The week before the General Election, Fine Gael gave a written commitment to the Pro-Life Campaign stating it is “opposed to the legalisation of abortion” and “Fine Gael is opposed to research conducted on human embryos, and favours alternative stem cell research that does not involve human embryos such as adult stem cell and umbilical cord research.” The Fine Gael statement also gave a commitment that “women in pregnancy will receive whatever treatments are necessary to safeguard their lives, and that the duty of care to preserve the life of the baby will also be upheld.”
Now that they are in coalition with Labour, Fine Gael must be firmly encouraged to hold to their commitments. The Fine Gael commitment to pro-life values reflects the view of the majority as evidenced by the latest Red C poll showing 68% of the Irish public support constitutional protection for the unborn.
The Labour Party, on the other hand, is still relying uncritically on the increasingly outdated X case decision allowing abortion right up to birth, which heard no medical evidence and which has been over taken by the ever-growing balance of medical research showing negative consequences of abortion for women.
The Pro Life Campaign also acknowledges the significance of the written commitment it received from Fianna Fáil.
Starting over a year ago, the Pro Life Campaign reached out to involve not only its supporters but the wider pro-life community by means of an intensive nationwide billboard, newspaper advertising, online and leafleting campaign urging voters to only vote for candidates and parties willing to give a public commitment to protect life. The campaign also included an email and physical postcard campaign to election candidates and party leaders. The valuable pro-life commitments received from both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are a tribute to the thousands of people whether involved in formal politics or as committed citizens who are prepared to work hard and speak out in defence of life.
The challenge now is to stay focussed to ensure that those in Government who favour legislation allowing abortion and embryo-destructive research don’t succeed. We have a positive message to bring to the decision-making process - our new Government has a golden opportunity now to make Ireland a centre of excellence for ethical stem cell research that does not involve the destruction of human embryos, and to consolidate Ireland's ranking as world-leader in safety for women in pregnancy, by taking on board the studies showing the negative effects of abortion for women, and breaking through the ‘pro-choice’ denial of the harm and heartbreak abortion involves for many women and the injustice of the unborn children's lives taken.