The Oireachtas committee on repealing Ireland’s constitutional protections for unborn children had focused minds ahead of this year’s Pro Life Campaign annual conference, according to a PLC spokesperson who said those at the attendance had left feeling “very buoyed up”.
“I think the fact that there was such a great attendance at this time of the year particularly shows that people are really focusing on the issue,” Cora Sherlock told The Irish Catholic, explaining that “their minds are focused because of the Oireachtas committee and because there is so much talk about it, with the report coming out later this month”.
“I think people came here today wanting to find out how they could get involved and I think they went away very buoyed up – that was very clear,” she added.
The day’s two main speakers had complemented each other particularly well, she said, with the UK’s David Alton mapping out Britain’s abortion experience.
“I think a very important point of his speech is the fact that back in the 1967 act abortion was presented as something restrictive, and that idea we expect to happen in Ireland as well,” she said.
“We expect whatever proposal is put to the people will be presented as something restrictive, but it won’t be restrictive because there isn’t any such thing. He was there to really put flesh on the bones of that idea and to really show the history of what’s happened in the UK.”
In contrast, she said, former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson effectively used her talk to bring people into an abortion clinic.
“That’s really what she did, as one person put it to me, and it was very effective,” Ms Sherlock said.
“It was something that you wouldn’t forget, for one thing, and something that would make you go away and work very hard to make sure that something like that doesn’t end up happening in Ireland, because her talk highlighted the inhumanity and the brutality of what abortion means to the baby.”
Mrs Johnson also gave an insightful picture of how the care and wellbeing of women can be disregarded in such clinics, she said, adding: “She talked about how people working in abortion clinics become desensitised over time to what they’re doing – that there’s a very flippant attitude to human life that we don’t expect and we’re not used to in Ireland.”
“So I think between the two of them they gave a very good analysis and a very good presentation of what abortion means in reality which is what we in the Pro Life Campaign are trying to get across, and what people on the Oireachtas committee are completely ignoring,” she said.
The day will have helped not merely inform people, but also give them opportunities to network and to plan to work together on the ground, she says, with there being opportunities for people to sign up to various initatives, one real highlight being the launch of the ‘Love Both’ app.
Available from both the Apple Store and the Play Store, the app, she says, “will help people stay in contact, find out more about what the PLC is doing, and generally just really be very involved online in pro life activity over the next few months”.