Three years after repeal, here's 5 reasons I'm glad I voted No
By Niamh Uí Bhriain
We were told, weren’t we, that repealing the 8th would make this a better, more caring, more compassionate country – especially for women. Three years since the referendum that’s certainly not the case.
Last month, a heavily pregnant, homeless woman was beaten so savagely in Dublin city centre that she lost her baby. That pregnant women are homeless in Ireland in the first instance tells you all you need to know about the priorities of those in power who told us that abortion was the magic wand to solve women’s problems.
After the referendum had been won by using fear to bully voters into believing that abortion was needed to keep women safe, Simon Harris said this would be “a new era for women’s health ushered in by a prevailing spirit of solidarity, inclusivity and equality.”
Fine words. They weren’t, unfortunately, always matched by actions or by outcomes. Harris, in fact, took money from the National Maternity Strategy to pay for abortion. That Strategy was designed, in the wake of Savita Halappanvar’s death, to try to ensure that women were safe in pregnancy, and sought to address vitally important issues such as sepsis, staffing and more.
We now know that within months of the 8th being repealed two women died in Ireland’s maternity hospitals, in a country which, when the 8th was in place, had been described as one of the safest places in the world for a mother to have a baby.
Karen McEvoy from Kildare, died of sepsis after giving birth to a baby girl in the Coombe maternity hospital. Marie Downey from Limerick, who had given birth to a little boy, died in Cork University Maternity Hospital after suffering a severe epileptic seizure. She was trying to raise the alarm when she collapsed on the floor of her room, trapping her baby underneath her. Baby Darragh also died two days later, and was buried cradled in his mother’s arms. Just three nurses were on duty on the ward that night, caring for 31 patients. Like many other maternity hospitals, staff in CUMH have been complaining to the Minister for Health for years about the lack of resources.
Harris, probably the worst Minister for Health the country has seen, wasn’t asked any hard questions about these tragedies. The media was too busy admiring his endless tweets supporting abortion and, since the 8th wasn’t around any longer to blame, reporters didn’t seem that interested.
Of course, it’s difficult for the media (who were the most effective Yes campaigners over ten years or more) to acknowledge these realities, so they prefer to ignore the glaring contradictions in what was promised versus what actually happened for women after the 8th was repealed.
They ignore the following facts as well – but they are just five of the reasons I’m glad I voted No
1. The shocking rise in the number of abortions
Some 6,666 abortions took place in Ireland in 2019, the first year of the abortion regime – more than double the number of abortions which had been carried out on 2,879 women who travelled to Britain for the procedure in 2018. An unknown number of women, estimated by some at 1,000 or more, also took abortion pills in that year.
The appalling rise in the abortion rate in 2019 reversed almost a decade of decline in the number of abortions undergone by women living in Ireland. This massive upwards shift was predicted by pro-life activists during the 2018 referendum and strongly denied by abortion campaigners including members of government. We can see who was telling the truth now. So much for Leo Varadkar’s promise of abortion being ‘rare’.
2. Cruel late-term abortions are taking place
The recent, shocking revelations from a UCC study published in a peer-reviewed journal has confirmed that late-term abortions are happening in Ireland – something voters were promised would not happen. The method being used is feticide – where the baby is given a lethal injection of potassium chloride into the heart.
Potassium chloride is controversially used to execute prisoners on death row. As researcher Ruth Foley previously observed, in the US, it is considered so painful that the authorities in charge of executions consider it necessary to first give anaesthetic to avoid being inhumane to the prisoner being put to death. A recent article in the Washington Post confirmed that an injection of potassium chloride can cause such pain and suffering in adults being executed that both an anesthetic and a paralytic are administered prior to the lethal substance. The author, an associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, cautions that even these measures may only mask rather than prevent the “burning pain” of the administration of the poison.
There is no obligation to give babies undergoing late-term abortions in Ireland pain relief. I’m so glad I didn’t vote for that.
We also know that another study – also carried out by abortion-advocating medics – and published in April 2021, says senior Irish doctors were being trained internationally to carry out late-term dismemberment abortions, known as ‘Dilation and Evacuation’.
Most people will tell you they didn’t vote for that either. They were horribly deceived.
3. Women are being told to flush their baby’s body down the toilet
The HSE’s website tells women who have taken the abortion pill to flush their baby’s body “down the toilet”. The lack of compassion or human decency is staggering.
4. The deeply disturbing Holles Street case of abortion after misdiagnosis
Within three months of Harris’s legisaltion being passed a nightmare scenario arose for parents attending the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin. Their perfectly healthy 15-week baby boy was aborted in 2019 on the basis of a misdiagnosis in the hospital. The parents of the baby boy indicated they felt under pressure to abort their child, and were told not to wait for the result of a second test.
Two full years later they are facing obstacle after obstacle in relation to a full inquiry into the shocking case – from the same politicians who told us abortion was being introduced to help families. When parents in Every Life Counts repeatedly warned that parents would face this kind of pressure, and that babies with suspected serious disabilities would be targeted, they were shouted down or ignored. They have tragically been proved right.
5. If babies survive abortion, doctors are left “begging for help”.
The study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology by researchers from UCC also revealed that doctors in Ireland were left ‘begging for help’ if babies survived late-term abortions. It is both grotesque and almost unbelievable.
Repeal ushered in the opposite of compassion because real compassion doesn’t kill.
Incredibly, despite the horrifying outcomes in less than three years of the regime, abortion campaigners and their allies in the media are already banging a drum for even more abortion. They want the law widened so that more babies with disabilities can be aborted and they want to scrap the three day-waiting period which is estimated to have given almost 1,000 women space to think again about aborting their baby.
What kind of mindset is always seeking more abortions? Most people, even most Yes voters, don’t support late-term abortion, and would rather fewer abortions took place. Yet abortion campaigners posted that 6,666 abortions which took place in the first year were 6,666 reasons to celebrate. Most people will find that a revolting comment.
The only actual compassion being shown is from is from pro-life politicians who are seeking change with might offer a modicum of humanity such as pain relief in late-term abortions – and activists who work every day to help women and families choose a better option than abortion.
Three years later, I’m still glad I voted No. I always will be.