Anne Brolly

Both Lives Matter | Anne Brolly

“The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally.” This excerpt from the Proclamation of the Republic of Ireland, announced in Dublin in 1916, echoes the 1st Article of Constitution of the United Irishmen, launched in Belfast in 1791, which contains the beautiful opening sentence: “This Society is constituted for the purpose of forwarding a brotherhood of affection.”

We chose the title of our Human Rights Association, ‘Cherish all the Children Equally’ from the 1916 Proclamation. ‘A Brotherhood of Affection’ would make a fitting sub-title.

The 8th. Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, re-affirming the commitment given by the men of 1916 that all our children would be treated equally, gives explicit recognition to the right to life of our unborn children. It was put into effect by the 8th. Amendment of the Constitution Act 1983, approved by referendum in September 1983 and signed into law in October of the same year.

Now, a foundation headed by George Soros, an American billionaire, is providing financial backing for organisations seeking to repeal Ireland’s constitutional prohibition of abortion. A leaked strategy document from Soros’s so-called ‘Open Society Foundation’ reveals its funding of three Irish organisations: Amnesty International Ireland, the Abortion Rights Campaign and the Irish Family Planning Association “to work collectively on a campaign to repeal Ireland’s constitutional amendment.” The document continues: “with one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, a win there could impact other strongly Catholic countries in

Europe such as Poland, and provide much-needed proof that change is possible.” Amnesty International’s retrogression from a position of neutrality up to 2007 to its current call for abortion on demand is, regrettably, an example of the capacity of the lobby which seeks to liberalise the law on abortion, supported by immensely wealthy funders, to insinuate itself into any organisation, civil and political, leaving those bodies compromised . Amnesty Ireland received funding of £150,000 and now campaigns against the most fundamental human right, the right to life, rendering hollow its declared opposition to the death penalty.

When a baby is created in its mother’s womb, the ordinary, simple hope and expectation is that it will spend nine months there, warm, cosy, nourished and cherished and, nature being kind, will be delivered whole and healthy as a new and welcome member of human society. Nature is not always kind, however, and hopes can be dashed: the little one might not be so whole and healthy; its post-birth membership of the human race might only last for minutes, but it is no less a person than any of us here, and in a civilised society must be welcomed and cherished.

Where we have legalised abortion, however, the status of the unborn child is changed utterly. The life and worth of the unborn child is no longer protected in law. Its origin, its physical condition, anything from serious life-limiting defects to Down’s Syndrome and a cleft palate, its sex, its family circumstances, any of these factors may be used as grounds to support a decision to end its life before it is born.

Abortion has brought anguish to mothers. Many mothers experience moral qualms or are tormented by the maternal instinct which presses them to cherish and protect the little human beings they are

carrying. The ‘procedure’ may only take 10 minutes but the psychological and emotional consequences can be for life. Many women are reported to have experienced emotional crises years later, with the onset of the menopause or when the youngest child leaves home.

We embrace with the utmost sensitivity and compassion those tormented mothers who have sought relief in the abortion clinic. We must rebuild a culture where both lives really do matter. We must have the best possible care for mothers in crisis pregnancies, and the best possible perinatal hospice provision. We Irish people revere mothers. Abortion damages them. We must stand up once again in Belfast and Dublin, like the men of 1798 and 1916, against powerful wealthy foreign forces who think that our consciences are for sale. We are Irish and we must take our message to the world: “From the moment of conception to the hour of death, Cherish all the Children of the Nation equally.”