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Our spiralling abortion rate is a national tragedy the media want you to ignore

It’s an inconvertible fact that the number of abortions in Ireland has shot up dramatically since it was first made legal in the final days of 2018, despite assurances from leading campaigners, including then Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, that it would be ‘rare’.

Those assurances helped to repeal the 8th amendment, leading to the nauseating cheering and triumphalist conga lines celebrating the victory over helpless babies in Dublin Castle.

In the years that followed, the death toll from legalised abortion has climbed higher and higher. It is now anything but rare.

A disturbing 6,666 abortions took place in 2019 –
then another 6,577 babies were aborted in 2020.
There were a further 6,700 abortions in 2021.
Then the following year came another significant jump: up to a shocking 8,156 abortions in 2022.

Now, data released to Carol Nolan TD indicates that some 5,000 abortions have already taken place in the first six months of 2023. If that trend continues, then 10,000 abortions might be performed in Ireland in 2023, an additional surge in the already rocketing numbers.

The cumulative numbers are staggering: at least 33,000 abortions at the time of writing – in just four and a half years. It should be recognised as a national tragedy, a stain on our society, and a measure of the failure of the state and of those in power to offer better options for both mother and baby.

The strategy adopted by most of the media and the political establishment is, of course, to do all they can to deflect from that failure – to keep public attention away from the hugely disquieting number of abortions.

From the outset, they’ve persistently ducked the issue: ignoring the numbers, downplaying their significance, and avoiding any discussion around the obvious need to do something to tackle the perturbing rise.

So while the 8,156 abortions performed in 2022 was duly reported in a low-key way, there is no Prime Time special examining why we’re seeing this surge, no hand-wringing from the Minister for Heath, and certainly no suggestion that the spiralling rate should give anyone pause.

The Irish Examiner, always reliably biased on the issue, announced that 8,156 abortions had occurred and quickly moved in the next few paragraphs to discussing recommendations that the abortion law be broadened even further.

And despite the rising numbers, the Examiner’s columnists insist that access to abortion in Ireland is “patchy and paternalistic”, while their news reports endlessly amplify the extreme demands of abortion campaigners who want abortion on demand extended until 6 months.

It’s pretty much the same across most of the rest of the media. The strategy is so clear, and consistent, it might as well be choreographed.

Downplay the numbers;  ignore the horrifying findings about late-term abortion; report on mistaken diagnoses leading to abortion without any real focus on the need to rethink the culture; pretend that gentle elderly ladies saying prayers for women contemplating abortion are the real issue requiring further discussion; the deflection goes on and on.

Everything is fine, the media and the talking heads in the Dáíl insist, nothing to see here. In fact, even with 33,000 abortions already likely recorded, the only discussion around abortion you are likely to hear on Irish radio is the supposedly pressing need to ensure that the law is extended even further.

That’s why Pat Kenny of Newstalk, a strong supporter of repeal, invites abortion supporters like Ailbhe Smyth into the studio for a cosy chat where she can assert abortion provision is lagging “woefully behind” and that women “can’t get abortions” – though the figures clearly indicate that’s not the case.

There is, in other words, a great deal of effort being expended in order to create a level of indifference amongst Irish voters, mostly by keeping them in the dark as to what’s happening, by keeping the focus on everything but the horrifying numbers of babies killed.



Where is the honest analysis of where we are headed as a society, as a country, when our abortion rate seems to now be increasing in double digits. Is this the best we can do for women who face unexpected pregnancy: making abortion the first option, perhaps the expectation?

Then there is the personal tragedy always involved, however much we want to ignore it. The reality of the death of a child – tiny as we all once were, helpless as we all once were, utterly vulnerable as we all once were – is swept under the carpet.

It’s all too easy to dismiss the humanity of these children: they are collateral damage in the sexual revolution – in the war between the sexes which has not fulfilled its promise of equality and mutual respect and increased understanding.

Now 33,000 unborn children have been aborted in this shiny new progressive Ireland where abortion advocates have said such numbers are something to celebrate.

There should be, in their view of it, no mercy and no mourning for the 33,000 children whose lives have been ended. No recognition for the dead child, who is, in the words of Robert Bridges, a “perfect little body, without fault or stain on thee”.

So as the numbers look set to climb to 10,000 this year, there will be no call for reflection, no pause to rethink abortion, no consideration as to whether we have made a terrible mistake which now brings loss and despair rather than freedom.



And yet. The unease around what is occasionally revealed about abortion in Ireland can sometimes be palpable. Outside of the bubble of abortion extremism which seems to have such control of the Dáil, its my experience that most people do not think abortion is something to celebrate.

There are also many women who are now sharing that their experience of taking two pills to ‘expel the products of conception’ was not what they had been to led to believe it would be. Instead, they said, it was “painful” “horrific” and “traumatising”.

Similarly, recent research from University College Dublin, published in the Journal of Sexual and Reproductive Health, shared responses of medics working in abortion provision. One of the midwives said: “I suppose morally and ethically the hardest thing definitely is seeing the little fetus, you know, at the end of it all … they are formed so well, like even little fingernails and, you know, it’s just unbelievable really the formation even just at, you know, coming up to that twelve-week mark.”

“And just even the position. A lot of the time, they just have their little hands underneath their chin, or their hands could be across their chest …,” she added.

I have watched my own newborn babies sleeping in just that position, with their little hands underneath their chin. Where is our humanity, our pity, our mercy, for the 33,000 babies who were killed before they had a chance to draw breath? Where is our genuine compassion which urges us to offer women a better answer than the cruelty of abortion?

Abortion doesn’t seem to have made woman happier, or safer, and it hasn’t made us feel more respected or valued.

Each year when Life Institute runs its campaign highlighting the death toll from abortion the most common response we receive from member of the public is one of shock and disbelief. And every year, the numbers get worse.

It used to be that Ireland had aborted the equivalent of the population of Killarney – now it has risen to the size of Navan or Kilkenny. Soon it will be enough children to fill Croke Park. Those numbers represent a cold, hard reality that many reluctant Yes voters will eventually come to realise.

We are aborting our future, or to be more precise, those who favor abortion are likely aborting theirs. There will come a tipping point when those two factors can no longer be ignored.

This article was originally HERE on Gript and is published here with permission

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