By editor - 09 June, 2013
The Government must stop misrepresenting its proposed abortion legislation as restrictive and face up to the dangers in its abortion plan, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Caroline Simons told the National Vigil for Life this afternoon.
The Vigil in Merrion Square was the largest ever pro-life demonstration in the country and one of the biggest gatherings so far this year, event organisers said, with well over 40,000 people in attendance.
“The turnout today shows that the middle ground of Irish opinion is increasingly concerned about the Government’s abortion legislation,” Ms Simons told the crowd. “There are people here who never attended a pro-life event before. The message is getting through that this legislation is not restrictive or about saving women and children’s lives, despite the repeated claims by the Taoiseach and his Government,” she said.
“It’s time for the spin to stop. The medical profession is radically divided over this because there is nothing evidence-based about the claim that abortion can be the right response to a suicide threat,” Ms Simons said.
People’s trust in politicians would “suffer badly the more it appears that the Government is giving false reassurances,” she added.
“It’s clear from who’s cheer-leading this bill what it’s really about,” she said, “and that’s abortion on request. This is inevitable, once a suicide threat is the basis for certifying an abortion.”
“There is still time for the Government to change its plans by focusing on guidelines instead of the legislation for the X case. This way, we can meet the requirements of the European court without opening the door to abortion,” she said.
“The absence of time-limits in the bill adds the possibility of further horrors with destructive late-terms abortions having to be permitted over time,” she said.
The Vigil also heard moving testimony from John McAreavey. “Other countries have made the mistake of legalising abortion and have unleashed a terrible sadness across their societies. Often it is a hidden sadness. Let’s not make that mistake in Ireland,” Mr McAreavey said in a recorded message.
The father of Mr McAreavey’s late wife, Mickey Harte, was present in the crowd.
The crowd heard from Adele Best of the organisation Women Hurt who described the pain and suffering that many women face as a result of abortion, but also the hope and healing that comes from helping others to choose a better path.
Other speakers to address the event were Jennifer Kehoe, Maria Steen and Íde Nic Mathúna.
The event organisers said they were especially pleased with the turnout because the National Vigil for Life was organised by the Pro Life Campaign alone, unlike the January Unite for Life vigil which was held by three different organisations jointly.
“Other pro-life organisations will have events in the coming weeks and we encourage the public to support them as well,” Ms Simons said.