National Convention for Life 2014

At a Glance


April, 12, 2014

What's this about?

The National Convention for Life was held in the PRINTWORKS CONFERENCE, DUBLIN CASTLE, on Saturday, 12 April 2014.

The National Convention for Life was held in the PRINTWORKS CONFERENCE, DUBLIN CASTLE, on Saturday, 12 April 2014. Numbers totally exceeded expectations, and over 800 people attended the conference, which was described as 'invigorating', 'electric', 'exciting' and 'much-needed.'

Renew Hope. Rebuild Faith. Revive Commitment.

Josiah Presley

Luis Losada

Dr. Rafael Cabrera

Jill Stanek

Dr. Peter Saunders

Tracy Harkin

Senator Jim Walsh

Luca Volonté

Declan Ganley

Lila Rose

Mattie McGrath, TD

Some of the speakers

Lila Rose/ USA

Journalist, Media Commentator and exposing the Abortion industry

Lila Rose broke new ground when she used undercover investigations to reveal the abuses of the abortion industry - and then used new media to make her shocking findings known. She is the face of a new generation of pro-life activists in the US who are committed to ending abortion in their lifetime. She also oversees pro-life social media platforms on the web, including over 600,000 Facebook fans and over 30,000 followers on Twitter. Lila is a regular guest on many national TV and radio programs, and was recently named among the National Journal's "25 Most Influential Washington Women Under 35”.

Dr. Peter Saunders / Britain

Doctor and President of "Care not Killing"

Dr Peter Saunders is one of the most well-known and respected commentators on life issues. At the National Convention he will address caring for unborn children with terminal disorders, and look at medical opposition to child euthanasia in Belgium.

Bernnadette Smyth / Northern Ireland

Director of Precious Life

A mother of four, Smyth founded the activist group Precious Life in 1997 and has since helped make it Northern Ireland’s largest and most active pro-life organization.

Under Smyth’s continued leadership, Precious Life has capitalized on its political influence and dynamic grassroots base in 2013, popularizing the European Citizens’ Initiative “One of Us.” This program aims to protect the rights of the human embryo across European Union-member states, assisting with the March for Life in Dublin last July — which saw a turnout of 50,000 people — and continuing to fight to protect the legal protections afforded to unborn children in Northern Ireland.

Luca Volonté / Italy

Italian Politician

Luca Volonté is the Italian politician who brought Enda Kenny to task for refusing Fine Gael deputies the right to conscientious objection on abortion. Luca has also led successful initiatives against euthanasia, such as the resolution passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2012 stating that “euthanasia must always be prohibited", and a 2010 resolution that strengthened freedom of conscience for doctors and medical staff.

Niamh Uí Bhriain / Ireland

President of Life Institute

Niamh Uí Bhriain is one of Ireland's best known pro-life commentators and leaders, who has appeared on major national and international news and current affairs programmes, and written extensively on pro-life issues.   
Working with the Life Institute and in conjunction with Youth Defence, she has helped to produce some of the most creative and effective pro-life campaigns seen in Ireland, with many of those messages also being used by pro-life groups right across the world. She says, "We are raising up a new generation to inform, educate and influence the culture, to provide a better answer for mothers and babies, and to ultimately abolish abortion," she says.  The Life Institute is a centre of excellence for pro-life information, undertakes important research on pro-life issues, and is wholly committed to bringing Ireland back to life. 

Niamh had the privilege of meeting Blessed John Paul II in private audience, where he told Irish pro-life activists to 'continue in your apostolate and be courageous'.

Dr. Eoghan de Faoite / Ireland

Director and Pro-Life advocators and pro-life advocate

Carolyn O'Meara / Ireland

Nurse and Crisis Pregnany Cousellor Nurse and Crisis Pregnancy Counsellor

‘Carolyn O’Meara married to Paul for five years and she has three small children, Briain, Shonagh and Odhran.

She is a qualified mental health and pediatric nurse currently working in pediatrics. Carolyn has been involved in pro life work since the age of 14 and is the founder and director of Gianna Care. This is a free service to women and their families who find themselves in unexpected pregnancies and those suffering after abortion.’

Tracy Harkin / Ireland

Mother of Kathleen Rose and spokesperson to the mother of kathleen. Mother and Spokesperson Every life counts.

