“The turnout today shows that the middle ground of Irish opinion is increasingly concerned about the Government’s abortion legislation,” Ms Simons told the crowd. “There are people here who never attended a pro-life event before. The message is getting through that this legislation is not restrictive or about saving women and children’s lives, despite the repeated claims by the Taoiseach and his Government,” she said.
The medical profession is radically divided over the proposed legislation, according to Ms Simmons, “because there is nothing evidence-based about the claim that abortion can be the right response to a suicide threat”.
People’s trust in politicians would “suffer badly the more it appears that the Government is giving false reassurances,” she added.
“It’s clear from who’s cheer-leading this Bill what it’s really about,” she said, “and that’s abortion on request. This is inevitable, once a suicide threat is the basis for certifying an abortion.”
“There is still time for the Government to change its plans by focusing on guidelines instead of the legislation for the X case. This way, we can meet the requirements of the European court without opening the door to abortion,” she said.
The vigil also heard moving testimony from Down footballer John McAreavey. “Other countries have made the mistake of legalising abortion and have unleashed a terrible sadness across their societies. Often it is a hidden sadness. Let’s not make that mistake in Ireland,” Mr McAreavey said in a recorded message.
The event’s organisers said they were especially pleased with the turnout.
“Other pro-life organisations will have events in the coming weeks and we encourage the public to support them as well,” they said.