Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?



Eighth Amendment: The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

New Amendment: Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.

The Church used its influence in 1983 to engineer the eighth amendment to the Irish Constitution which in a sweep banned all abortion by equalising the right to life of the mother with her unborn baby at all stages of pregnancy.  It had to be watered down a bit over the years.  For example, abortion can be granted on mental health grounds if there is a risk of suicide which amounts to abortion on demand in practice for there is no such thing as a woman with a simple mental health problem or suicidal feeling that is solved by abortion. No mental health issue is that simple and straightforward.  This rule came in in 2013 with the Protection of Human Life During Pregnancy Act.

The eighth amendment was eliminated as a result of a landslide referendum in 2018.  The result is the liberalisation of abortion.  While repealing the eighth did not directly legalise abortion it took away protection for the child in the womb.  The people choose to let women kill their babies in the name of choice (abortion is not murder but many yes voters do think it is!).  They say they made it about the women's choice but in fact it is about their own.  They chose to give the choice. Most who voted yes voted for a woman alone to have the choice and said they always knew that yes was right.

Many voted yes on the grounds that Ireland exported abortion so a yes vote only means it will be doing itself what it has Britain and other countries doing.  Against this it is argued that Irish law does permit women to travel for abortion but it does not follow that this makes the law responsible for abortion.  It is not about permitting or even endorsing abortion.   It is about a tolerance that it justified by the fact that it makes no sense to start interrogating women who are going abroad to see if they are looking for an abortion overseas.  That is not workable and too much of an invasion of privacy.  As this tolerance is justified by it being a waste of time to police a million women over a few thousand who will be having an abortion and also by the fact that the women will lie and still have their abortions is justified the right word?  No.  The tolerance only happens because it has to not because it is justified.  Calling it justified is passive aggressive.  Why?

If it is the woman's body and she has the right to do what she wishes or needs to do then how can a man have a say? It is logic. It is none of a spouse's business if you want your tonsils out for fun.

If you say capital punishment is murder but you want to give the state a vote allowing it to inflict it as it is its choice

A lot of pro-choice people say they regard abortion is immoral but they are besotted with the notion: "I have my opinion and you have yours. I am entitled to mine and you to yours."  The answer is that it is not about opinions.  It is not about you or me.  It is about what is right and sensible.

The referendum made the people the legislators, the ones who were giving babies in the womb the same protections as tumours.  Animals in Ireland apart from rats, mice, foxes, mink and grey squirrels, have more protection than babies in the womb.

The Catholic Church takes in federal money and then discriminates against those who need an early abortion for important medical reasons. Women should let friends, family members, and employers know that they do not wish to be taken to a Catholic-affiliated hospital under any circumstances. Women must work to change public policy so that Catholic discrimination ends and the financial support for it ends as well. The Church admits that even if abortion saved lives it would still ban it. Do you really want people with that attitude looking after you? 

Legal rights to abortion are not all that matters. We will not be living in a country that accepts women until we accept abortion as a human right and a moral good for it is the woman's body. I am appalled at how most yes voters said they agree and yet we still have appeals from them to make abortion "rare" in the South. In effect they are saying, "restrict abortion and let those who are not looked after go to the UK and have their abortion." Jim Wells compares abortion to the Nazi holocaust. This is hate speech. We need to remember that pro life rubbish makes women feel like murderers and is it any wonder if some of them contemplate suicide or punish themselves? What is the point of telling protesters to keep a distance from abortion clinics when hate speech is tolerated? Love the sinner and hate the sin is sheer nonsense for almost always it is about what somebody does to somebody else - ie something that is not your business. Actually, treating the pregnancy matter as a baby will only traumatise the mother. It would be a failure to support her. Doctrines such as that babies need to be forgiven for their sin and baptised do not help either. What kind of God judges somebody who believes they know they do right? Even God does not have the right to override a conscience. And in fact abortion does not hurt him so he should butt out too.

I agree with Dawkins that Christianity is not truly a good religion and statements such as that providing abortion rights makes you a killer and a Herod are not acceptable and prove what he says. In the aftermath of the historic and stunning referendum result the next step needs to be giving women who have a foetus removed the right to prosecute anybody who says such things. Pro life have caused many suicides by making women feel they murdered their children.


In the wake of the abolition of the eighth, here are some predictions:

Prediction one: Abortion will be more liberalised in the Republic in a year or two.

Prediction two: The GP service framework will fail and abortion clinics will have to come in.

Prediction three: The new wording in the constitution is problematic and case law will have to understand it a different way than from what we think. The wording is, “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies.” The may is significant - it does not require the law to regulate.  Even without it and if it read "Provision will be made" I'd see that as only saying that doctors have a legal duty of care to abortion clients. It does not say that abortion in itself is the laws business. In fact, there are many who feel that abortion is a private matter and thus governments need to butt out as their business is public order not private morality.

