokesperson, told CatholicIreland.net.
She added that the PLC planned to launch new initiatives during the Citizens’ Assembly, “all with a view to ensuring that the public hears about all of the lives saved by the Eighth Amendment, and also so that they are not kept in the dark about what abortion means for women and unborn babies.”
The PLC was heartened last weekend by a record attendance at its national conference. Over 800 people packed out the Concert Hall in Dublin’s RDS. It was “by far the largest attendance in the ten year history of the event and higher than what was anticipated on the day,” according to the organisers.
Keynote speaker, film producer Ann McElhinney, spoke about her soon to be released film, ‘Gosnell: America’s Biggest Serial Killer’, telling the story of convicted abortionist, Dr Kermit Gosnell, who was described by ABC News as America’s biggest serial killer. The Los Angeles producer, who was born in Bundoran, told the crowd in the RDS that “what you don’t know will hurt you. A lot of people in Ireland are debating this subject with very little information. People need to know about facts.”
She went on: “I was very disinterested and neutral on the whole subject of abortion but the Gosnell case really opened my eyes. I’m a grown woman and I was profoundly shocked at what I learned about the methods abortionists use.”
In order for the jury to understand the Gosnell case, she said they had to get doctors who performed legal abortions to give evidence at the trial. According to Ms McElhinney, their testimony was among the most shocking heard. “It’s very difficult to distinguish between what Gosnell did illegally outside the womb and what is allowed to take place legally within the womb,” she said.
Cora Sherlock told the conference that it was a real tragedy that the business of the Citizens’ Assembly was “not about expanding human rights but about taking them away from the most vulnerable and defenceless members of our society. The numbers here today however are extremely heartening and if we work together we will … preserve the Eighth Amendment. I am very confident this can be achieved.”
Referring to the abortion debate in Ireland at present, she said, “we seem to talk about everything except what actually happens during the abortion. We need to be honest about why this is so. I am not advocating the use of very graphic language or images to illustrate what goes on but likewise it is wrong when a spiral of silence exists around the true horror of what abortion involves.”
She said the Kermit Gosnell trial “showed that when ordinary people were confronted with the truth of what happens in perfectly legal abortions, they were horrified at what is permitted in the name of ‘choice’.”
Ms Sherlock continued: “The reality is that if the right to life was taken away from, say, a terminally ill unborn child, it would only be a matter of time before the grounds for abortion would be expanded. It is a nonsense to talk of ‘restrictive abortion.’ There is no such thing.”