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5 years since repeal: 5 reasons we were right to vote no.

Tomorrow will mark the 5th anniversary of a shameful day in Ireland’s history, when compassion was turned in its head, and when the weakest and most vulnerable of al l our people were stripped of all protection.The rights of unborn children had to be removed, we were told, because that would empower women and make them safer. That hasn’t happened.There was no need for concern, because abortion would be safe, legal and ‘rare’, we were told. That hasn’t happened.

Maternal healthcare would be safer, we were told. That hasn’t happened.

Mistakes in diagnoses would not be made, we were told. Unborn children would not be diagnosed incorrectly in the womb and aborted, a ‘mistake’ that is impossible to undo. But within three months of abortion being legalised, that did happen.

Late-term abortions would be outlawed, we were told, and anyone who said otherwise was a scaremonger and a liar. But now we know – from the abortion doctors themselves – that these cruel and pitiless procedures are happening in our maternity hospitals.

The culture wouldn’t change, we were told, people with Down Syndrome would not be aborted at the horrifying rates seen in countries. But that did happen.

The media, who were of course the most effective and persuasive element of the Yes campaign, prefer to turn a blind eye to the horrifying outcomes of repealing the 8th.

But facts are stubborn things, and while the truth – to paraphrase Baltasar Gracián – may lag last, the arm of time will eventually bring it to the finish.

Five years after pro-lifers were sadly proved right about everything: here are just five of the reasons we’re still glad we voted No


Some 8,500 women availed of abortion services in 2022, Minister Stephen Donnelly enthusiastically told RTÉ News las tmonth. He made it sound like a boast.

To voters – including many Yes voters who were persuaded by the promises made by Leo Varadkar and others that abortion would be “rare” – the huge jump is very disturbing.

Some 6,666 abortions took place in Ireland in 2019, the first year of the abortion regime – more than double the number of abortions which had been carried out on 2,879 women who travelled to Britain for the procedure in 2018. An unknown number of women, estimated by some at 1,000 or more, also took abortion pills in that year.

The appalling rise in the abortion rate in 2019 reversed almost a decade of decline in the number of abortions undergone by women living in Ireland.

And the rise is continuing on a devastating upward trajectory.

2019 – 6,666 babies killed by abortion.
2020 – 6,577 abortions carried out despite the Covid lockdown in March.
2021 – 6,700 abortions estimated by the government who said Covid meant not all correct records were kept.
2022 – Another shocking jump in numbers: Stephen Donnelly enthusiastically announces 8,500 abortions took place.
2023 to May 25th  – estimated numbers using lowest year (6577) is 2,740 abortions.

That’s more than 31,000 abortions.

Every one a growing, living human being, who had value, whose life had meaning.
This massive upwards shift was predicted by pro-life activists during the 2018 referendum and strongly denied by abortion campaigners including members of government.

We can see who was telling the truth now.


During the 2018 campaign, the families of people with Down Syndrome were repeatedly attacked for warning that repealing the 8th could have a catastrophic effect on the numbers of babies with the condition aborted before birth.

They were shamefully shouted down by both the media and abortion campaigners, but now the facts have emerged.

Some 95% of babies are diagnosed with Down syndrome at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin are now aborted, the then master of the hospital, Dr Fergal Malone told the Irish Times in 2022,

In response,Conor O’Dowd, a young man with Down syndrome, has delivered a letter to the Rotunda maternity hospital urging them to ‘save babies’ after the master, Dr Fergal Malone, said 95% of babies with the condition were now aborted – almost double the 50% aborted figure he previously gave in 2018.

His father, Michael O’Dowd, a disability rights campaigner, said that the claim that 95% of parents at the Irish maternity hospital were aborting where the baby had Down Syndrome was like a “gut punch – and urged the Rotunda to review how it was handling the issue.

Conor gave a heartfelt speech at the hospital, directly addressing Prof Malone. “I love my life”, the young chef and photographer said, “I don’t understand why people are trying to take away people with Down syndrome.”

Ireland should be ashamed, deeply ashamed, of this horrifying statistic. No amount of spin can change the fact that people with Down Syndrome are being quietly eliminated.

I’m very glad I didn’t vote Yes to that.


The shocking revelations from a UCC study published in a peer-reviewed journal confirmed that late-term abortions are happening in Ireland – something voters were promised would not happen.

The method being used is feticide, where the baby is given a lethal injection of potassium chloride into the heart.

Potassium chloride is controversially used to execute prisoners on death row. As researcher Ruth Foley previously observed, in the US, it is considered so painful that the authorities in charge of executions consider it necessary to first give anaesthetic to avoid being inhumane to the prisoner being put to death.

A recent article in the Washington Post confirmed that an injection of potassium chloride can cause such pain and suffering in adults being executed that both an anesthetic and a paralytic are administered prior to the lethal substance. The author, an associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, cautions that even these measures may only mask rather than prevent the “burning pain” of the administration of the poison.

There is no obligation to give babies undergoing late-term abortions in Ireland pain relief.

While abortion supporters, their allies in the media, and politicians initially denied all knowledge of the UCC study, now the government’s own review of the operation of the 2018 abortion law has found that babies are being born alive after abortion – and may be denied even comfort care after the procedure failed to end their lives.

Discussing palliative care – where comfort care is needed for babies born alive after a late-term abortion – the review coldly notes that some paediatricians and neonatologists do not want to be involved in assisting these babies.

