10 pro-life reasons to cheer in 2017

1. Pro-life Unity for the Life Canvass

The long-sought for unity for the pro-life movement took a huge step forward as most of the major pro-life organisations have come together to make sure that the Life Canvass has the biggest impact possible to Save the 8th.

This was fantastic news for the Life Canvass, as another leading national pro-life organisation, Family & Life, formally come on board with Life Institute, Youth Defence and more than 30 local pro-life organisations, to make this the biggest pro-life door-to-door initiative ever seen in Ireland.

This new unity means that the Life Canvass will now be boosted by additional leaders, volunteers and resources. Niamh Uí Bhriain of Life Institute said: “We are delighted to have the skills and experience of the Family & Life team come on board and look forward to accelerating the growth of the Life Canvass together to retain the 8th.”

David Manly of Family & Life said the joint effort sought to maximise the effect of the Life Canvass and that “the unity of the pro-life movement is a measure of our determination to protect the 8th Amendment. It was impossible to ignore the overwhelming results achieved by the Life Canvass this year.  While our own ground campaign staff have been busy throughout the country, it was glaringly obvious to us that uniting with Life Institute and the other pro-life organisations behind one unified canvass was the only game in town.  We owe it to our supporters to do the right thing and we are confident that they will overwhelmingly support this exciting departure.”

The Life Canvass is the only door-to-door canvass on the pro-life issue in the country, and has made significant progress in the past two years.

The unity that is being achieved is tremendously significant as most pro-life groups are now joined in one united, national effort for the door-to-door canvass which will eliminate duplication. Such a development reduces canvass duplication, increases efficiency and effectiveness and ensures that the canvass benefits from the most experienced and qualified leadership skills available to the pro-life movement.

The Life Canvass is open to all organisations concerned about retaining the 8th amendment and committed to adopting best strategic practices. There is no better campaign alternative in terms of changing hearts and mind than powerful one-to-one personal conversations on the doorsteps.




2. Marie Stopes in Belfast closes

For the Precious Life volunteers who had endured rain, cold, and endless harassment to offer women a better alternative than abortion, the news that the Marie Stopes clinic was closing was the best Christmas gift they could ever receive.

Marie Stopes announced that it would close its doors on December 6th, some 5 years after it first opened in a storm of controversy in Belfast. The abortion chain is one of the world’s largest abortion providers and sought to force a change in the law in the North of Ireland by offering abortions in its clinic.
Thanks to the dedicated work of pro-life volunteers outside the clinic, the numbers of women attending was low and falling, and many babies were saved at the clinic door by the compassion offered to women in need.

Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth said, “Marie Stopes has never been needed – nor wanted – in Northern Ireland. In fact, over 70,000 people signed our STOP MARIE STOPES Petition Campaign, which was presented to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2013. Then the majority of Assembly members voted against private abortion centres like Marie Stopes operating in Northern Ireland. She added that the closure of Marie Stopes Belfast was all down to the dedication, commitment, and hard work of the pro-life volunteers who would now accelerate their efforts in helping women with unplanned pregnancies, liaising with agencies like Stanton Healthcare NI – because women and babies deserve better than Marie Stopes.




3. Significant fall in support for abortion on disability grounds

Opinion polls are showing a significant fall in support for abortion on disability grounds, with a considerable majority now supporting the right to life of preborn children with disability. Support for abortion in these circumstances has fallen from 61% in a Newstalk poll to 50% and then down to 36% in two successive Irish Times polls.

The shift prompted an Irish Times editorial  fretting that the change showed a “hardening of opposition”, when of course what the polls are actually showing is a softening of hearts and a growing public awareness that people with a disability have the same right to life as everyone else.

This is entirely due to the great courage shown by people with disabilities and their families who have been speaking out to say that every child has a right to life, whatever disability they may have. Their inspirational personal stories have clearly struck a chord with the public, as has their message that abortion is the very worst form of discrimination.

Two years ago, the Rally for Life adopted the theme of ‘Every Life Matters’, putting people with disabilities at the front and centre of the day’s events, and of media reporting and promotion of same. Bridget Mary Kelly, who has Down Syndrome, won the day when she told the crowd that “people with special needs have a right to life” to loud and sustained applause.

