Ireland: The Victim of Orwellian Deceit

Ireland is currently the victim of an astounding deceit, the Orwellian “Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill.” It passed the Irish lower house or Dáil Éireann, and now goes on to their senate, which lacks the power to reject the measure, and on for signature from the, largely honorific, president who is in any case favorable. For the first time in its history direct abortion will be legal in Ireland under certain circumstances.

How did Catholic Ireland, the isle of saints and scholars, come to this pass? Two words suffice: Modernity & Europe. Islands can resist cultural corrosion better than most, but Ireland and Malta join Poland as a small pro-life minority in the European Union. The Old continent generally embraces legal abortion, with the notable exceptions above, and the micro-states of San Marino and the principalities of Andorra, Liechtenstein and Monaco as well as the Vatican City State.

Ireland is particularly targeted because of a remarkable public health achievement, one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world—about half the rate of maternal deaths as England and Wales where abortion-on-demand rules. Abortion promoters cannot stand this blatant contradiction to their propaganda that women need abortion as “Reproductive Health Care.” When in 2012 a pregnant Indian woman died in Ireland and her husband charged that she was refused a “life-saving” abortion, the international media pounced on this opportunity.  The medical facts, however, revealed that Savita Halappanavar’s infection would not have been cured and her life saved by killing her child.  References to the Halappanavar case are nonetheless standard fare in media coverage of Ireland continuing a long tradition of “don’t confuse me with the facts” journalistic reporting on the abortion issue.

The Emerald Isle passing pro-abortion legislation is emblematic of the cultural shift there. Politicians are now more comfortable taking their cues from the European Institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg than from their Catholic Bishops and Rome. The Church in Ireland has suffered increasing marginalization in the last 40+ years. Large declines in religious practice and vocations as well as highly publicized sexual and other scandals weakened the moral authority of the bishops. The prestige of the Catholic Church reached a nadir in 2011 when the Irish government closed its embassy to the Holy See in Rome, something unthinkable only a few years ago.

While publicly criticizing the bill the Irish bishops have not clearly declared that any politicians voting “yes” will be denied Holy Communion until publicly repenting. Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura—the highest court of the Church, has repeatedly reiterated this as the discipline imposed by Canon Law. The Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, also recently spoke out against abortion legalization, but the government has shown real contempt for Catholic teaching and opinion.

The courts are deeply involved in pressing the abortion agenda. The Irish Supreme Court infamously ruled in the 1992 “X” case that a pregnant woman has the right to an abortion to “save her life” from suicide. This is ridiculous on several levels. First, statistically speaking, women in general and pregnant mothers in particular, are the social group with the least risk of suicide. Second, scientific evidence is mounting that having an abortion, rather than being denied one, is a major risk factor in a woman committing suicide. Finally, the Irish Constitution, thanks to a pro-life referendum in 1983, states in article 40.3 that; “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.” It takes an incredibly twisted mind to interpret the words above as justifying the killing of an unborn child based on a “risk” that the mother will kill herself.

Nevertheless, Taoiseach or Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny has decided a threat of suicide should be grounds for a legal abortion in Ireland. He justifies himself with reference to the European Court of Human Rights’ 2010 “ABC” ruling requiring the Irish government to enact abortion legislation “clarifying” the law there. In passing this measure Kenny carried out his threat of mercilessly using the Parliamentary Whip. The five legislators from his party who followed their consciences and voted against the bill will not be allowed to stand for re-election as Fine Gael candidates.

All the lies and use of raw power in ramming through the abortion law have awakened many Irish consciences. The largest numbers of right to lifers in Irish history came out to protest. Legal challenges by pro-lifers of various parts of the abortion bill are poised to be filed as soon as the legislation is finalized. Prayer campaigns at the Irish National Shrine of Knock and elsewhere are taking place as well as prayer and fasting. Ireland must seize this crisis/opportunity to soul search and see if they will tolerate joining the ranks of nations that protect/practice the killing of preborn children.

