Irish pro-lifers march as abortion numbers ‘soar’

Bishop Kevin Doran, chairman of the Irish Bishops' Council for Life, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland, pose with some of those taking part in the March for Life rally in Dublin May 6, 2024. (OSV News photo/John McElroy, courtesy Pro Life Campaign)

DUBLIN (OSV News) — Those who took part in this year’s March for Life in Dublin May 6 were urged to “think pro-life” in next month’s local and European Parliament elections. Organizers said that “thousands” participated in the march, which took place on a bank holiday.

Eilís Mulroy, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson, urged the crowd gathered in front of the Irish parliament to vote on June 7 for candidates who are committed to finding ways to reduce “Ireland’s soaring abortion rate.”

She said reimbursements made to abortion providers in 2023 indicated that “the number of abortions carried out in that one-year period will exceed 10,000, representing a massive increase in abortions year-on-year since the new law took effect.”

A 2018 referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution paved the way for legislation legalizing abortion in Ireland in 2019.

Ahead of next month’s elections, the Pro Life Campaign is to publish a voter guide on candidates and where they stand on right to life issues.

In her address, independent politician Carol Nolan, who represents the Laois-Offaly constituency, said it is “devastating to see abortion numbers increase rapidly” and that “more and more people are starting to ask questions about what our leaders in government are presiding over.”

Another speaker, Calum Miller, a medical doctor in the U.K. who teaches philosophy and specializes in abortion policy at the University of Oxford, called for freedom of conscience protections to be strengthened for healthcare workers who do not wish to facilitate abortions.

Eroding conscience provisions, he warned, would result in medicine losing its soul and making it “a profession of killing.”

“If you rob medicine of conscience by expelling those who listen to their conscience, everyone is in danger. Is that the sort of healthcare system you want looking after you when you are weak and vulnerable?” Miller challenged.

Concern over the erosion of conscience protections was also highlighted by Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin in his homily during a Mass before the annual March for Life in Dublin.

Bishop Doran, who is chairman of the Irish bishops’ Council for Life, pledged to stand with doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals “who refuse to be bullied into participating in ending the lives of their patients.”

In his homily, Bishop Doran said that no law, no public policy and no peer pressure from neighbors or colleagues can remove the right and responsibility to advocate publicly for those who are most vulnerable, especially at the beginning and at the end of life.

The Irish Medical Council, he noted, has no policy on assisted suicide, and had “entirely removed the section on abortion from its code of conduct.”

There is “a radical continuity between the fertilized ovum and the child who is born at the end of nine months. That is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of scientific fact,” Bishop Doran said.


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