Tracy Harkin's baby girl, Kathleen Rose, was born with Trisomy 13, a condition sometimes insensitively described as 'incompatible with life'. Doctors said her future was bleak. Seven years later, Kathleen Rose is not just alive, she is thriving and enjoying life with her loving family. "She is not incompatible with life, she is the love of our lives," say Tracy and her husband Tom. Hear the amazing and uplifting story of Kathleen Rose as told by her mother Tracy.

Jill Stanek / USA

Whistleblower and law changer

Jill Stanek was working as a nurse when she blew the whistle on what was happening to babies who survived abortions in hospitals right around the world. Her actions led to the Born Alive Act in the US which protects children who survive abortion and to a massive public debate on the reality of the abortion industry. Following the Born Alive Act, pro-life laws restricting abortion were passed in many states, and the US has now seen its abortion rate drop to the lowest point since Roe vs Wade.

Luis Losada / Spain

Overturning the Abortion on demand law

Last month, Spain made history as the first EU country to overturn legislation which had made abortion-on-demand lawful. Journalist Luis Losada will explain how the pro-life movement succeeded in reversing the law and how pro-life activists are now working towards a total ban on abortion. Luis also works with the Citizen Go initiative which mobilises public support for pro-life initiatives.

My Convention: Jane

Attending the National Convention for Life, which was held on The 12th of April in Dublin Castle, was an experience I won’t forget.

As soon as I arrived at 9am there was an huge crowd already queuing up for the conference. People of all ages had travelled the length and breadth of the country to be there and there was a buzz about the place from the get go. Everyone there, myself included, came with the hope of being uplifted and renewed in the prolife movement, and we certainly were not disappointed.

It has been a turbulent past year for the prolife cause in Ireland. This conference was vital to sustain us as we move forward with our prolife efforts.

The array of speakers from various countries highlighted the two options that were available to Ireland at present. The first is we could follow in the footsteps of somewhere like Nicaragua and relentlessly challenge the laws on abortion in our country until they are overturned. Nicaragua is a beacon of hope for us to never give up the good fight. Dr Rafael Cabrera spoke about how their his country reversed the law on abortion to ultimately ban abortion in Nicaragua. He shows us that determination brings results. Alternatively, if we do nothing, we could find ourselves in a similar situation to America. Prolife veterans Jill Stanek and Lila Rose exposed the reality of the heinous abortion industry in America and opened my eyes to what is at stake if we allow abortion in Ireland. These courageous women really stood out to me. Jill Stanek sacrificed her career to expose the awful truth that abortions were being committed in her workplace and that babies who survive abortion were just left to die without any medical care. Lila Rose audaciously went undercover to abortion clinics in America and discovered the abortion provider Planned Parenthood was breaking the law and covering up abuse. The testimonies of these two daring ladies made me more determined than ever not to let these appalling atrocities happen in my own country. The sharp contrast presented to us of what is possible when we persevere and what will happen if we make abortion permissible, fortified us in our fight for life.

Currently there is a lot of debate surrounding the issue of abortion for babies with terminal illnesses. It was so refreshing to hear the other side of the debate. The compassionate side. The side where a mother chooses to carry her terminally ill baby to birth, or for as long as she can, so that her baby has every chance at life. Tracey Harkin’s story really moved me. Tracey was told the devastating news that her baby daughter, Kathleen Rose, was diagnosed with Trisomy 13. She was told that she would not live for long after birth. However, to this day Kathleen Rose is still here and now aged 7 years old. This remarkable story highlights the fact that life is precious and is to be cherished. It also highlights the fact that sometimes there can be a misdiagnosis and that babies can fight the odds and survive for lengthy periods of time.

To hear from a survivor of an abortion was an incredible thing. To hear Josiah Presley say “Am I not a human being?” was powerful. I would like to see him pose this question to a person who is pro-abortion. His story is indisputable. His personal and touching story humanises the abortion debate. Babies who are aborted are not clumps of cells. They are real people, like Josiah.