Prediction four: It makes no sense to ban euthanasia - you choosing when to die -  when you let parents decide to have an unborn baby euthanasied for it is going to die anyway.  Even if the slippery slope is not created that does not change the fact that it should be.   It can and might happen. 

Prediction five: It is argued by many that abortion is to be legalised because women are doing it anyway and we need to be sure they are safe in their own country. From that it follows that the pro-life who ignore this argument are being callous.  Thus increasing anger towards pro-life can be expected,


Take abortion.  If it is taking an innocent human life then what about the mother's right to not let her body be used to keep a baby alive that she does not want?  The right to life is no good without a right to decide for your own body.  Abortion then in this light would seem to be as bad as it is good and thus not a moral matter.  It is obvious you have the right to disconnect your body even from a friend even if he needs to stay connected to stay alive when you didn't promise to keep him alive.  Even if it is for a week you still have the right to cut off the life support.  Abortion is defined as the direct killing of a baby in the womb.  But if the intention is to cut off life support then what other way can it be done?  This is a case where the killing is the cutting off and thus it cannot be murder.

Another issue is that abortion at an early stage is not really abortion at all for the pregnancy matter is really a seed.  While eggs and zygotes are seen as seeds it is more complicated than that.  A seed in reality is more than a cell or couple of cells.  It is a pretty advanced and complicated entity.

And another, abortion of a baby which has barely any brain developed is not abortion at all.  The abortion of a baby that is going to die in the womb anyway is not abortion either.  It is euthanasia.  It would be irrational to ban euthanasia with your consent and then to allow the euthanasia of a dying baby in the womb who cannot consent.


Exit polls indicated that around 90 per cent of voters aged 18 to 24 voted Yes.   It is vital that we remember most YES voters voted because they always knew that it is the woman's body and thus the woman has the right to choose. That needs to be respected. Also, not all No voters are anti-abortion - they just didn't think change was necessary or they viewed the proposed laws as unsuitable. The twelve week abortion on request proposal put many of them off.  We can be sure the real number of supporters of abortion rights is far far higher than the 66.40% for yes. The new wording for the constitution does not clearly give the government the right to interfere with abortion or limit it. I read it as saying it is the governments job to let the woman choose and make sure her medical care is up to standard. For the government to impose limits on abortion is the government recognising the woman's right to choose what happens to her body and then denying it. It cannot be had both ways.


Many found the cheering of the YES side at Dublin Castle distasteful when the YES victory was announced.  I didn't find the cheering bad at all. Women have a legal right to an abortion but what about their social right? Women suffer from bigots who think women who have abortions are murderers. The yes vote has won but women are still being demonised by social pressure if they want an abortion or need one. It is high time a law was brought in to protect women from hate speech. The right of a woman to her reputation matters not the opinion of a person who thinks she killed or tortured her unborn baby. Its a conflict of rights with freedom of speech but it is plain her right not to be harassed or put in a cold house is what matters.  The reality is that a person who thinks a woman should be free to have an abortion in a time of crisis is talking nonsense.  Ideally a woman should be able to choose without pressure and there is a risk that a woman feeling pressured by life to "choose" abortion is going to regret it.  It needs to be a well-thought out choice for many.


The Catholic faith engineered the 8th Amendment in the Irish Constitution which sought to ban abortion by declaring mother and unborn baby as having the same right to life.  Oddly enough the Amendment protects unborn babies from abortion but does not care if a baby is tortured by some sadist in the womb. This is a clear example of how the Church is about virtue signalling and fake compassion. And saying mother and unborn baby have an equal right to life is bizarre when the foetus has only been conceived say nine weeks ago! Debating can be a tactic for getting people to take seriously views that are unfit for consideration such as that! It is a no-brainer that the law has no right to ever make any abortion illegal as it is not a public order matter. Even if abortion is immoral that does not mean it must be made illegal.

Religion, especially Christianity, says that without the right to life no other right matters or exists. But what about animals? Theologians and philosophers say animals do not have a right to life but they do have a right to be free from suffering. Contradictions galore! If animals have no right to life then it must be morally neutral or even good to torment them. If unborn babies have no right to life then the Church should urge those who believe this to torment them if they wish to.  For religion to say that "Without the right to life no other right matters or exists" applies only to humans is advocating the killing of animals as murder. If you think you murder by killing an animal it will be the lamb today and the toddler tomorrow.


