A quiet pro-life revolution is changing everything in the battle to Save the 8th
Sometimes you can feel a shift in public opinion before you see it in the polls. When you’re at the coalface of campaigning you can gauge it in the conversations and reactions of the people who matter – the ordinary, decent people who will vote on the 8th amendment in a referendum.
These are the people who have been reached at the doors, week in, week out, for the past 18 months on the Life Canvass. Last Tuesday, on National Life Canvass Day, we reached almost 15,000 of them in one day.
It was an incredible display of people power right across the country, a key moment in the kind of quiet revolution that almost goes unnoticed, but that brings real change, and makes the most powerful impact.
In some constituencies, there were three teams out canvassing. In others, pro-life activists held street canvasses before heading to the doors.
All day, especially after 6pm, the photos of the Canvass teams flooded Twitter and Facebook. It was just marvellous.
Everywhere, seasoned canvassers were joined by first-timers, who’ve been so inspired by their positive experience that they’ll be back to swell the regular canvass.
I canvassed in Ballybrack in Dublin with about 30 others, a line of red ‘Yes to Life’ vests stringing out across the estate. At the first door we knocked on, we met to a woman whose daughter had fostered and adopted children, and we talked about why everyone deserves a chance, and how sad it was that so many babies in other countries were aborted rather than adopted. She was lovely: warm and kind-hearted and decent, and there were plenty more like her.
There were people who had a baby when they were young, and who said that no-one regretted their child, their beautiful child who became the centre of their lives. One woman said she had a friend who suffered after an abortion, and that it was hard, very hard, because nothing can bring the baby back.
I was struck by how many people were concerned that we would become like Britain, where one in every five babies is killed by abortion.
One man told us that men are made to feel they have no right to an opinion on this matter. Everyone has a right to an opinion on protecting the human rights of others, we suggested. He agreed.
One of tasks we set out for the Canvass when we started 18 months ago was that the reality of the repeal slogan would be revealed. When Youth Defence dropped the #Repeal Kills video last September, it cut right through the euphemisms, to explain that repeal meant repealing the right to life of every preborn child.
That repeal meant preborn babies and their mothers would be killed and exploited by an industry that makes billions from abortion every year.
That repeal meant abortion on demand.
That video has half a million views now on social media, and we’ve been sharing the reality of repeal reality on the doors too. The results of all those efforts is clear. The polls show that support for repeal of the 8th is falling, and we know that people are shifting their perspective, asking more questions, really thinking about what happens when abortion is legalised.
The Life Canvass is the quiet revolution raising up the inherent decency in people of all ages and backgrounds; people whose instinct is to be pro-life – who know in their hearts of hearts that abortion is not the answer.
Sometimes those people have questions though, and they are tired of the relentless media bias, and tired of being dictated to by aggressive abortion campaigners, shouting about ‘my body, my rights’, while displaying a breath-taking indifference to the rights of the helpless baby whose life is to be so cruelly ended.
So we’ve gone to the people, and answered their questions: on social media, in debates, on campaigns and roadshows, but most of all in the Life Canvass. The effect is game-changing.
That’s what the Life Canvass has done. That’s why it’s so vitally important
But we still have a mountain to climb. We’ve canvassed almost 165,000 people so far, and we’ve another 300,000 houses to canvass before the year end. But when more and more people get involved – like they did last Tuesday – that becomes a much more manageable challenge, perhaps as little as 20 houses canvassed per person per week.
The battle to Save the 8th is being won on the doorsteps, and it will be won. Last Tuesday, the quiet pro-life revolution that is changing everything took a giant step forward.
SEE Photos on GALLERY
Cork South Central
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