Joseph Meaney


Joseph Meaney is the Director of International Coordination for Human Life International. Joseph completed his PhD in Bioethics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome in 2015. His bachelors and masters degrees from the Catholic University of Dallas and the University of Texas Institute of Latin American Studies prepared him for an international career that has included lectures and investigative journalism missions on six continents and over 67 countries. Before becoming Director of HLI's International Division, Joseph helped found and served four years as Vice Director of HLI's Rome Office. He speaks French, Spanish, and Italian fluently.

  • DRE

    We in Ireland are now living in “Humpty Dumpty” land.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Whilst certainly not justifying abortion, the risk of suicide is real enough

    According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), more than 10% of maternal deaths – deaths within one year of giving birth – are caused by suicide. This now makes Post Natal Depression the leading cause of maternal deaths.

    Moreover, the last RCOG report, ‘Why Mothers Die: Confidential Inquiry into Maternal Deaths’, stated that suicides due to PND were marked by their violence. While most female suicides are overdoses, these women died by hanging, jumping, cutting their throats, drowning or self-immolation.

    • anti rino

      One does not suffer Post Natal Depression before one gives birth.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Of course not. But those with a history of bi-polar disorder, PND or puerperal psychosis (and most suicides are multiparous)are at enhanced risk of suicide after delivery

    • Stephen_Phelan

      So women would be safer if no more children were ever born?

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        No, but some women would be safer; those with a history of the conditions I mentioned.

        • Stephen_Phelan

          They would surely be safer still if they had treatment for the actual problem, I’m sure, rather than having an abortion, with its consequent risks.

          • Bono95

            Exactly. And just how does one tell for sure if a woman really is suicidal? She can just claim insistently to get her child killed, even if she never intends to kill herself if she doesn’t succeed in getting an abortion.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              Most maternal suicides wanted the child. As Oates reports, of the cases she examined, “All of the early suicides were living in comfortable social circumstances and had an early, abrupt-onset psychotic illness, usually within days of childbirth”

              Women who exhibit similar symptoms, but where suicide is prevented, would be very unwise to risk a future pregnancy.

            • msmischief

              someone did a study of women who had claimed suicide risk in order to get an abortion in the days when they had to get approval from a board of doctors. not one actually killed herself when denied.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            The recommended treatment for puerperal psychosis or severe PND is a hysterectomy

            • Stephen_Phelan

              Source, please. As I understand it, the Catholic Church does not prohibit hysterectomy if it is to save the life of the woman, as long as no other treatment has worked. The guiding principle remains to treat both mother and child with the best possible care, preserving the ability to have children unless it is a severe risk to the health of the mother.

        • Alecto

          If that is true, then wouldn’t adoption provide the same relief? The evidence shows that women who have abortions suffer from depression at far higher rates than women who do not, they suffer from breast cancer rates in far greater numbers as well. All research demonstrates that abortion has long-term detrimental effects on women. But, why aren’t we including men in this debate? I don’t know whether there are studies on the fathers of these aborted children, but I would be willing to hypothesize they experience negative consequences from abortion as well.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            Adoption is not a cure for puerperal psychosis, which can persist for many years

            • Randall Ward

              give us a break, there is no excuse for killing babies. isn’t it better for the baby to live even if the mother dies? Most of us parents have dedicated our lives for our children and would gladly give our lives for our children.

            • Alecto

              Not familiar with that condition, but my guess is this is just another excuse, an easy way out for what is a psychiatric disorder requiring medication, therapy, patience and support. I doubt pregnancy causes this. It may exacerbate it, but that doesn’t justify abortion. And long-term I wonder if that child might actually help alleviate the mother’s suffering?

    • CharlesOConnell

      HARD CASES MAKE BAD LAW. Post-abortive women in Finland were 620% more prone to commit suicide than those who gave birth.