The Convention for Life did not just talk the talk but also walked the walk. A criticism often argued against the prolife movement is that it does not care for women in crisis pregnancy. It is said that prolife people just judge women in pregnant crises without providing any actual help or support. Carolyn O’ Meara told us of the fantastic work done by the volunteers in Gianna Care who truly support and help women through their pregnancy. They provide free pregnancy ultrasound, free maternity/baby equipment and free post abortion support. Her account of the work done by Gianna Care is in sharp contrast to the so called ‘help and support’ provided to women by the Irish Family Planning Association who were caught telling Irish women to lie to their doctors about having an abortion and who were also found showing Irish women how to smuggle illegal abortive pills into the country. Gianna Care’s persistent presence at the entrance of Marie Stopes’ Clinics has saved many babies from abortion. The ceaseless work of Gianna Care for women in crisis pregnancy is astounding.

There were so many inspiring speakers at the National Convention for Life it is difficult to mention them all. But one thing is for sure, they all had a profound effect on me. They were all people I aspire to be like. It was evident from overhearing the people attending the conference that the speakers had a profound effect on them too. The prolife warriors who spoke at the conference renewed hope, rebuilt faith and revived commitment in the Irish people. I am looking forward to next year’s one already!

The Girl Who Loved: The Amazing Story of Kathleen Rose

Having attended the National Convention for Life recently in Dublin I was lucky to have heard the wonderful story Tracy Harkin had to tell.

Originally from Antrim, Tracy was living in Washington State when she became pregnant on her fifth child and she felt she had nothing to worry about. Everything was going along so perfectly that she decided after her 20 week scan to have a home water birth.

Kathleen Rose was born November 2006: a beautiful baby girl floating up into her mother's arms, something Tracy will never forget. But within a couple of hours this little girl started to show signs of trouble, and she was brought to the local children's hospital for a check up. After two hours of doctors coming and going Tracy felt urged to baptise her baby girl, saying “ Lord we deserve baptism for our little girl, help her and strengthen her”.

Shortly afterwards little Kathleen's body began to turn a terrifying blue colour which seemed to spread across her little body. Doctors came from everywhere, pummeling her tiny chest and pushing tubes down her neck, desperately trying to revive the tiny child. Kathleen Rose did not die that day, but the following days and weeks became a terrifying whirlwind of endless tests, with each one producing results that seemed worse than the previous.

Within a week she was diagnosed with Trisomy 13, a chromosome anomaly that affects 1 in 1000 children, where the child has an extra 13th chromosome. The information Tracy received did not inspire hope. She was told 90% of babies with this diagnosis did not make it to their first birthday. If Kathleen Rose's condition had been diagnosed before birth she would have been deemed “incompatible with life” and Tracy would no doubt have been urged to abort. Now this tiny one week old baby was termed “life limited”, and yet this little “life limited” girl lying in a hospital on a ventilator had the ability to touch the hearts of so many people. Masses, prayers and holy relics came from all over the world, dinners were sent for the family, people all over offered support to this precious child and her family.

But on the other hand there were the medical staff who were telling Tracy and her husband Tom that she didn't have to do this, that they could withdraw treatments, just give up! She knew this was not an option; that her little girl deserved her life. Kathleen Rose was more than a fatal diagnosis or a case to be given up on - she was an individual, a precious baby girl, and because of the determination of her parents medics started to treat Kathleen Rose that way too. Despite the gloomy diagnosis, doctors found none of her organs were fatally affected. She got the best of care possible, and 6 weeks later, following the insertion of a feeding tube, Kathleen Rose was ready to come home.

For the first year Kathleen Rose appeared to do well, and, like any other baby her age, she made attempts to move around and crawl. It wasn't until a sleep study was undertaken that they found that Kathleen Rose also had severe sleep apnea (a chronic medical condition where a person repeatedly stops breathing during sleep). In fact the consultant was astounded that she was still alive, but due to the severity of the apnea they really though she would not survive much longer.

With this new heartbreaking diagnosis they decided it was time to come home to Ireland, so little Kathleen Rose could live out her time with their families.

But despite the rollercoaster first year and all the diagnoses Kathleen Rose proved to be a fighter and kept bouncing back. By age 3, her health conditions had stabilized and she went from strength to strength, defying all odds and confounding the medical experts.

She is now a happy 7 year old little girl with a cheeky little grin, with an abundance of energy and a love for mischief and bear hugs! I had the privilege of meeting her at the National Convention for Life and she slots so perfectly into her family that they couldn't imagine it without her. She is obviously adored by her siblings, and seen as a precious gift by her whole family.

