Ireland's record-breaking Rally for Life proves that the fight-back to save the 8th is truly underway
On Saturday March 10th, around 100,000 people rallied for life in Dublin and the retention of the eighth amendment. Precious Life's Maria Maynes writes about a truly momentous, historic day for Ireland.
March 10th 2018 will be remembered as one of the most momentous, uplifting and historic days for the flourishing pro-life movement in Ireland. Saturday, March 10th, 2018, will be recognised not only now, but in years to come, as the day the people of the Irish Nation rose up in their masses and stood unwavering and unstifled against the corrupt, cruel and extreme abortion lobby. The atmosphere was electric and the crowds incomprehensible. March 10th 2018 was truly an empowering, joyous and pivotal day for the unborn babies and mothers of Ireland in threat of abortion.
Ireland's abortion laws are progressive, modern and compassionate. This is no secret – the eighth amendment has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Despite a sustained and ferocious attack from media giants and unyielding UN committees, the vast majority of the Irish people recognize and appreciate that the eighth saves lives. Our pro-life laws recognise with clarity the scientific truth that the preborn baby is an individual human being, and acknowledge the mounting evidence that abortion hurts women. The silent majority in Ireland want to celebrate the eighth and support a pro-life ethos – Most decent, normal people want to protect babies from the slaughter of abortion and save families from years of grief, hurt and prolonged heartache. March 10th made this silent majority vocal. The day was electric, and the incredible turnout and total lack of opposition instilled within us a real hope that the eighth can and will be saved.
Witnessing at least 100,000 people take to the streets in support of the retention of our incredible life-saving eighth amendment was nothing short of breath-taking. For such a small country, the turnout was extraordinary. This colourful, explosive and joyous celebration of life stood in the starkest contrast to the vitriol, vulgarity and contempt from the Repeal side all too evident at their own marches, of course totally incomparable in scale.
Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life was amongst a line-up of powerful speakers who roused the crowds as the 100,000 strong rally made its way to Merrion Square. She spoke of the choice that has been given to the Irish people and called on Ireland to recognise the choice to choose life and overwhelmingly reject the death and destruction of abortion, quoting Deuteronomy 30:19:
"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live." She told the massive crowd: "Today we choose life. Today, we join people power to God's power. Today, the new civil rights movement of the 21st century is born. Today, the pro-life Revolution begins."
"This is a revolution that will not rest until every child threatened by abortion is protected and our laws are used to save life not end it. Decisions are made by those who turn up for the battle. Thank you for turning up to do battle for the little ones."
"Today I say it loud and clear that we must declare that God is bigger than the battle we fight," Bernadette reminded those gathered.
Faith in God and the importance of relying on prayer and Divine Providence was a consistent thread running through her speech. After all, we are in a spiritual battle and we must remember this. We are in the midst of a war between the powers of Heaven and the armies of Hell, and our awareness of this is ultimately crucial. She told the people: "For many of us here today, it is our faith that sustains us and keeps us strong." She also reminded them of the incredible long-term work that has been done by so many in Northern Ireland who have prevented the evil and brutality of abortion from becoming legal here amidst threat after threat. For instance, back in October 2008, the Westminster government had planned to extend the epitome of evil; the 1967 abortion act to Northern Ireland, an act that has brutally taken the lives of nearly 9 million little British children.
"At that time, abortion was literally staring us right in the face. In fact, the media and their pro-abortion cohorts boasted that abortion would be legalised that very year." "But," she went on, "because we stood up and said no to abortion, and because we prayed hard, this threat was miraculously averted. We must always remember that with God on our side we will always have victory."
Niamh Ui Bhrian, leader of the Life Institute, was also rousing. “The Sleeping Giant is finally awake," she boldly proclaimed. She asked the people of Ireland to “stand in the gap” for mothers and babies by preventing the liberalisation of our abortion laws. She reminded those gathered that there were a mere 10 weeks left to save the Amendment, which gives an equal right to life to the unborn and the mother.
“Ten weeks to ensure that the best of Irish people vote ‘No’ to abortion,” she said. “Stand in the gap against the media and the international elites who think they could browbeat and bribe the Irish people into accepting the unacceptable, the killing of our own children, but who are to discover in that assumption that they were totally and utterly wrong. Because we know that in repealing the right to life there is no going back."
“Pro-choice actually means telling women they are on their own. And it’s easy to be pro-choice, isn’t it, when you are not the one being chosen.”
22 year-old Charlie Fien, an outspoken English Down Syndrome activist, also gave an impassioned plea to those gathered, urging Ireland not to make the same grave mistake as her home country. In an emotionally charged and mesmerising address, Charlie spoke about what was at stake for babies in the womb with disabilities if abortion was to become legal in Ireland.
"Ireland is one of the only countries in the world where babies with Down's syndrome are safe in their mother's womb." She reminded the crowd of the heart-breaking reality of eugenic discrimination made possible by abortion law, and spoke of the 90% of babies diagnosed with Down's Syndrome who are routinely aborted in Britain. Charlie is an incredible advocate for those with disabilities, and has previously addressed the UN. Her impassioned plea to the United Nations in March 2017 gained major traction, and many praised her for so fearlessly speaking out against the targeted killing of children diagnosed with Down syndrome before birth.
“I am not suffering,” Ms. Fien told the UN body in Geneva. “I am not ill. None of my friends who have Down’s syndrome are suffering either. We live happy lives.”
“We just have an extra chromosome,” she added. “We are still human beings. We are not monsters. Don’t be afraid of us. … Please don’t try to kill us all off,” Charlie told the UN. Her address received a standing ovation from UN delegates.
In his address to the rally, businessman and former European elections candidate Declan Ganley described the numbers that marched across the city as “phenomenal”. This is the grassroots of the movement, marching because they are proud of their country. Ireland has been a beacon of light to the rest of the world with the most progressive Constitution in the world with the protection of the unborn,” he said. “This is the future. We abolished slavery and we will abolish abortion as one of the greatest con-jobs in the history of humanity.”
Another powerful voice was that of Bernadette Goulding, Director of Rachel's Vineyard, a prominent post-abortion healing retreat which aids the recovery of thousands of women who have suffered the devastating after effects of having one or more abortions. Bernadette herself had an abortion earlier in her life, and her words on her own heart-breaking experience touched the crowd enormously. She told those gathered, "You cannot rip a baby from her mother’s womb without destroying the mother, destroying her maternity and destroying her life."
Overall, the Save the 8th Rally was a resounding success and provided the ammunition to keep the pro-life people of Ireland waged in a life or death battle until the referendum taking place in May. It served to reignite our belief as a country that the eighth is precious, priceless, and sets us apart as a truly compassionate, humane and progressive Nation.
As Bernadette Smyth told us, "By being here today, you have chosen life. Today, we join people power to God's power. Today, the new civil rights movement of the 21st century is born. Today, the pro-life Revolution begins." This quote illuminates the reality facing us - we kneel to nobody but God alone, and with truth, life and love on our side, this is a battle we can only win.