Ireland snubs Catholic bishops and votes for abortion reform

Ireland snubs Catholic bishops and votes for abortion reform May 26, 2018

In a March statement, Ireland’s Catholic bishops asked people of faith to ‘pray earnestly’ that Ireland will ‘choose life’ in an upcoming abortion referendum.
And they warned that repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the equal right to life of mother and unborn:

Would leave unborn children at the mercy of whatever permissive abortion laws might be introduced in Ireland in the future.

The bishops said making abortion freely available :

Desensitises people to the value of every human life. The scientific evidence about the beginning of human life has never been clearer. It is, therefore, a great irony that we in Ireland are for the first time in our history losing our clarity about the right to life of the unborn.

They added that to remove the Eighth Amendment – which had been introduced mainly as a result of pressure exerted by the Catholic Church – would be “a shocking step” and “a manifest injustice” to the unborn.
Well, prayers didn’t work when the referendum was held yesterday, and, according to the BBC, exit polls are suggesting a landslide vote in favour of liberalising the law.
Polls by The Irish Times and RTÉ suggested about 69 percent voted to repeal a part of the constitution that effectively bans terminations.
One of the main anti-abortion campaigns has already conceded defeat.

Said John McGuirk, above, Communications Director of the anti-abortion Save The 8th campaign:

The unborn child no longer has a right to life recognised by the Irish state.

McGuirk said anti-abortion campaigners were:

Deeply broken-hearted. Shortly, legislation will be introduced that will allow babies to be killed in our country.
However, he vowed that No campaigners would continue to protest:
If and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland. Every time an unborn child has his or her life ended in Ireland, we will oppose that, and make our voices known.

The Eighth Amendment was introduced 1983. The Catholic hierarchy and many lay Catholics supported the amendment, but it was opposed by the authorities of other mainstream churches. After an acrimonious referendum campaign, the amendment was passed by 67 percent voting in favour to 33 percent voting against.
Ahead of yesterday’s referendum, US News reported that a vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment ban would:

Underline the waning political power of the Roman Catholic Church, once so dominant in areas of social policy and sexual mores that, until recently, the Republic of Ireland banned not only abortion but divorce and contraception.

It was only in 1985 that the Irish government, against strong opposition from the Church and its lay campaigners, legalised the general sale of condoms.
In 1995, by a whisker-thin majority, the public voted to drop a constitutional ban on divorce, again despite strong resistance from Catholic bishops and lay groups.
Three years ago, on a rising liberal tide, 62 percent of voters ignored pleas from the Catholic and Presbyterian churches and endorsed a referendum legalising gay marriage – the first Western electorate to do so by popular vote.

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  • AgentCormac

    Jacob Rees-Mogg will not be happy! And if you’d like to contact your MP to insist that women in Northern Ireland are finally given access to abortion services, you’ll find a pre-prepared email created by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service here:

  • L.Long

    It great these people are telling the pope to stuff it! The RCC and all other religions are evil. BUT…if these protesters are catlickers then good for them and I don’t trust any of them !! When a people says “these are gawd’s laws” and then says ‘but we don’t like this one” means they are hypocrites that can change their minds and do what they like at any time & claim it is gawd’s will there by exempting them selves from any blame.
    The best thing is to tell the pope to shove his head up gawd’s ass and quit the silly religion. Ya! I know they have all sorts of lame excuses why they can’t quit!

  • Broga

    “Yes campaigners have already started celebrating wildly as the count continues in Ireland’s most important debate which has seen more than two thirds of the electorate vote in favour of change.”
    Get ready for the lies and propaganda from the celibate, unmarried priests. This is a great result and has profound implications for the authority of the RC church.

  • tonye

    The irony is lost on them, the bishops. How dare this all male club tell women what they can do with their bodies.

  • AndyM

    Ireland continue to throw off the chains of Vatican colonialism ,and leave the nightmare imposed on them. Voting must have felt great. You got to bring in a vital right,and give the bastards a bloody nose at the same time.

  • The lengthy report about this on the BBC TV news at 5.00 pm today made no mention of the Catholic Church. I wonder why.

