Tuesday, July 09, 2013


It's been somewhat surprising that there hasn't been more overt interest of American pro-lifers in the Irish government's legislation to allow abortion under highly limited circumstances. But here's William Saunders from Americans United For Life having attended the weekend's pro-life (and anti-legislation) rally in Dublin, writing in National Review's The Corner --

This bill is supposedly “required” by the European Court of Human Rights’s decision in ABC vs. Ireland two years ago. The lead party in the government, Fine Gael, campaigned in the last election on a promise not to legalize abortion. It is abandoning that commitment now, and the Irish people are expressing their outrage ...  Will the Irish politicians allow the Irish people to decide the abortion issue, or will they bow to the European Court of Human Rights?

It's a very constricted view to begin Ireland's abortion narrative with a 2010 ECHR decision. Instead it goes back -- as Irish people painfully recall -- to an ill-advised "pro-life" amendment to the Irish constitution which ended up being interpreted by Irish -- not European -- courts as creating a limited right to abortion under certain medical and psychological circumstances. But no enabling legislation was ever passed on foot of these decisions, until embarrassments (like the ECHR decision) and tragedies (like the Savita case) induced the current government to meaningful action. Its objective is to ensure that people understand what the applicable law is, not to open the door to "social abortion" as former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern bizarrely called it.

The attitude that Saunders displays risks replicating the outcome of the tactics of Ireland's more unreasonable pro-life activists, whose antics over this law are alienating many in what is still an anti-abortion culture by western European or American standards.