Tracy began to search the internet to find other cases like that of Kathleen Rose, and what she found was disturbing. Tracy saw that other parents in similar circumstances were been given outdated information which strongly suggested that intervention after birth was always a waste of time. Children born with a 'fatal diagnosis' were not always examined or given oxygen - sometimes not even fluids were given. They were not treated as the unique children they were but only as a fatal diagnosis. She saw that it has become an acceptable norm to convince parents that it is responsible and compassionate choice to end the life of their baby before it is born, and then to refuse intervention which could assist after the baby is born.

Evidence of this attitude was recently discussed in a review in the medical journal Current Opinion in Pediatrics which stated that there "has been a trend from nonintervention for infants/children with trisomy 18 toward management to prolong life. It has become clear that the prognosis for infants/children with trisomy 18 is not as ‘hopeless’ as was once asserted." The review concluded that "[h]ealthcare management approaches or policies that reject out of hand the goal of prolonging the life of any infant/child with trisomy 18 are not defensible".

Tracy shared that here in Ireland more than 90% of parents continue with the pregnancy after a very poor diagnosis. She is now part of the Every Life Counts initiative which is working to protect children and families, and pressing for perinatal hospice services in Ireland, to provide support and life affirming services to parents and babies who are facing 'life-limiting' diagnosis. Like so many other families, Tracy wants parents to be given the gift of time, and the loving and supporting care their children deserve. These children will not be just seen as “incompatible with life” or “life limited” but as the beautiful unique individuals that they are, deserving of making their mark on this world regardless of how short or how tiny that mark may be, because every life is precious, and there is no footprint too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

Declan Ganley: Speaking at the National Convention for Life

Born in England to Irish parents in 1968, Declan Ganley came from humble beginnings but is now a renowned businessman and political activist.  Outspoken by nature, Declan challenges the political elite both in Ireland and Europe. He is a formidable character in the eyes of the major political parties for his attempts to reshape and reform 21st century politics, and in doing so never shies away from his pro-life stance.  Declan Ganley addressed the National Convention for Life at Dublin Castle with a superb speech.

Declan challenges the 'pro-choice' status quo and acknowledges that throughout history it was the same tactic of dehumanization that led to human rights abuses such as slavery.  Mentioning the historic Dredd's case of 1851 which was the US Supreme Court ruling defending slavery, Declan states “slaves were not people at all but property. Not people at all, but property bears repeating.  To oppress, to kill and to enslave, you must first declare your victim different and then strip them of their humanity. To justify mass slaughter you must first designate your victims not as human but a threat to humanity.  You must say that the people you wish to eliminate are not as human as the rest of us but for mankind can never truly justify the destruction of itself.  To ignore hunger or famine or draught to leave people starving on the streets, to pass the beggar sheltering in the doorway and say to yourself, I'll ignore his plight, you must first say to yourself that he is not the same as you, that he is not what you are but something less.”

On the Buck v Bell US Supreme Court case of 1927, which was used to justify the forced sterilization of people with intellectual disabilities, Declan explains “ We are programmed because we are creatures of empathy, not to kill or enslave the vulnerable and because we are human if we want to kill and enslave the vulnerable we must first declare them different and less than human.  And this is what people who support abortion have done.

The definition of conservatism is being disposed to preserving existing conditions or seeking limited change.  The medieval practice of abortion has being normalized in the media, the political sphere and in society on a global scale. Declan claims that the language used by abortion proponents to defend their argument “is designed to dehumanize, to strip from the unborn in cases where it suits them the words we use to describe ourselves as human beings. To render themselves comfortable with the acts they support, they must strip their victims of all the protection of human empathy and reduce them to a mere choice, as if to have the decision to have a child was the same as the decision to buy a new suit.”

The pro-life argument remains consistent and definitive amongst all global activists regardless of creed, race, culture etc. Human life begins at the moment of conception. Science has proven this vital fact, otherwise what species is a zygote, embryo or foetus if not human!  