  • Local Humanists have warmly welcomed the overwhelming vote in favour of abortion in the referendum held in the Irish Republic. A large majority has voted in favour of the progressive change in the law, which was backed by Leo Varadkar, the gay Taoiseach. This was achieved despite very strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church. Basing its doctrine on the natural law and the word of God, the Church says that deliberately causing an abortion is a grave moral wrong. This is another major blow to the Church following, as it does, the passing of legislation allowing same sex marriage.
    Humanists supported the 1967 Abortion Act which legalised abortion in England Scotland and Wales but not Northern Ireland. The Humanist position is ‘pro-choice’. It is best, of course, if every child is a wanted child. Improved relationships and sex education, more widely and freely available contraception (also opposed by the Catholic Church), better education and services for young people, can all help to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. However, for as long as abortion is needed, society should provide safe and legal facilities to provide it. Anything less would inevitably increase the number of illegal and unsafe abortions, and would be an infringement on a woman’s right to choose.
    We defend the right for women to gain access to safe abortion with appropriate secular counselling and after-care and support liberalisation of the abortion laws which would include giving women in Northern Ireland the same rights to free abortions on the NHS as women in England, Scotland and Wales enjoy; other measures to make access to safe, early abortions easier; and measures to enable exclusion zones around abortion clinics, as some local Councils have introduced, to enable clients to access them free from challenge, and sometimes very hostile intimidation, from religious protesters who would retain their right freely to express their views.
    George Broadhead
    Coventry & Warwickshire Humanists
    (for publication in the Warwickshire press)

  • Broga

    ” Basing its doctrine on the natural law .”
    What is that? Celibate priests? Force them to explain what they mean by these words which are intended, and always have been by their followers, to suggest something profound.

  • Broga

    “The unborn child no longer has a right to life recognised by the Irish state.”
    He needs to read some history. Religion, and with his prominent, has been a curse on humanity. Every bit of progress blocked; any opposition met with torture and death; the best of the classical past destroyed beyond recall; ignorance and opposition to thinking praised.

  • Laura Roberts

    “The scientific evidence about the beginning of human life has never been clearer.”
    …and yet religious zealots still want to pretend that zygote = blastocyst = embryo = foetus = fully-formed infant (aka “person”). All the while ignoring the fact that even if such a simple-minded equivalence were valid in any biological sense, it has never, ever, been a salient point in the abortion debate.

  • John the Drunkard

    Lets remember Savita Halappanavar. (sorry about the guessed spelling)

  • Angela_K

    I see our favourite religious nutter has said “Ireland has voted for a holocaust”

  • AgentCormac

    This referendum must have given our resident village idiot sleepless nights. Does he support the RCC (which he clearly considers to be something akin to being the devil’s own work), or does he oppose the RCC by supporting women’s rights (which he definitely thinks they shouldn’t have). As it happens, I sincerely hope that the fuckwit seeks help very soon as anyone who can claim the following really must have some serious mental issues:
    ‘History has shown that when a state ushers in laws such as this, then dreadful calamities result; an example being that, when British parliament voted for such in the 1967 this was followed by an outbreak of “foot and mouth” disease and the onset of the troubles in Northern Ireland which led to 1,000s of deaths.’
    You do have to wonder.

  • Frankie

    ‘History has shown that when a state ushers in laws such as this, then dreadful calamities result”.
    Yes … and that calamity has befallen the RCC. And to them its a clamity of seismic proportions because it is clear proof that after centuries of retarding and beggaring and befouling Ireland the RCC has lost its death grip on the throats of the people.

  • Steve

    A cynic might say that catholic priests are anti-abortion so there are more unwanted kids in children’s homes that they can abuse.

  • StephenJP

    Ireland is clearly on a roll. The next step should surely be to get rid of the RCC-dominated boards that still control many of the Republic’s hospitals, even though the latter are largely taxpayer-funded. We can be sure that the Church will do everything they can to put obstacles in the way of hospitals implementing this seismic change to the constitution.

  • Igor

    Ireland is no longer a Catholic country.

  • Igor

    Dear religion, you’re on life-support.

  • barriejohn

    “The scientific evidence about the beginning of human life has never been clearer.”
    Like this sort of “scientific evidence”, I suppose:
    Notice the success of the Catholic hierarchy in imposing an increasingly authoritarian and illiberal view upon believers as time progresses, irrespective of any evidence to support this. What a surprise!

  • barriejohn

    66.4% in favour. This doesn’t augur well for the Pope’s forthcoming visit, as it was after Pope John Paul’s visit that the Eighth Amendment was adopted. And what of Northern Ireland’s position now? There has been so much bad news regarding illiberal, nationalistic “populism” recently, that this is welcome news indeed.

  • Daz

    History has shown that when a state ushers in laws such as this, then morons like the Broadstairs Buffoon, who do not know the difference between causation and caustic soda, will make complete bloody fools of themselves.
    Well done Ireland.

  • barriejohn

    It’s Bob who’s suffering from Foot and Mouth Disease – every time he open his mouth he puts his foot in it. Still, you have to admit that it’s hilarious that someone should blame such a thing on the result of a vote in Parliament!

  • Bubblecar

    Congratulations Ireland.
    But unfortunately it now sounds like the fanatics are gearing up to harass women at abortion clinics when they appear.

  • Daz


    “every time he open his mouth he puts his foot in it”


  • barriejohn

    Daz: Not to be confused with autophagia, of course, though when someone is disappearing up his own fundament one does wonder!
    (Dedicated to the memory of Bob’s poor brain, which faded away due to lack of use, and is now sadly missed.)

