An update on the abortion wars from Ireland to Latin America

By Jonathon Van Maren

In the Republic of Ireland, the news has gone from bad to worse. From the Iona Institute:

Minister Simon Harris has now a more fleshed out version of the upcoming abortion law and it is even worse than the previous the more bare-bones heads of legislation published a few months ago.

The new General Scheme contains three significant changes: it narrows the scope of conscientious objection, it gives a more limited definition of viability post-birth, and it extends the demarcation of ‘fatal foetal abnormality’ for several weeks past birth…

Viability, in the old scheme, was defined as the point in a pregnancy at which the foetus is “capable of sustained survival outside the uterus” (Head 1). In the new definition it is the point at which the foetus is “capable of survival outside the uterus without extraordinary life-sustaining measures.” This means that abortion will be allowed even when the foetus could survive outside the womb with the help of extraordinary life-sustaining measures. In other words, the new scheme makes it even easier than was extended to abort a child with a life-limiting condition.

With regard to fatal abnormality, the previous scheme allowed abortion where the condition “is likely to lead to the death of the foetus either before birth or shortly after birth” (Head 6). In the new scheme, “shortly after birth” is substituted with “within 28 days of birth”. This means that the expected fatality of the condition is now extended from birth to a month after birth, which is like saying that not only the children who are likely to die at birth, but even those who might otherwise live for a month, can be aborted. And note, the word is ‘likely’. What does ‘likely’ mean? Does it mean greater than 50pc, 70pc, 90pc? Who can make such a calculation?

Irish pro-lifers warned the public prior to the referendum that a “Yes” vote would be giving the politicians a blank check to decide what Ireland’s abortion regime would look like. The unheeded warnings are appearing sadly prescient.

In Canada, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has just announced that they will be covering the cost of the abortion pill as of September 1. The abortion pill, which consists of a two-drug combination that can be used to abort babies up until the ninth week of pregnancy, is now being covered at least partially by every Canadian province. Abortion activists have been pushing these dangerous pills for a long time due to the fact that abortion is not easily accessible in many places in Canada.

In Latin America, abortion activists are being frustrated by an apparently unexpected complication to their plans: The refusal of many medical professionals to be involved with abortion. From 50.50, a publication on “gender, sexuality, and social justice”:

Women’s rights to legal abortion have increased in Latin America – but so have campaigns and policies for medical staff to be able to ‘conscientiously object’ and refuse to participate in these procedures.

“We didn’t see it coming,” said feminist activist Lilián Abracinskas in Uruguay, a secular country where abortion, same-sex marriage and the marijuana market were each legalised in the last decade.

Abracinskas told 50.50 that many people assumed conscientious objection provisions “would have no impact” on services in the country. “We really never discussed it, and then it became a problem,” she said.

“Conscientious objection is a serious barrier” to women’s access to services in Chile, where a 2017 law relaxed some restrictions on abortion, added sociologist and sexual and reproductive rights advocate Claudia Dides…

The use of ‘conscientious objection’ arguments is common in both Uruguay and Chile. Available estimates suggest that at least one out of three gynecologists in these countries are objectors, and even more in some areas.

In several cities and clinics, 50.50 has learned, there are no doctors who do not object, forcing women to travel and some to struggle to access their recently-won rights – hitting the poorest women hardest. In Argentina, meanwhile, women’s rights advocates fear new efforts to widen the scope of ‘conscientious objection’ if the country passes historic abortion rights reforms, expected this August.

Conscientious objection is now being presented as a threat to abortion rights that must be eliminated—when pre-born children lose their right to life, the loss of other rights are always sure to follow. Around the world, abortion activists are seeking to force the collaboration and compliance with their agenda. In countries like Italy, up to 70% of medical professionals are conscientious objectors to abortion, and activists from Latin America to Ireland are seeking to pre-empt such developments in their own nations.

In the United States, where the abortion industry is in full panic mode with the resignation of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court, activists are warning that the pro-life movement has already been incredibly successful in limiting the availability of abortion across the country:

The threats to abortion come in the form of state legislation designed to hamper access – through restrictions on methods and providers – as well as a dwindling number of physical facilities. Currently, there are seven states with only one abortion clinic each, and the last facility in Kentucky is only being kept open by a judge’s order. Ninety per cent of counties in the United States – home to 40 per cent of the female population – have no clinical facilities, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive health issues.

As always, the fight for the precious lives of pre-born children continues from the halls of power to the streets. Please remember to keep the pro-life movement in your prayers.


For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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