However, in the pro-abortion camp there is a wide variation of replies, humanity begins at 12 weeks for some, 16 weeks, 20 weeks for others and every stage until birth.  What is deeply disturbing is that Professor of Bioethics, Francesca Minvera and others believe in afterbirth abortion, abortion should be permissible until an infant is self-reliant. In a recent edition of Slate magazine, feminist and abortion proponent Mary Elizabeth Williams, wrote an article entitled “So What if Abortion Ends Life”. In it she confesses that throughout her own pregnancies she never doubted that she was carrying a human being, but according to Mary Elizabeth some lives are just less equal than others. 

Declan goes on to quote “Progressives and liberals have always claimed to be on the side of progress and justice.  It was Emmanuel Kant who said that progressivism was a movement away from barbarism and towards civilization.”  Barbarian was a term first used in the Greek and Roman empires as a means of describing an outsider in a pejorative fashion, notably abortion was also a common practice in pagan Greek and Roman territories.  Irony?  Time has moved on and imaginary lines have being drawn in the consciences of those who favour abortion, it is up to us to erase those lines with the words of truth and justice to those who will listen.  Every fight against dehumanization has been fought by a minority.  “Every fight for human life and human freedom was opposed by an establishment arrogant in their certainty, every campaign has had its defeats and its setbacks as we all here know too well.  The road to victory will be hard and long,” said Declan.  Those who favour abortion are on the wrong side of history he claims.

The political establishment in Ireland appears to be a closed-shop, with no intentions of political reform to our flailing system but Declan Ganley is a breathe of fresh air.  Daniel O'Connell, akin to Declan Ganley, was an eloquent orator, who fought hard for Catholic emancipation two centuries ago. Although the challenges of 21st Century Ireland are different, will Mr. Ganley be the emancipator of democracy and openness in this country rather than the political spin being currently pushed on the electorate? Time will tell but we do know for definite that Declan Ganley, with his ardent support for human life, has already etched his mark in Irish history.

Luca Volonté: Speaking at the National Convention for Life

'In the election, show Enda Kenny that you did not want abortion': Luca Volonté of Italy spells out

Luca Volonté is the Italian politician who took Enda Kenny to task for refusing Fine Gael deputies the right to conscientious objection on abortion. He welcomed the attendees to the National Convention for Life in Dublin by telling them that just by making the choice to be there, they were already winning the battle against the current liberal mindset amongst elites on abortion. He declared that “our world needs to be saved from folly and that it’s time for us to take action”

Luca outlined the many ridiculous paradoxes and contradictions that are currently contained in our many rights and charters, treaties and political decisions. He said that the world is busy protecting puppy seals and whales, fighting against experimentation on dogs - but more than willing to kill its children. “This way we are going to live in a world full of sad and lonely animals,” he said to the amusement of the huge crowd.

It is Luca’s deep belief, however, that it is not possible to erase from the heart of human beings, an innate desire to be real and to live. He also said that a myriad of different declarations and charters recognise our right to conscientious objection and that these international treaties cannot be overlooked by those in power in Ireland or elsewhere. He declared that no one should be obligated to vote for laws or participate in the murder of innocent human beings, and that we are all called to have courage in these matters.

“Enda Kenny has become not only a man without bravery and coherence, but an unjustly cruel man. There is no other way to explain the exclusion of his party partners who voted against abortion,” he said to sustained applause.

He outlined for those not familiar with the European People's Party (EPP) (of which Fine Gael is a member) that imposing severe penalties on colleagues for voting in accordance with their consciences on such a fundamental matter is alien to the basic values of the EPP and that the EPP also include in their platform that “human life should be protected from its beginning until its natural end”.

He also spoke about how much Europe owes to the Irish, for their contribution to civilisation and, having been born on St Patrick’s Day himself (much to the delight of the audience!), how he feels a special affinity with the country. “ Stop the snakes in Marie Stopes!” he encouraged an attentive audience.

All across Europe now, Luca said, people are waking up and starting to realise how barbaric and totalitarian these ideologies are and he encouraged everyone present to play their part in bringing Ireland back to life!

In closing, Luca referred to the words of St Thomas More, written in the Tower of London, when he stuck resolutely to the principles of his conscience. He encouraged everyone to be equally as courageous, and to re-discover their commitment to the fight. He said that the Pro-Life Vote needed to have an effect on the European Elections and that we had a chance to show Enda Kenny that the Irish people never wanted, and still don’t want, a law that legalises the murder of innocent human beings. He therefore, encouraged all of us to vote pro life!