“However, the extent to which they are prepared to become involved is described as differing across settings and differing across the circumstances of the birth, with some not being prepared to offer comfort care where the birth is a result of a termination of pregnancy,” the review, authored by barrister Marie O’Shea, notes.

In the UCC study, the authors note that the specialists carrying out abortion were frustrated by conflict with neonatologists and were “unclear” as to who will look after those babies’ if a baby was “born alive following an abortion by induction of labour and without feticide”.

This would leave the doctor who performed an unsuccessful late-term abortion “begging people to help” them provide palliative care if the baby survived, the study recorded.

The scenario is simply horrifying. Only the hardest of hearts, the cruellest of policymakers, would not find this deeply, deeply disturbing. A child, born alive after an abortion, likely struggling to breathe, left without care, with doctors – those who are meant to save lives – hoping they will die.

We also know that another study – also carried out by abortion-advocating medics – and published in April 2021, says senior Irish doctors were being trained internationally to carry out late-term dismemberment abortions, known as ‘Dilation and Evacuation’.

Most people will tell you they didn’t vote for that either. They were horribly deceived.


After the referendum had been won by using fear to bully voters into believing that abortion was needed to keep women safe, Simon Harris said this would be “a new era for women’s health ushered in by a prevailing spirit of solidarity, inclusivity and equality.”

Fine words. They weren’t, unfortunately, always matched by actions or by outcomes.

Harris, in fact, took money from the National Maternity Strategy to pay for abortion. That Strategy was designed, in the wake of Savita Halappanvar’s death, to try to ensure that women were safe in pregnancy, and sought to address vitally important issues such as sepsis, staffing and more.

We now know that within months of the 8th being repealed two women died in Ireland’s maternity hospitals, in a country which, when the 8th was in place, had been described as one of the safest places in the world for a mother to have a baby.

Karen McEvoy from Kildare, died of sepsis after giving birth to a baby girl in the Coombe maternity hospital.

Marie Downey from Limerick, who had given birth to a little boy, died in Cork University Maternity Hospital after suffering a severe epileptic seizure. She was trying to raise the alarm when she collapsed on the floor of her room, trapping her baby underneath her. Baby Darragh also died two days later, and was buried cradled in his mother’s arms. Just three nurses were on duty on the ward that night, caring for 31 patients. Like many other maternity hospitals, staff in CUMH have been complaining to the Minister for Health for years about the lack of resources.

Simon Harris wasn’t asked any hard questions about these tragedies. The media was too busy admiring his endless tweets supporting abortion and, since the 8th wasn’t around any longer to blame, reporters didn’t seem that interested.

Neither are they interested in doing anything substantial about the number of pregnant homeless women in this shiny, new, supposedly progressive Ireland.

One of those women, heavily pregnant, and homeless woman was beaten so savagely in Dublin city centre two years ago that she lost her baby.

That pregnant women are homeless in Ireland in the first instance tells you all you need to know about the priorities of those in power who told us that abortion was the magic wand to solve women’s problems.

In fact, until last month, the HSE’s website told women who had taken the abortion pill to flush their baby’s body “down the toilet”.

The lack of compassion or human decency is staggering.


Within three months of Harris’s legislation being passed a nightmare scenario arose for parents attending the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.

Their perfectly healthy 16-week baby boy was aborted in 2019 on the basis of a misdiagnosis in the hospital. The parents of the baby boy indicated they felt under pressure to abort their child, and were told not to wait for the result of a second test.

After the abortion, the final results of the test came back and the baby, who his parents had named Christopher, was found to be perfectly healthy, but by then it was too late.

The abortion has been described as a “catastrophic error” – but the parents are still fighting for a satisfactory inquiry into what happened.

When parents in Every Life Counts repeatedly warned that parents would face this kind of pressure, and that babies with suspected serious disabilities would be targeted, they were shouted down or ignored. They have tragically been proved right.

And now we have learned that there are MORE such horrifying cases.

The 2018 legislation allows abortion to take place without term limits if the baby is believed to have a life-limiting condition that means the child might not live for more than 28 days after birth.

Information released to Peadar Tóibín TD shows that the State is currently being sued in two ongoing cases of a wrongful diagnosis in relation to the abortion act.

The State Claims Agency confirmed that there were “two ongoing claims from persons alleging that their unborn baby was wrongfully diagnosed with a condition sufficient to bring them within the scope of the Health Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018.”.

Vicky Wall of Every Life Counts, which is a support network for families where an unborn baby has been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, has urged a full review of how the culture in maternity hospitals may be pushing parents towards abortion.

“This is an absolute bombshell. It is almost unbelievable that we are hearing of two more babies that have been aborted in this way,” she said. “Where is the inquiry, and the media headlines? Why isn’t the HSE and the Minister being held to account.”

Again, there are very many Yes voters who were assured that these outcomes would never happen. Many of those will be wishing they had voted No.

Incredibly, despite the appalling outcomes in the 5 years since repeal, abortion campaigners and their allies in the media are busy banging a drum for even more abortion.

They want the law widened so that more babies with disabilities can be aborted and they want to scrap the three day-waiting period which is estimated to have given almost 1,000 women space to think again about aborting their baby.

One of their number even tweeted that the 6,666 abortions which took place in the first year were 6,666 reasons to celebrate.

Most people will find that a revolting comment.

And most people will come to realise that they were utterly deceived by those who persuaded them that the 8th needed to be repealed.

Five years later, I’m still glad I voted No. I always will be. Abortion is the very antithesis of compassion. 

This piece was first published on Gript

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