How foreign money is being used to campaign against our abortion law

How foreign money is being used to campaign against our abortion law

Our pro-life law is under tremendous domestic and international pressure, writes David Quinn

Three big abortion stories broke last weekend. The first was the revelation that pro-abortion organisations in Ireland are receiving large amounts of foreign funding that is to be used for the express purpose of campaigning to repeal the protection our Constitution offers to unborn children.

The second was ‘live-tweeting’ by two Irish women who said they were travelling to England so one of them could have an abortion.

The third was the news that Marie Stopes International, which performs 70,000 abortions in Britain each year, some of them on Irish women, has had to suspend some of its abortions because of health and safety concerns.

The funding for the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment has come from an organisation called the Open Society Foundation which was established and is financed by one of the world’s richest men, billionaire George Soros.

Good causes

Some of the money goes to good causes. But Soros also favours the liberalisation of drug laws, laws against prostitution and laws against abortion.

We know that Soros is funding Irish pro-choice organisations because documents from his organisation were leaked. The organisations are Amnesty International Ireland, the Abortion Rights Campaign and the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).

Amnesty admitted to the Irish Independent that it has received €137,000 from Soros over two years. The IFPA said it has received $150,000. The Abortion Rights Campaign has not yet said how much it has received.

The leaked documents explained why Soros’ foundation has awarded the funds. It said it was so that the three organisations could “work collectively on a campaign to repeal Ireland’s constitutional amendment granting equal rights to an implanted embryo as a pregnant woman”.

The hope is that “a win could impact on other strongly Catholic countries, such as Poland, and provide much needed proof that change is possible, even in highly conservative places”.

Organisations in Ireland are not permitted by law to receive foreign money for political purposes. It is hard to see how money that has been provided for the explicit purpose of running a campaign to repeal our pro-life laws is not political. It will be interesting to see what the Charities Regulator has to say about the matter.

Reaction to the Soros funding has been muted. It would be an entirely different story if it turned out that pro-life organisations were receiving foreign money for the express purpose of defending the present law.

Then there would be an outcry with politicians and commentators decrying foreign interference in Irish affairs. But we are well used by now to these double standards.

Another story at the weekend overshadowed the Soros story, namely the one about the two women live-tweeting on social media about their journey to England for an alleged abortion. They tweeted under the account @twowomentravel.

They received lots of public support from various celebrities to the point where their Twitter account received a large following in a short time. There is something very disturbing about celebrities celebrating the destruction of an unborn human life.

More ominous was the fact that Health Minister and erstwhile supporter of the Eighth Amendment, the pro-life amendment, Simon Harris, tweeted in support of the women.

One comment from him said: “Thanks to @TwoWomenTravel for telling story of reality which faces many.”

Minister Harris could have said many things other than this. He could, for example, have suggested the alternatives to abortion that exist.

Previously our Health Minister has said he favours repeal of the Eighth Amendment so that women with terminally ill unborn babies can have them aborted. But if he objects in general to women having to go to England to have abortions, does he now believe we should have a highly permissive abortion law here in Ireland along the lines that exists in the UK? That would appear to be the logic of it.

This would also seem to pre-empt the outcome of the upcoming Citizen’s Assembly that is to meet in the autumn to consider the possibility of an abortion referendum. With one senior Minister after another declaring their support for abortion, it will be a miracle if the Assembly does not recommend a referendum.

Medical standards

The third story involving abortion is that of the abortion clinics which are run by the organisation Marie Stopes International. It should, like the Soros story, be bigger than it is. If medical standards at these clinics are not up to scratch (leaving aside the awfulness of abortion itself), and if it is not clear if every woman turning up for an abortion is giving her full consent to it, that is disastrous.

When the occasional, non-publicly-funded, and very small pro-life counselling agency here has been found to be using high pressure tactics on women considering an abortion, there has been a hue and cry.

They have been condemned as “rogue” agencies.

When a huge organisation like Marie Stopes has been found to have poor standards it should be much more concerning.

It is indicative of the fact that medical standards across the abortion industry are often low and they are often hard to fix because the clinics find it hard to recruit well-trained medical staff who want to work in the industry.

The common thread running through these stories, the first two in particular, is that our pro-life law is under tremendous domestic and international pressure. Very big guns are being brought to bear against it.

This, however, is not a reason to despair. It is rather a reason to redouble our efforts to ensure that Ireland remains one of the only countries in Western world that gives full and equal rights to every human being, both born and unborn.