Emer O’Toole: Science and sociology are on the side of pro-choice
That Ireland considers a blastocyst to have moral equivalency with a woman is evidence of deeply rooted sexism that ignores inconvenient truths

I’m 14. I’m in religion class. We are having a “debate” about abortion, but there is no pro-choice side. Instead, each group takes its turn to give reasons as to why abortion is always wrong. Pre-internet, our information comes from propaganda we’ve been handed by anti-abortion fanatics at a stall in Galway city. At one point, a girl reads a poem from one of the leaflets, in which a foetus speaks to the “mammy” who is aborting it. One verse goes something like this:

“Help me, Mammy,

They’re tearing me apart,

Gaye Edwards at the launch of the Amnesty International Ireland report ‘She Is Not a Criminal’, in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish TimesEamonn McCann: Are there signs of a ‘pro-life’ group influence in HSE document?

Pro-choice ... members of the Bolivian feminist group ‘Mujeres Creando’ (‘Women Creating’) dressed as nuns protest outside the Cathedral of La Paz ahead of the recent visit of Pope Francis. Photograph: EPA/ABI Handout Why the reluctance to prosecute self-declared procurers of abortion?

Anti-abortion campaigners protesting in Dublin. Photograph: Nick BradshawOrgan harvest trade underlines inhuman violence of abortion

My little hands, my little feet,

My baby face, my baby heart”

Roughly one in 12 Irish women of reproductive age have had an abortion. That day, however, I had no concern for women. I went home and explained to my mother that abortion is murder because the foetus is a person too.

Many Irish people I discuss abortion with believe aborted embryos and foetuses to be sensate and sentient. They believe that the foetus can feel pain and can think. This misconception is unsurprising: with religious control of much our education system we are propagandised at school; further, pro-choice activists don’t take sufficient time to explain the science around embryonic and foetal development.

The overwhelming consensus in the scientific community is that foetal pain is very unlikely until the third trimester of pregnancy. A comprehensive 2005 meta-study by the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded this. It is the official position of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which in 2013 urged legislators to remember that “sound health policy is best based on scientific fact and evidence-based medicine”. A 2010 report from the UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists concludes that “the lack of cortical connections before 24 weeks, therefore, implies that pain is not possible until after 24 weeks . . . Furthermore, there is good evidence that the foetus is sedated by the physical environment of the womb and usually does not awaken before birth.”

A more accessible 2007 report from the UK House of Commons science and technology committee (described by Ben Goldacre as a “masterclass in spotting fallacious science”) says the same.

Abortion thresholds

There are a handful of reputable scientists, such as Dr Kanwaljeet Anand, who believe that foetal pain may develop from 18 weeks. His research is often quoted by American conservatives who want to lower abortion thresholds.

However, in Anand’s own words, the “issue of foetal pain does not have much relevance for abortion, since most abortions are performed before the foetus is capable of experiencing pain”.

Those of us who recognise the urgency of repealing the Eighth Amendment need to dispel the myth of the sensate and sentient foetus from the Irish abortion debate. Articles such as Colm O’Gorman’s excellent piece in the Irish Independent do the important work of explaining that our abortion law violates women’s human rights. But if people believe that the procedure involves the painful death of a frightened little human, then this is difficult to understand. We must explain that the best scientific evidence tells us that the foetus does not suffer.

The right decision

The anti-abortion lobby uses individual anecdotes to argue that women regret their abortions, while rigorous studies say that more than 95 per cent feel it was the right decision. Further, emotional harm after an abortion is strongly correlated with social stigma and lack of support: prejudice that harms women who have had abortions. Four thousand Irish women choose to terminate pregnancies every year. I believe they know what’s best for them. Demonstrably, the anti-abortion lobby does not respect or care about women.

And so they shift attention to the embryo or foetus, ascribing it sentience, the capacity for pain, and ultimately, human rights on par with the woman carrying it. When they do this, I’ve often heard pro-choice activists reply that “the foetus isn’t a person”. But that’s not enough. We have to take the time to explain why ascribing the foetus equivalence with the thinking, feeling human carrying it is a fallacy.

Some people believe that life begins at conception, that God plants a soul in every zygote the moment two gametes meet. This makes the morning-after pill murder; it makes stem-cell research murder; it means that God wastes a lot of souls, seeing as about 30 per cent of zygotes don’t implant and a further 30 per cent are lost before the pregnancy is discovered. People are entitled to their beliefs, but they’re not entitled to dictate women’s rights based on them. Our current legislation, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, protects the life of the unborn from implantation. That Ireland considers a blastocyst to have moral equivalency with a woman or girl is evidence of deeply rooted sexism.

In the wake of last month’s damning Amnesty International report, last year’s UN Human Right’s Committee Report, as well as the catastrophic failure of this Government’s 2013 legislation, under which, already, a suicidal teenage rape victim was forced to carry to term, it is hard to believe anyone could fail to recognise the need to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Yet, this month, 8,000 people attended an anti-abortion lobby in Dublin. As activists for women’s rights, we’re operating in a climate of historically inscribed prejudice and political cowardice. We need to be ready to engage at every level of the debate. The scientific and sociological evidence is on our side. Learn it. Use it. Free Ireland of this national shame.