On Saturday, July 1, 70,000 people took to the streets of Ireland for the All Ireland Rally for Life.
This year’s theme was “Save the 8th,” a reference to the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which protects the right to life and bans abortion.
The Eight Amendment reads:
The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.
The Eight Amendment to the Ireland Constitution was affected by the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1983, which was approved by referendum on 7 September 1983 and signed into law on the 7 October of the same year. The amendment was passed by 841,233 (64%) votes in favour to 416,136 (33%) against.
While the Amendment was supposed to be the end of the abortion controversy in Ireland, there are still those pushing back against the law. Various groups often protest to repeal the Eighth Amendment due to what they claim is complications arising from the Eighth Amendment because of the passing of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, which is a manipulation of sorts to save the life of the mother.
The reality is that doctors should be making every attempt to save both mother and baby, not choose one over the other.
With 70,000 in attendance at the annual March, Life Site News said it was “too big to ignore.”
“Like many pro-life marches, the media tried to downplay numbers, and some outlets tried to reduce it to ‘Pro Life and Pro Choice groups take part in opposing rallies in Dublin,” wrote the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. “However, this year’s rally was so big that it was difficult to ignore. Outlets were forced to issue corrections acknowledging the numbers, and the Irish Independent conceded that “the pro-choice campaigners were significantly outnumbered.” RTE, the national broadcaster, covered the rally in an unusually balanced news segment.”
“The Irish Times said the police had estimated the numbers as ‘between 10,000 and 20,000,'” the Society added. “However, according to the Rally for Life, the Garda press office never gave any such figure. The highest figure given for the pro-choice demonstration is 200.”
“This is an incredible, powerful day, when massive crowds of ordinary people turned out to Save the 8th, to say no to abortion and yes to Life, to tell Leo Varadkar that he would lose this referendum on abortion, because the pro-life majority has arisen and will work night and day to Save the 8th,” said Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute. “We were expecting 50,000 but as the Rally moved through Dublin City, up to 80,000 people brought the city to a standstill as they joined in to Save the 8th.”
Speakers at the event included:
- Karen Gaffney – a leading international advocate for people with Down syndrome
- Vicky Wall – Every Life Counts
- Carolyn O’Meara – Giannacare
- Bernadette Smyth – Precious Life
- Becky Kealy – Youth Defence
- Isabel Vaughan-Spruce – March for Life UK
Gaffney, who has Down syndrome, warned that due to aggressive screening up to one hundred percent of babies with Down syndrome are murdered through abortion.
“We want to belong, don’t screen us out,” she said.
Wall, whose daughter Liádán was diagnosed with a life-limiting condition moved the crowd to tears as she said, “Liádán’s life was protected by the 8th amendment, she was given the respect as our daughter. Even though she had a life-limiting condition, she was loved and valued as much as her brother and sister. All she knew was love.”
The Rally for Life is the biggest pro-life event held each year and was organized by Life Institute, Youth Defence and Precious Life.