Five years ago, on this day, the celebrations were in full swing at Dublin Castle, after Ireland voted overwhelmingly across 11 constituencies to say ‘yes’ to abortion, removing in its entirety our country’s constitutional ban on abortion.
Looking back at the glee and delight etched on the faces of those gathered on that day, I do wonder, five years on, are yes voters still proud? Scenes of tearful elation as crowds rammed the courtyard of Dublin Castle gave way to headlines which breathlessly dubbed May 26th “liberation day”.
Dublin delivers landslide for repeal in historic vote as all 11 constituencies say Yes. Celebrations in Dublin Castle in full swing pic.twitter.com/K4x6qU3Vbz
— FM104 (@FM104) May 26, 2018
Voices for choice putting a repeal spin on some bangers at Dublin Castle pic.twitter.com/xno8Y0o77S
— Helen Hoddinott (@helenhoddinott) May 26, 2018
Five years on, the question must be asked, who exactly has been liberated by our nation’s legalisation of abortion? Are we a liberated people? Those who looked with disdain on the joviality and tasteless partying were told campaigners ‘deserved’ to celebrate.
But what did they really have to celebrate, and what cause do Irish yes voters have to celebrate now, 31,000 abortions later?
Has gaining the legal right to kill our own children in the womb made us better? Has it made our nation better? Has abortion made life fuller, or easier, or happier? Has it created a culture of greater compassion and progress and kindness, as those dancing and chanting and cheering on this day five years ago said it would?
It’s not about pro-life people saying ‘We were right and you were wrong’. It’s not about saying ‘we told you so’. We never wanted to be right.
But I’ve yet to meet someone who regretted voting no to a referendum which has created an abortion regime that has snuffed out the equivalent of the population of Kilkenny City. I’ve yet to meet someone who regrets voting no to giving licence to Ireland’s most extreme abortion activists to continue demanding more abortion, zero restrictions – and less time for women to think about a life-altering decision through calls to now remove the three day wait.
We were warned by none other than former late-term abortionist, Dr Anthony Levantino, when he addressed the Citizens’ Assembly a year before Ireland went to the polls, that once the genie was out of the lamp, we wouldn’t be able to put it back.
Many listened to his stark warning with hardened hearts – people shrugged their shoulders. I remember watching members of the Citizens’ Assembly listening with their arms folded, disinterested, as the late-term abortion procedure was explained in chilling detail by Levantino.
Their sheer indifference, or even dismissal, of the truth was hard to watch. But what that former abortion doctor said turned out to be true. The genie is out of the lamp, and there’s no putting it back.
In the context of that particular address, as predicted, we now know that doctors are in fact performing late-term abortions in Ireland. We were promised that wouldn’t happen – but it has. The government’s much anticipated review of the 2018 law has found that little babies are being born alive, and may even be dying without even comfort care after the abortion failed.
Maybe we need to stop just skimming headlines and actually try and picture the sight of a beautiful newborn child, perfect and fully developed having spent nine months in his or her mother’s womb, struggling for breath and screaming out in pain, to really consider, how compassionate have we become, how much we have to celebrate?
We knew babies were being born alive after failed abortions as far back as 2020, when this platform reported on a shocking paper published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology by researchers at University College Cork.
As Gript revealed, that paper showed late-term abortions were taking place in Ireland, and one method being used was feticide:
In the UCC study, the authors noted that the specialists carrying out abortion were frustrated by conflict with neonatologists and were “unclear” as to who will look after those babies’ if a baby was “born alive following an abortion by induction of labour and without feticide”.
“This would leave the doctor who performed an unsuccessful late-term abortion “begging people to help” them provide palliative care if the baby survived, the study recorded.
One abortion doctor even described “getting sick in the corridor” after performing the gruesome procedure in this country.
“I remember getting sick out in the corridors afterwards because I thought it (feticide) was such an awful procedure and so dreadful,” he is quoted as saying.
The study showed that even abortion doctors themselves saw the procedure as ‘brutal’, ‘awful’ and ‘emotionally difficult’ – referring to it as ‘stabbing the baby in the heart’.
What is incredible though, even terrifying, is that aside from outlets like Gript in Ireland, stories as horrifying as full-term babies being born alive in botched abortions don’t even make news headlines.
We don’t have radio segments on the national broadcaster devoted to the issue, or panel discussions on primetime television – we barely have a headline in the national press, with coverage restricted to the usual pool of pro-life groups and small, alternative media outlets.
This is proof that abortion has already changed our culture beyond recognition. It has changed the way we think about life, and how we as a society relate to each other. Gruesome things are done on a routine basis to living, breathing, unborn children – some who are full-term – and nobody bats an eyelid.
Late-term abortion is just one dimension of what is happening though. Abortion up to 12 weeks – (when most of the baby’s organs are fully formed and that baby can be seen clearly on an ultrasound) – has become widespread, with the numbers of unborn children killed climbing to 8,500 last year – a 25 percent increase in one year alone.
There have also been cases of abortion after misdiagnosis -– two more cases are currently ongoing against the State, following the harrowing case involving Baby Christopher in 2019. We know abortions for disability have also increased. Anyone with eyes can see life has become cheapened, and our society is all the worse for it.
It seems to many as though Ireland has never been more polarised. People on both sides of the left and right declare that our country is full of hatred. Murders, manslaughters, rape and sexual assaults have all increased; (murders jumped by 76% last year).
We ask ourselves why, what has happened? But we don’t want to examine or acknowledge that culture is impacted in many ways.
“We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?” to borrow a line from Mother Teresa.
Yet, for all of the dreadful outcomes of this law, outside the Dail on Thursday, abortion campaigners told themselves they had done a “great, great thing” as they held yet another ‘Rally for Choice’.
One attendee, People before Profit TD Paul Murphy, attracted a swarm of backlash on Twitter when he posted a video of the gathering, with many taking issue with his decaration that he wanted to “finish the work of #Repeal!”.
“He means, let’s finish off all the babies,’ one Twitter user mused.
LIVE: PBP Pro-Choice Rally | Let’s finish the work of #Repeal! https://t.co/cHnfTd7xT4
— Paul Murphy 🏳️⚧️ (@paulmurphy_TD) May 25, 2023
Clicking into the video, I thought the anger and unhappiness evident in what was being said was striking. As with every pro-choice Rally, abortion supporters have nothing good to say.
There are no positives because they have nothing to celebrate. They never had. Not on this day five years ago when the drinks were flowing at Dublin Castle, and not today. There are no happy outcomes to talk about. No one is smiling.
“Are we angry?” one speaker asked the miserable crowd, who declared, “Yes!”
Abortion won’t ever make us happy, and nothing is ever made better by killing a baby in the womb. Gaining the right to abortion has not made us better. It has not made Ireland better. Our liberation was never going to be bought by killing our children. The momentary happiness provided by a day out at Dublin Castle this time five years ago has only returned to an anger which is not subsiding.
Five years on, I’m convinced the raucous Repeal celebrations at Dublin Castle remain a firm low point for Ireland. We lost so much of ourselves that day, and we continue to lose so much of our future. The proof is all around us. Life, not death, is worth dancing for.
Five years later, surely, we have learned the hard way that Ireland never had anything to celebrate when it voted yes to abortion.