      Maternal Mortality in Finland [Abortion is a “Non-Issue” there] – Women of reproductive age (15-49) who died between 1987 and 1994 – 9,192 women studied. Source: STAKES, the statistical analysis unit of Finland’s National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health.”No Pregnancy” set as baseline-1.0, against which are measured rates for Birth, Miscarriage and Abortion.

  • Don

    The moral authority of the bishops across the globe continues to erode for the simple reason that they fail to confront evil when it stands clearly before them. From giving communion to pro-abortion senators to having tolerated sexual predators in the past. Increasing numbers of otherwise faithful Catholics are left wondering why they should stand firm when the bishops seem to be hiding.

    • GaudeteMan

      Wimpy bishops are as old as those hand-picked by Christ himself. Nevertheless, it is nauseating to see the inaction before the evil that looms over our Catholic heads. One wishes that it were only a simple case of human weakness and lack of courage but the evidence seems to suggest that its a tad more insidious than lack of virtue. I’m also tired of hearing the hackneyed praises of bishops who sent out letters to protest the HHS mandate…the same men whose priests for years rarely if ever preach against artificial contraception from their pulpits. Perhaps I need God’s mercy for saying so, but even our esteemed bishop of Rome seems to be more concerned with poverty and immigration than setting his chin like flint and combatting the depravity of homosexual marriage, the horror of the slaughter of the innocents or the callous attack on our cherished religious liberties by officials placed into office by turn-coat Catholics. Maybe in his wisdom he is playing his cards deftly and will pounce upon the enemies of the Church in a surprise fashion with us in tow! Meanwhile, Lord deliver us from cynicism and discouragement and Mother Mary we commit our Vicar into your hands! Amen.

  • Alecto

    Pro-death advocates must never, ever be allowed to rest on any victory, which must be always and ever be portrayed to them as fruitless and transitory. The assault on them must be overwhelming, ruthless, immediate and damaging. Protest, civil disobedience, retaliation both political and social for betrayal of the future of all civilization. The abortion culture can never be allowed to put down roots in Ireland as it has in the U.S. or the effects will devastate that society as it has American society.

    This is a war, a real war, an honest-to-goodness fight between good and evil for dominance. The U.S. pro-life movement has recent successes, and the trend is reversing, but 40 years of the abortion culture has wreaked havoc, often with help from Catholics. Don’t let it happen in Ireland. And whatever people think, this is not the time for tolerance, kindness or forgiveness! It is wasted! Only the most ruthless, unforgiving and brutal tactics will defeat the abortion lobby.

  • Alecto

    The abortion lobby is patient. The pro-life movement cannot afford to be. Don’t look to cowardly and marginalized clergy to lead the way on this issue. You will be waiting for Godot.

  • Eamonn McKeown

    I guess those D.C. youths that mugged me last year can keep my Irish passport now. What a bunch of gombeen men and women in the Dail – selling their souls to fit the Euro project. Was emigration too much of an embarrassment as de facto population control?

  • John O’Neill

    The Irish have abandoned their traditional beliefs and culture in order to slavishly follow the americans. They adulate Obama, the most pro abortion president in history. The next step is homosexual marriage which is on the backburner of the Irish government. The media culture of Britain and USA is the only culture the modern Irish know. My sainted parents would no longer recognize their country. Poor ould Ireland is now dead.

  • vito

    What are you all surprised about? The powerful never attack the powerful. They support each other. The Church never goes very straightforwardly against the Government. The Church did not oppose (in any meaningful or effective way) Hitler, did not oppose Mussolini, did not oppose Franco, why do you expect it to oppose pro-abortion politicians? Sometimes their path cross, and then the weaker side has to compromise. This time the Church is the weaker side

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  • Marie Dean

    I was talking with a holy priest at the December, 2012 rally in Dublin (I am in Dublin) and he told me that this moving away from the Gospel values and Church was a long time coming. Father stated, as we were standing with candles in the street outside the government buildings, that the adult population of Ireland did not appropriate an adult faith, but stayed like children-not reading, not studying, not praying or taking responsibility for their own souls. The result of this is a feel-good faith rather than an intellectual assent and a willingness to put politics before principles. Most Catholics have not read the CCC here, for example or Humanae Vitae. They have not interiorized adult ways of apologetics and discussing with those who do not believe.

