Up to 2,000 people took part in the March for Life in Dublin on Saturday and called on the Irish government to address the abortion rate and do more to promote alternatives to abortion.
Eilís Mulroy of the Pro Life Campaign said the government had to stop keeping women in the dark about positive alternatives to abortion.
“In the first three years since the new abortion law was introduced, 20,718 Irish abortions have taken place. This is a national tragedy that demands urgent action to ensure that women contemplating abortion are fully informed about positive alternatives prior to any abortion happening,” she said.
An independent review into abortion services is currently underway led by Dr Catherine Conlon, Assistant Professor of Social Studies at Trinity College Dublin, four years after the country’s abortion laws were liberalised in the 2018 referendum on the Eighth Amendment. The review is due to be completed by the end of the year.
Those who took part in the March for Life have said alternatives to abortion should be included in the review.
In her address to the rally, politician Carol Nolan TD said: “There is absolutely no excusing the way the Government is excluding the pro-life movement from the three-year review process. It is wholly unacceptable for the Minister for Health to repeatedly meet with pro-abortion groups for their views on what should happen as part of the review, while refusing to meet with any pro-life representatives.”
Another speaker, Dr Brendan Crowley, told the rally: “The new abortion law forces doctors to engage in non-evidenced based practices which consistently end the life of one patient and are often very harmful to the woman.” He said that freedom of conscience protections for healthcare workers “need to be strengthened not weakened.”
Former UCD Students’ Union President, Katie Ascough, said those running the country think the best woman facing an unplanned pregnancy can be offered are counsellors who facilitate abortion.