PLC "thrilled" with massive turnout for Unite for Life vigil
Mickey Harte: "Is there any life more vulnerable than that of an innocent young unborn child?"
The Pro Life Campaign (PLC) has said it is "absolutely thrilled" with the turnout for today's Unite for Life Vigil which drew a crowd of well over 20,000.
"On a bitterly cold January afternoon when it was predicted that the weather would keep people away, Irish people turned out in many thousands to register their opposition to abortion legislation," PLC Legal Advisor Caroline Simons said.
Ms Simons told the crowd that claims by the Government that abortion was needed to treat threatened suicide in pregnancy had been "completely demolished at last week’s Oireachtas hearings on abortion".
She said: "The psychiatrists who addressed the hearings were unanimous that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal ideation.
"There is no evidence whatever that suggests that abortion reduces the mental health risks of unwanted or mistimed pregnancy. But there is evidence that abortion increases the risk of future mental health problems for a significant number of women.
"If the Government legislates for abortion on the basis of the X case, this legislation would cure no woman of suicidal ideation, but it would put some women's lives at risk."
The international pro-choice movement, she said, viewed Ireland as a ‘jewel in the crown’ of the pro-life movement.
"We are a beacon for the pro-life movement everywhere. Let’s fight to keep that light shining," she said.
Click below to view photographs of the Vigil[nggallery id=7]
Speaking at the Vigil, Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte said that "Quite frankly I am most concerned that this Government proposes to legislate for abortion".
"Ireland is almost unique in the Western world in looking out for, and fully protecting, two patients during a pregnancy – a mother and her unborn child," he said. "We are here to oppose the unjust targeting of even one unborn child's life in circumstances that have nothing to do with genuine life-saving medical interventions".
Referring to the high standard of medical care in pregnancy, he said this high standard needs to "remain enshrined in our laws not undermined or diluted in any way".
He continued: "No individual or nation is perfect – we all have our faults and failings but when it comes to life before birth, we have a value system, an ethos which we should proudly share with the rest of the world.
And he urged those at the vigil to "keep in touch with Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore and let them know repeatedly that the middle ground of Irish opinion opposes what they are proposing.
Watch a two and a half minute video from the vigil
Access RTÉ news reports on the evening of the Vigil here