Across social media, people like Hannah Moline, Karen Gaffney and Joseph Cronin their families, spoke out to say that their right to life should never be impacted by their disability. They pointed to the shocking and distressing reality that, in other countries, children with a disability are being wiped out. In Britain, 90% of children with Down Syndrome are aborted before birth: in Iceland that figure is now a heart-breaking 100%.

Parents like Anne Trainer wrote powerfully in the mainstream media about her son Kevin, and about the protection offered by the 8th.

“I believe the debate on the Eighth Amendment needs to hear from families like mine. People like Kevin are not here just to give us warm and cosy feelings during the Special Olympics. Their lives matter. Their human right to life matters. Children like Kevin are facing extinction in other countries. So the question is – will Ireland choose a better path, a path of compassion and love and understanding? A path where we help families to love and raise their children, rather than eliminating people with Down’s Syndrome before they are born.”

“I believe we can. The Eighth Amendment protected my son, and he was deserving of that protection. It should remain as a shining light to a world where the best and most beautiful of our citizens are being snuffed out.”

The notion that children with a disability are better off dead should horrify any right-thinking person, but abortion campaigners manage to dress up this extraordinary abuse of human rights as a compassionate measure precisely because people with disabilities are excluded from the debate. The brave and inspiring people and families involved in the Every Life Matters and the Abortion Discriminates initiatives have changed that reality. They have called for better support instead of the lethal discrimination of abortion. And the people are listening.




4. Rally for Life to Save the 8th breaks all records

What a magnificent day it was! A record-breaking crowd of 80,000 people thronged Dublin city centre for the Save the 8th Rally for Life, filling the city streets with pro-life colour and enthusiasm, and showing the nation that the pro-life majority are active and motivated.

It was the ‘the real Citizens Assembly’ and the tens of thousands who marched promised to work ‘night and day’ to ensure the 8th amendment would be saved.
“It was an incredible, powerful day, when massive crowds of ordinary people turned out to Save the 8th, to say no to abortion and yes to Life, to tell Leo Varadkar that he will lose this referendum on abortion, because the pro-life majority has arisen and will work night and day to Save the 8th,” said Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute.

RTÉ News acknowledged the huge crowds and noted that it took two hours for the huge pro-life rally to pass through the city centre, before hearing speeches from disabilities champion, Karen Gaffney; sovereignty campaigner Declan Ganley, Vicky Wall of Every Life Counts, and Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life and Niamh Uí Bhriain of Life Institute.

The Rally for Life is organised by Youth Defence, Precious Life and Life Institute and is the biggest pro-life event of the year.



5. 200,000 homes reached! Life Canvass becomes biggest pro-life grassroots effort ever

The extraordinary success of the Life Canvass meant that the target of 200,000 homes canvassed in the door-to-door initiative was passed by the end of 2017.
As well as the weekly – and sometimes bi-weekly – canvasses across the constituencies, two National Life Canvass days brought out huge amounts of people in a tremendous display of pro-life activism.

Just under 50 teams brought out almost 600 volunteers to reach 16,000 people for the second massive, national canvassing blitz – an extraordinary display of people power which is building to be the largest grassroots endeavour seen in this country in recent times.

Those one-to-one conversations are absolutely key, because this referendum will firstly be decided in the human heart, and that there is no substitute for going to the doors to talk to people and having those vitally important conversations about retaining our constitutional protection for the right to life of both mother and baby.
All credit to the Life Canvass leaders: they’ve gathered, trained and empowered teams of committed and informed canvassers who are doing an incredible job talking to people at the doors and in the public square.

They’ve also unified pro-life activists behind one united, cohesive and focused canvassing effort which is reaping huge dividends. As we move into the last 6 months in the run up to the referendum, long may that continue.




6. HUMAN becomes first Irish pro-life video to reach 1 million views

This year our ‘HUMAN’ video campaign reached a whopping 1 million people – almost a third of all Irish adults – with a powerful video message, the first Irish pro-life video to do so.

HUMAN uses a compelling script and beautiful images to explain that we all are deserving of equal rights simply because of who we are; we are all human beings and have been so from the beginning of our lives. It produced a hugely positive reaction from thousands of people who watched and shared its powerful message.

“This means the youngest of us should have the same rights as the oldest of us. The weakest should have the same rights as the strongest. A woman should have the same rights as a man. The preborn child should have the same rights as the newborn. Because human rights are fundamental rights, to which every person is entitled, simply because he or she is a human being.”