    In addition, we discussed whether or not the lie of socialism led to the softening of the adult Catholic consciences here. One cannot be a socialist and a Catholic, as more than one pope (in fact all back to 1848) have said. Socialism creates a false dependency on the State and deadens individual responsibility. The Irish people have voted these people in and they get what they deserve. If the vast majority repent of being irreponsible to date for their faith and take hold of the Catholic view of governing, which is not socialism, maybe then there will be a change. In addition, there are many so-called Catholic women who contracept, especially the younger ones. Abortion and contraception mentalities overlap. Change? I doubt it. The years of personal compromise led to this horrible decision.

    As to blaming bishops, get over it, I say, as God is going to judge me, a lay person and not say at my particular judgement, “Oh you poor thing, you had a bad bishop”. I am responsible for my own salvation, with the grace of God, in and through the Church, We can get to heaven and hold the Truth up in the public sphere bishops or no bishops.

    • Alecto

      Great post, Marie. Your situation describes most American Catholics as well. They are cultural Catholics, not innately “Catholic”, or substantively practicing Catholics. However, this is where having a good bishop or priest can help people increase in faith by focusing attention on their responsibilities as Catholics. I notice very great differences between parishes I have attended where a priest emphasizes Catholic practices like Holy Hour attendance, providing a space for daily rosary devotions, encouraging people to go to confession and avail themselves of sacraments, displaying Catholic books and study volumes in the Narthex, participating in parish life, supporting and encouraging membership in groups like the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, etc…, or making retreats. Other parish priests seem oblivious to anything but social/political causes and pay no attention to their parishioners’ spiritual development.

      • Marie Dean

        I know I grew up in one of the worst dioceses in the Western World. It is so much easier when one has good leaders. Thanks

    • wraithby

      My parents emigrated from Connemara in the early 1950s. I spent summers in the West of Ireland from the late 60s . I sensed a waning of the Faith throughout those years. The Bishop Casey scandal in the 90s was the excuse that many lukewarm Catholics were waiting for. The decline of the Faith in Ireland spread like wildfire from that point. I believe that the Faith in Ireland was never as strong as popularly believed. Roman Catholicism’s identification with Irish nationalism was a poisoned well.

      • Marie Dean

        wraithby, especially as the IRA was influenced by Marxism from the very beginnings, which I have been studying on my own-and those who leave the Church because of sex scandals have no faith to begin with-four members of my family were abused and ALL kept the faith, married in the Church, raised kids Catholic-heroic virtue-yes, but what we are all called to

    • GaudeteMan

      Christ set up His Church hierarchically for a reason. Those in a position of authority do have the ability to scandalize, and the promise of having a ‘mill stone tied around their necks and being cast into the sea’ seems to indicate that Our Lord knew all too well the key role His shepherds, for better or worse, would have over the souls in His flock. Priests and bishops have real moral authority over the Catholic faithful and they above all Christians should work out their salvation in ‘fear and trembling.’ In the same way, parents are held to a similar standard in how they form or deform their children in the Catholic faith. Culpability has a direct relation to what the soul does or does not know. This is not to say that souls that do violence to the voice of the Holy Spirit in their consciences will be exempt from God’s just punishment simply because of their bishop.

  • WalterPaulKomarnicki

    and over the last few decades, there seems to have been an epidemic of breast cancers, but one hardly ever reads about a correlation between contraceptives and breast cancer, just coincidence?

    Just as abortion is touted as ‘therapeutuc’ in ‘saving’ the mother from some life-threatening distress…

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  • Outsiders are putting their feet in Ireland’s door.

    There are globalists behind this.