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It is ironic that while Ireland settles its collective conscience to make abortion culturally acceptable and normative, a country that introduced abortion almost 50 years ago is erupting again in controversy over the issue. After nearly 50 years of trying, the moral problems around the abortion have not gone away.

In recent weeks, the US supreme court heard oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson, the Mississippi case that challenges Roe v. Wade by arguing that abortion after 15 weeks is unconstitutional.

If the Supreme Court sides with Mississippi, it will effectively overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalised abortion in the United States.

It was a very historic week for members of the pro-life movement in the US who have campaigned for close to 50 years to bring about a situation where the rights of unborn babies could once again be protected. There was a huge pro-life presence outside the court on Wednesday and hope was palpable that a positive outcome in the case is possible, after such a long wait and fight for justice. Outside the court, representatives of the pro-life movement talked about how Roe v. Wade had hurt women and did nothing to empower them.

Here in Ireland, the upcoming three year review since abortion was legalized here has met with calls from the Labour party and Sinn Fein to widen the availability of abortion for whatever reason beyond 12 weeks and to liberalise legislation even further.

In response, the Pro-Life campaign has pointed out that 13,243 abortions took place in the first two years of the new law coming into force. It represents a shocking 70+% increase in abortions in that short space of time. There are fears that the three year review report will not acknowledge the tragedy of these statistics. A spokesperson for the Pro-Life campaign said that: “The one-sided approach adopted by the Minister of Health would leave one to believe that the three year review will be a cold house for those who hold a pro-life viewpoint and who represent a sizable portion of the electorate. The Minister cannot simply ignore the experiences and views of those with different perspectives on abortion. The Minister must take immediate steps to address these issues or else the entire process will lack all credibility.

Meanwhile this week, the Foetal Pain Relief Bill 2021, introduced by Carol Nolan TD and co-sponsored by ten other deputies, moved to Second Stage in the Dáil, where it was debated and voted on during Private Members time.

It is incredible that such a Bill needs to be debated in the first place – that we need to posture and delay the pain relief of unborn children before they die. It’s important to recall that the Dáil passed legislation in 2013 obligating vets to administer pain relief to animals before any procedure takes place that may cause an animal suffering or distress. It is an affront to human decency that babies about to be aborted are treated less humanely than animals.

Scientific evidence clearly shows that unborn babies feel pain, with the most recent research suggesting it occurs much earlier than 20 weeks. Under Ireland’s current abortion law, there is no requirement on those performing abortions to give precautionary pain relief to an unborn baby, despite the fact that the law permits late-term abortions in certain circumstances.

Many of the TD’s who voted to approve this Bill spoke to GRIPT and the video is shown below.

At the start of a week when we celebrate the birth of a child, let’s consider the mercy owed to so many who have no voice.



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