Despite the largest pro-life rally ever seen in Ireland and barely containable division within his own party, Enda Kenny, the Irish Taoiseach, is pressing ahead with a whipped vote on a bill that will effectively usher-in abortion on demand.
While opposition mounts within the Oireachtas and outside on the streets, Enda Kenny has reiterated his intention to whip the vote, despite abortion being a clear case for individual conscience. Consequently, the Taoiseach has sowed dissent and division within his party, with numerous Fine Gael TD’s and Senators pledging to defy the party whip and vote against the government bill. In spite of this, Kenny has made it clear that whatever his backbenchers may think on the morality of killing pre-born babies, he expects them “to act and vote in accordance with the decisions of the party.”
The pursuing of a whipped vote, expected for next month, prompted the largest pro-life demonstration ever seen in Ireland, with over 40,000 people taking to the streets of Dublin under the banner ‘pro-women, pro-baby, pro-life.’ Among the aims of the rally was to seize back the term ‘pro-life’ which has been used by the government as cover for the bill, which permits abortion on request due to health concerns of the mother: exactly the same pretext used in the UK 45 years ago.
Among the health concerns that can be cited as justification are suicidal feelings; despite analysis from Irish obstetricians highlighting that abortion is not an effective treatment of suicidal tendencies. Consequently, Fine Gael Senator Healy Eames has accused the government of effectively “permitting abortion on a threat of suicide without any sound psychiatric basis.” Furthermore, the bill places no time limits on abortion, a constraint typically included in even the most permissive nations.
Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, Luca Volontè stated: “It is far better to earn party loyalty than to demand it. By whipping this vote, many Fine Gael politicians are being coerced into putting aside their conscience and their belief in the rights of the unborn in favour of party unity. When the vote occurs, I would hope politicians from all sides of the debate will be permitted to express their true opinions on this matter of life and death without having to fear political retribution from a party machine.”