An outspoken pro-life advocate is encouraging others with the same convictions to not be “silenced” in the face of intimidation or bullying.
21-year-old student Gavin Boyne is urging the pro-life community to be resilient in the face of criticism after he received online abuse and a death threat for sharing his views.
“I’m a little bit surprised considering how long it’s been since the referendum. It’s been over a year since the referendum and I really would have thought things would have calmed down. But apparently not,” the philosophy student told The Irish Catholic.
The slew of abusive comments on Twitter which included a desire for him to have been aborted, as well as revealing false information about his personal life, came in response to an Irish Times opinion piece he wrote about the future of a pro-life Ireland.
“There’s just been uproar, so I think it must have really struck a nerve or two,” Mr Boyne said, adding that online trolls have “no actual argument” against his claims which is why they “resort to ad hominem attacks and the attempted character assassination”.
While the backlash Mr Boyne received was from pro-choice supporters, he was eager to point out that this behaviour doesn’t reflect the community at large.
“I’ve even had a few pro-choice people in my Twitter comments actually saying this isn’t on. So fair play to them – obviously it’s not the majority.
He added that the pro-life community shouldn’t be dissuaded from expressing their strongly-held beliefs even if it is met with backlash.
“If you have been verbally or physically assaulted that isn’t okay and it isn’t acceptable. If you have been defamed, sue. If you have received death threats, get the police involved. We may have lost the referendum but that doesn’t mean that we’ve lost our dignity or the fact that we ought to be treated with respect,” he said.
“The reason why tensions are so high is because at the end of the day what all of this boils down to is a fight between life or death, and I mean that quite literally. We can’t afford to be silenced by fears of threats, because the day our voice goes silent is the day we’ve really lost.”