DUBLIN -- Thirty-thousand Irish citizens converged on Dublin in January to tell the government to leave Ireland's pro-life law alone. Ireland is one of the last safe nations in Europe for unborn children.
That could all soon change since Ireland's abortion restrictions have come under intense international pressure and relentless attacks in the Irish media, and now Ireland's pro-life law is being blamed for the death of a pregnant woman.
Ireland's news media and pro-abortion groups have been pushing a story that a 31-year old pregnant Indian woman named Savita Halappanaver died because she couldn't have an abortion.
Niamh Ui Bhriain with the Life Institute, and a national pro-life leader, says, "When news of Savita's death first broke, it was massively exploited by abortion campaigners. This became a global headline, and the global headline was Ireland had killed Savita Halappanaver because of our pro-life law. And people were making these claims without knowing any of the facts."
Savita Halappanaver died last year at University hospital in Galway from septicemia or blood poisoning. Her husband claimed they requested an abortion three different times in hopes of saving her life. She was 17 weeks pregnant. The media reporting has made it sound like she died because she couldn't have an abortion.
But at an inquest into her death last week, medical experts determined that Savita died from sepsis, E. coli, and a series of medical errors termed a "medical misadventure." Nevertheless, the media continues to make it look like she died because she was denied an abortion.
Dr Seán Ó Domhnaill, one of Ireland's leading psychiatrists and a pro-life leader, said, "The Irish media went to the world media and said, 'Look at Ireland. Catholic Ireland is allowing people to die because they can't have abortions.'"
Abortions Allowed for Suicidal Mothers
Pro-abortion groups want the government to make law what Ireland's Supreme Court ruled in something called the X Case, which would allow abortion if the mother felt suicidal. But experts think that would lead to defacto abortion on demand.
Sinead Ahern with the pro-abortion group Choice Ireland says, "Every day that the government fails to act to legislate for the 'X case' is another day that women's rights are being violated and women are potentially being placed at risk."
But the message is that women's lives are in danger because of Ireland's abortion law would seem to be exactly wrong; Ireland is one of the safest places in the world for a pregnant woman.
Ui Bhriain says, "Irish doctors are not prevented from intervening when there is a life-threatening condition arriving in pregnancy, that they would always intervene to save the mother's life, even if that means the unintended death of the baby. We have banned abortion for 30 years. In that time we have become one of the safest places in the world for a mother to have a baby, and that's according to the United Nations."
Pro-lifers Pressure Prime Minister: 'Protect Abortion Law'
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny was elected on the promise that he would not open the door to abortion in Ireland, but he is already wavering. Pro-life protestors in January called for Kenny to keep his pro-life promise.
The Irish parliament is said to already be formulating legislation that would allow abortion in Ireland if the mother is suicidal.
Even though a majority of the Irish people are pro-life, the odds are now stacked against Ireland's pro-life law.
Ui Bhriain warns that "the most pro-life country perhaps in the whole Western world is now standing on the brink of abortion."
The European Union has been pressuring the country to change its law. Pro-life leaders say they're being outspent by millions of dollars. Even Ireland's government gives taxpayer money to groups that refer for abortion. Faced with that kind of firepower, pro-life forces can only take their message to the streets and try to win one heart at a time. The forces arrayed against Ireland's abortion law are very strong.
Ui Bhriain says, "But the pro-life movement is fighting back hard. We cannot make this the year abortion is legalized in Ireland, and our pro-life ethos is destroyed forever."