My submission to The Citizen’s Assembly on the 8th Amendment
In Ireland, the life of an unborn baby is protected by the 8th amendment in the Irish Constitution:
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.
Sadly, this right to life forthe most vunerable in society is under attack, and there is pressure to repeal the 8th amendment. In 2016, the Citizens Assembley was established to consider a variety of issues, including repealing the 8th amendment. The general public were welcome to make a submission for the Citizens Assembley to consider. These are now available online to read.
Below is a copy of my submission to the Citizens Assembley:
I’m an Irish woman who grew up in England. When I first moved to Ireland a few years ago, I was struck by the number of people I saw with Downs Syndrome. That may sound crass, but in England, you very rarely see someone with Downs Syndrome, because 90% of unborn babies diagnosed with Downs Syndrome are aborted.
I had the privilege of volunteering with some young adults with Downs Syndrome and I looked forward to the time I spent with them- we would chat and laugh over a cup of tea and a biscuit, and then we would get to work- these young adults were talented artists and sold their wares at a craft market. They made me smile, laugh and cry. I learned a lot from them. Although I no longer volunteer there, I often think about the group of artists. They made a big impression on me.
I recently read a headline which stated that Downs Syndrome may be cured by 2030. As I read the article, I realised the headline should have read “eradicated” rather than “cured”, as it discussed how there would not be any more cases of Downs Syndrome because all unborn babies diagnosed with Downs Syndrome would have been aborted. Is abortion really a cure?
Gandi famously said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members”. This includes unborn babies. I admire how Ireland nurtures and celebrates its citizens with special needs. It’s something special and unique to Ireland. I have such admiration and respect for people who work with organisations such as Order of Malta and St John of God, helping people with special needs live independently, learn life skills and foster their talents.
I had never even heard of the Special Olympics until I moved to Ireland. It seems paradoxical that, while the Special Olympics is celebrated in Ireland, there is a drive for abortion in certain circles. Let’s not kid ourselves, abortion won’t just be for mothers at risk of suicide or with an unborn baby with a life-limiting condition. Opening the door of abortion leads to a slippery slope.
In England and Wales, abortion was introduced in 1967 on supposedly “restrictive grounds”. Today, 1 in every 5 pregnancies ends in abortion in England and Wales. David Steel, architect of the 1967 Abortion bill in England and Wales, told an Irish newspaper that he “never envisaged there would so many abortions”. I fear this will inevitably happen in Ireland if the 8th amendment is repealed. The 8th amendment has saved 100,000 lives in Ireland.
Be proud, Ireland, and continue to protect the most vulnerable of human life- the unborn child in the womb. Keep the 8th.