Carolyn from Gianna Care: Speaking at the National Convention for Life

“We offer free ultrasounds, and our mothers can bring photos and videos home on a USB key ” Carolyn O’Meara tells the rapt audience of 800 plus at the National Convention for Life. “We put our first payment down on the ultrasound machine when we opened our doors and now thank God it’s fully paid for” she continued to loud applause.

A gorgeous mother to three small children herself, it’s easy to see why Carolyn leads what is possibly the most important crisis pregnancy outreach in Ireland. She cares about mothers and their babies; she wants to provide them with a better answer, and that comes across so strongly from the Convention stage, and, by the evidence of so many babies saved, at the clinic door.

Eight years ago Carolyn and some other volunteers from Youth Defence began standing outside the abortion referral agency, Marie Stopes, hoping to reach out to talk to girls who were considering having an abortion. Literature and phone numbers would be exchanged, and sometimes, if the girls were willing, they would come to a local café to sit and talk about their options. It quickly became apparent, however, that something more private than the café was needed and Gianna Care came into being, in order to provide a more organised and stable way of providing this vital outreach.

Carolyn opened the Convention with a heart-warming account of the work that Gianna Care is now providing, day in and day out. She showed the audience images of the rented premises where they operate, which is located close to the abortion referral agency but also at enough of a distance to be away from the “danger zone” as Carolyn calls it.

Most of the girls going to Marie Stopes are initially going for a “scan”. Unfortunately, the ultrasound is always turned away and the sound turned off so girls never see their babies or hear the heartbeat. As noted, Gianna Care offers free ultrasounds, and also supplies the girls with a USB stick with saved stills and videos of their babies. It makes a huge difference.

Carolyn also spoke about how the group has built up its body of volunteers so that they can be outside the clinic for as many business hours as possible. Every service they offer is based on the willingness of volunteers and the financial support of donors so that they can be provided free of charge. This includes leaflets, free medical advice, free ultrasound and free counselling, support, home visits, baby clothes and equipment and more.

As Carolyn told the huge crowd, “our goal at Gianna Care is to identify the barrier preventing the woman from continuing her pregnancy, and either completely removing this barrier, or minimising it as much as possible”.

Recently the group has developed a new website and a “Positivity Card” to assist girls in fighting off the negative feelings when they are away from their support system in Gianna Care. Another recent and innovative idea, has been the development of the only post-abortion support group in the country. It is open to men and women affected by abortion, who wish to speak about their experiences with other people who have gone through similar situations and is facilitated by Gianna Care volunteers. “It is a sad but privileged position in which I have learned so much” Carolyn said.

Carolyn also spoke about future plans, which in the short-term include trying to promote Gianna Care services through social media and advertising, and purchasing a medical printer so that, as well as the USB key, girls can take an image of their baby away with them. Long-term there are ambitious plans to open accommodation for girls in these situations.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Carolyn showed a few snapshots of babies who have been saved directly through contacts outside the Marie Stopes clinics – 34 babies in 2013, 10 so far this year that they know of and 6 more babies due to be born before the end of May! Perhaps the most sincere and heartfelt applause of the day was offered up for those wonderful numbers, as people were reminded that it is for each of these little babies that we take the stand against abortion.

And Carolyn’s good news did not end there. Abortion agents Marie Stopes has recently closed one extra day a week – and one of their busiest days at that! To close, Carolyn called to mind again the theme of the Convention – rebuild, renew, revive. She reminded the crowd that it is always important to take a moment and reflect on the work that we do, and to re-energise ourselves so that we can give our all to this lifesaving work.

Josiah Presley: Speaking at the National Convention for Life

An 18-year old abortion survivor brought a packed Convention for Life in Dublin to its feet with a moving and inspiring testimony on forgiveness and the value of every human life. 

Josiah Presley, originally from South Korea but now living in Oklahoma, said that when he first found out that his mother had wanted to abort him he was devastated and felt deep hurt and anger towards his birth parents.   

