History of pro-life in Ireland and the push for abortion

By general agreement abortion is the single most controversial issue of public policy throughout the Western World in the late Twentieth Century. It has become the defining issue in the politics of each individual nation precisely because, like no other, it excites the passions of opposing forces and draws between them a clear line. Upon examination the reason is quite obvious, for not only does the notion of legalised abortion cut quickly to the core of the matter of life and death, but it raises many other issues about the role of the law, the powers of the State etc, and moreover it has defied all attempts to chart a middle course. In essence this is because no such middle course can, on this question, exist. Attempts to find it are futile and result usually in frustration for both sides, which leaves the issue as a matter of ongoing controversy.

In that regard, Ireland has been presented with the political question of abortion at a peculiarly fortuitous time in that we have an opportunity not afforded to other nations, to make the final decision on legalised abortion, with almost all the issues of fact widely known, the experience of other countries already available for examination, and in an environment where the issue itself raises comparatively little real controversy among the population in general. Broad agreement exists that abortion itself is a bad thing, to be reduced to the minimum. As a question it remains merely what that minimum is, and the facts show clearly that the appropriate minimum is none at all.

Certain ideologically-motivated individuals and organisations, however, have sought to muddy the waters and, hoping to capitalise on an atmosphere of artificial confusion, to foist legalised abortion on an unwilling majority. Their primary means have been to reject proposals for a referendum to outlaw abortion, or indeed any referendum at all, and to push for legislation in line with the X decision of the Supreme Court in 1992.