The video explains: “All human beings have the right to be safe. The right not to be tortured. The right to be free. But one human right is more important than all of the others. The right to life. Because without the right to life we cannot enjoy any other human right. Because without the right to life, there are no other human rights.”

It’s conclusion: “The humanity of the preborn child cannot be denied. Do not deny them their human right to life”. It’s a message we need to share again and again to #SaveThe8th



7. Unbroken shines a light on what women pregnant after rape really need

The great courage of rape survivors challenged the pro-abortion narrative like never before 2017.
Despite the shameful efforts of abortion supporters to silence them, the heroic women of Unbroken made their voices heard – and their message was that abortion is not the answer when women become pregnant after rape.

“My child is innocent too – we should punish rapists, not babies,”

they bravely said. They spoke in public, at colleges, in the Dáil, on the media and to the hearts of people right around the country.

The effect was real and powerful: amongst the many media articles, a piece in Trinity News summed up the impact these women made, positing that “they force those of us who are pro-choice to reconsider our position and engage with a valuable new perspective on the entire debate.”




8. Companies exposed by David Daleiden’s work given $7.8 million fine

Two California bioscience companies that illegally trafficked aborted baby body parts have been hit with a $7.8-million settlement and told to close down for good.
Undercover videos made by Center for Medical Progress revealed the true horror of the sale of the body parts of aborted babies, and in September of 2015,  Orange County’s district attorney’s office began an investigation of its own.

“This settlement seized all profits from DV Biologics and DaVinci Biosciences, which they acquired by viewing body parts as a commodity and illegally selling fetal tissues for valuable consideration,”

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in a statement.

“These companies will never be able to operate again in Orange County or the state of California,” he added.

Life Site News reported that prosecutors accused both companies of illegal and fraudulent business practices and terms of the $7.785-million settlement signed Monday include both research companies closing within 60-120 days. Both must also admit criminal liability for violating state and federal laws.

The settlement shows that the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), led by investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, were telling the truth when they exposed the criminal activity taking place within the abortion industry.

The CMP undercover videos showed Planned Parenthood officials eager to make profits off the illegal sale of baby parts, talking about modifying of abortion procedures to obtain “intact” babies for sale and “fresh” specimens to pay for luxury cars for Planned Parenthood staff.




9. Poland moves to ban abortion on disability grounds

Poland is moving towards a ban on abortion on disability grounds, a progressive and compassionate step towards establishing full rights for people with disabilities.
Earlier this year, the Polish grassroots organization the Stop Abortion Committee launched a citizen’s petition to ban abortion in cases where the preborn baby has a disability. According to the Committee, the petition received 830,000 signatures, more than eight times the number of signatures required by Polish law for submitting a legislative proposal to parliament and nearly twice as many as signatories as last year’s initiative to ban all abortion, which did not, at that time, succeed.

Both Polish President Duda and Prime Minister Beata Szydło have declared their support for the pro-life initiative, despite the European Union trying to bully Poland by threatening censure if the legislation passed.

According to a CBOS poll from last year, as cited by The Catholic World Report, 66 percent of Poles believe that human life should be protected “regardless of the circumstances” from “conception to natural death.” A separate 2014 poll found that 65 percent of Poles consider abortion “morally inappropriate.”

Pro-life sentiment in Poland has grown significantly in recent years. Since 2012, the number of Poles who support legislation restricting abortion has increased by 7 percent. Pro-life sentiment in Poland is likely to increase further in the coming years. A full 80 percent of young adults (18-24 years of age) support a complete abortion ban compared to only 50% of adults over 65, says the Population Research Institute.




10.   Save the 8th campaign growing every day

As we head into a referendum, its hugely encouraging to look back at the growth of the Save the 8th message in 2017.
Young people wearing the Save the 8th message, a huge rally, canvassing, car stickers, social media, videos and much more – every day the message is growing and spreading.

We are calling the Irish people to save lives – to save mothers and babies – a strong, powerful imperative to protect the most vulnerable and to say yes to life and no to abortion.

In 2018, the Save the 8th message will carry the hearts and minds of the people, and lead the campaign for a better answer than abortion. Be part of it. #savelives #savethe8th