However, he said, the power of God's love meant he realised that he was "important to God and that every child was important to God" and this led him to forgive his parents whom he said he would like to meet some day. 
"I wonder if they ever think about me," he said. "I would like to tell them why I have forgiven them".  
He explained that he may have been one of twins and that the abortionist most likely did not realise one baby had survived the curettage abortion, which has left Josiah with a disabled arm. 
Josiah said that he had survived the abortion by the grace of God and said that adoption was a real solution to the issue of crisis pregnancy. He had been adopted by a loving family in Oklohoma who have now adopted 10 children with a disability. 
He shared a family photograph with the Convention, he said, "to tell you two things: first of for all my siblings, for their birth parents abortion would have been the convenient and easy thing solution, but if they hadn't chosen life my family would not be what it is today." 
Secondly, he said, "to let you know that there are families out there willing and wanting to adopt  the least of these. I was saved from an untimely death and I was  placed in a home where I was loved and cared for and learned about the love of Christ, my admiration and my love for my parents has grown over the years as I've seen
their day in and day out sacrifice for me and my siblings."
Urging the 900-plus attendees at the Convention to "fight the good fight" Josiah said that he was speaking out against abortion - and speaking out with a solution, because adoption was always a better answer than abortion. 
"Abortion is the destruction of beautiful innocent human beings who are important, who do have value, and who are loved," he said to a sustained standing ovation. 
Clare Molloy of Youth Defence said that his story was a huge inspiration to a new generation of pro-life activists and had the power to bring a great many people to the pro-life position. 
"We were so grateful to Josiah for his powerful, humbling testimony," she said. "It should be seen by everyone and we'll be sharing it as widely as we can. His courage and grace are truly inspiring." 

Luis Losada: Speaking at the National Convention for Life

Last month, Spain made history as the first European country to reverse legislation which had made abortion on demand lawful. Luis Losada, a well-known Spanish journalist told the National Convention for Life that the success was due to massive public engagement, driving demand for change, and a determination to hold politicians to account.

In 2010 a law had been proposed by the Socialist government to provide for abortion on demand and the pro-life movement mobilised the Spanish public against this proposal. This resulted in a gigantic demonstration in Madrid in which 2 million people took part, and which some Irish pro-life activists were lucky enough to have attended. The law was passed regardless, but as Luis outlined in his speech, this was totally against social demand, the constitution and even the socialist party’s own program for government.

Instead of giving up, the pro-life community took heart from the fact that public opinion was on their side and as Luis said, the new rallying cry became “The streets are ours!” The massive public engagement meant that the opposition party made over-turning this law part of their election programme, and that party subsequently took power in late 2011.. Because of the nature of Spanish law-making, getting a law passed is a lengthy process and the Spanish pro-life community now turned their attention to putting pressure on the government to follow through on their promise and to hurry up with the legal change. This was done by mounting a series of high profile public campaigns.

The message was powerful, because it spelled out that every day the legislation was delayed 303 unborn babies lost their lives to abortion. “We said, we cannot wait” Luis Losada said, “each day we wait [for the law to be overturned], 303 people are dead.”

This message was also featured on a series of billboards, which directly criticised the government for not tackling the abortion issue – something that had never, ever been seen in the country before and which caused the sitting government a lot of embarrassment and anger. The billboards featured photos of sitting government Minister of Justice saying ’303 children killed is too much, please change the abortion law now’.

Other campaigns involved a “Clear the abortion law” campaign around the country and on social media; holding regular demonstrations whatever the size; handing out baby scans to members of parliament; engaging with the media; holding rallies and exhibitions; holding think-tanks with the scientific community; participating in debates and constantly lobbying politicians. The key to success, he said, was to make sure the pro-life presence was ever-presen

“The governments will never do anything if they don’t feel the pressure of society” Luis told the crowd, to sustained applause.

Luis also advised Irish delegates not to be discouraged and to engage with public opinion and political figures whenever possible and to be free of restrictive political or economic ties. The model used in Spain, right down to the attractive branding of Spanish groups Derecho a Vivir and Hatze Oir , is very similar to that of Irish pro-life groups Youth Defence and the Life Institute and the packed National Convention for Life took great hope and inspiration from Mr Losada’s testimony.

The pro-life movement in Spain is now working towards a total ban on abortion and Luis himself is working with the Citizen Go initiative which mobilises public support for pro-life initiatives. As Luis’ said: “The streets are ours!” Viva Espana.

At a Glance


April, 12, 2014

What's this about?

The National Convention for Life was held in the PRINTWORKS CONFERENCE, DUBLIN CASTLE, on Saturday, 12 April 2014.