Next Tuesday, 25th May, marks the third anniversary of the repeal of the 8th amendment from the Irish Constitution. At the time the result was celebrated as a progressive step forward and another step away from Ireland's conservative past. But as people from the pro-Life campaign argued at the time, the serious moral problems around this issue simply won't go away. For example, in the first full year since abortion was legalised by the majority of the Irish people, it was revealed that the numbers of unborn who died from abortion had increased significantly - up from just under 4,000 per year pre-repeal, to over 7,000, including those abortions carried out overseas by families with an Irish addresses. This large increase was met with silence by the vast majority of politicians and media.
Another issue that has been met with silence and a stubborn refusal to even acknowledge the issue, has been the recently introduced Bill to given pain relief to unborn children about to be aborted.
“This is about compassion” says Carol Nolan TD who is supported by only 11 other TDs.
We have become deceptively selective on what we should become outraged about. It is not popular or politically correct to highlight these and other issues around the abortion industry.
Next Tuesday, the vast majority of media and politicians will highlight the repeal of the 8th Amendment as a positive step. The issue of abortion remains a complex, moral and sensitive topic. No one doubts that. But someone needs to raise their voice about issues of justice, even if they do not receive the support they deserve. It's not just the screams we hear that we need to be concerned about but those who make them in the hope that someone is listening.
Fr Billy Swan
In the video below, Maria Steen reflects on the referendum and its aftermath