  • Broga

    The impudence of these fanatics who insist on trying to decide what women do with their own bodies is shocking. They have the idea that women are casually destroying foetuses with abandon. Women suffer making the decision, they suffer having made it and they suffer long after it is made.
    The wealthy can always choose, be safe and all remains confidential. Those under the control of the RCs are forced into struggling and suffering. Did I read that in a wrecked planet, vastly overcrowded with the most destructive pest, Moggy has six sprogs?
    Great result from Ireland. The youth are dragging the country out of the dark ages. Even the rural areas, long ground under the superstitious heel of the priests, voted to change to a more kindly and civilised policy.

  • Hein

    Yes and JRM has just bought a £5,000,000 pad closer to the Palace of Westminster than Number 10. And the reason he gave? To accommodate himself and his rather large family. The prospect of a man like JRM as PM is enough to get Corbyn elected. What a horrible choice. It’s a worse choice than Trump v Clinton. Well nearly. With the RCC getting a good battering from all directions the last thing we need is a rabid Catholic fundie as PM. But you can bet that all the powers at the disposal of the RCC will be lobbying and coercing and blackmailing and threatening behind the scenes to get JRM into Number 10. And with such burgeoning over population why was JRM so profligate? Well it’s a fundamental strategy of the RCC to outbreed the opposition and thus secure a dominant overwhelming force of numbers. No condoms remember. The same tactic as the Muslims who’s avowed intent is to overrun the indigenous population. It’s a disgraceful, but fully expected, method employed by the pious.

  • 1859

    Great result for Ireland and all rational people everywhere! But as mentioned above, the Irish parliament had better begin drafting legislation to create exclusion zones around the new abortion clinics that will be established – as has recently been done in some parts of England. I hope the momentum the young Irish electorate have found to finally emancipate themselves from the ideological noose of the RCC , will now be carried forward into other areas where the RCC is dominant – education being the most important. Good luck – me Irish heart is singin’ fer yer!!

  • Alan matthews

    What wonderful news. The Catholic Church has crippled Ireland for centuries. Its domination in the south led to the partition of Ireland and all the hideous events that followed. I hope the Irish people will throw it into the dustbin of history.

  • Broga

    Many of these protestors, with their weird superstitions and curious demand to instruct the rest of us, will be the same people protesting against the use of condoms etc.

  • barriejohn

    Jacob Greased-Log has just announced that he has “no wish to be prime minister”, and that Theresa May “has my full support”. Ever heard words like that before?
    A slippery customer indeed!

  • Terry

    Whilst the emasculation of the RCC in Ireland is driven by the younger more rational and well informed generations the older ones are still in the thrall or under the cosh of the clerics. Just take a look at this article. Its about the tour of Ireland of the RELIC yes the RELIC of that horrorbitch Mother Thersa. The relic is a spot of her blood on a muslin rag contained in a cross like device with a little window. Now if that is not sinister and gruesome enough look at the photographs of the elderly ladies who feel bound to …. Well look for yourself and be prepared to gag.

  • Cali Ron

    Erin go braugh!

  • andym

    This could now have a massive knock-on into UK politics. NI are seeing this as inspirational and are already pressing for their own referendum. There’s no government in Stormont so May can’t bat back the demand as a devolution issue. So she faces upsetting either the Rees-Moggs and her DUP allies or the more decent, progressive side of her own party. Either way, I think she’s f**ked.
    That won’t be the end of it in NI. Once people start throwing off the yoke of religion, they get very liberal. It happened in Spain post-Franco. Progress isn’t dead;it was just having a little kip.

  • Yes, Catholic Spain was the first to legalise same sex marriage to the horror of the Vatican.

  • StephenJP

    Even if there was a Stormont Government in NI, there is a strong case for arguing that access to abortion is a human rights issue, and is therefore not among the powers devolved from Westminster. But of course May will not see it like that, even though at least one of her ministers (Maudaunt) apparently does.

  • Barry Duke
  • AgentCormac

    Ireland has always been the RCC’s version of an ISIS caliphate. But seemingly no more, thank goodness. And I would once again urge you all to email your MP to demand that women in Northern Ireland have access to safe, legal abortion too.
    As for Rees-Mogg, hasn’t he heard that the world is massively over-populated and we need to stop breeding like bloody rabbits? If he has he probably couldn’t care less and no doubt baby Sextus is already in the pipeline.

  • AgentCormac

    Oh, and it looks like Theresa May (or May Not – she just can’t make her mind up) has now said that she believes it would be wrong for Westminster to legislate on abortion in Northern Ireland as it should be decided by the devolved administration in Belfast. Hmmmm….call me cynical, but I wonder whether the views of the pre-historic DUP (you know, the dinosaurs who are propping up her government and upon whom she’s spent £1 billion of tax payers’ money to secure their votes) could have anything to do with that particular decision?