When I was eleven years old, my mom was pregnant with my baby brother. With four sisters and one brother, I was so excited to meet our newest addition. Baby Brian was born on the 6th March 2010. He was born with Edwards Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 18, and he lived for a few precious hours.
I remember being in that hospital room with my parents and siblings, each of us holding our brother while we could. I remember telling myself that I would do anything if he would live. I tried my best to will the life back into him but it wasn’t to be. There’s no way to describe the loss we felt as a family but there’s also no way to describe the love we felt. Baby Brian didn’t live long, but for the time he was alive he was loved more than anyone else on this planet!
It was in that hospital room that I learned what it means to be pro-life. Back then, I didn’t know what abortion was but as I grew older I learned about it and I couldn’t believe that something so barbaric would be legal in our world.
Last year I really took action and did my best to get out and try and tell people what it means to be pro-life. Canvassing and knocking on doors gave me the confidence to tell people why I’m pro-life. But I’ve heard both sides of the story and I know what people have been through.
I’m pro-life because who is to say that one person is less valuable than another, simply because they have a disability? Who is to say that someone is more entitled to life than someone else? The right to life is a fundamental Human Right and it was disappointing to see our government, particularly Simon Harris and Leo Varadkar, campaigning against Human Rights, especially given that both of them were elected after making promises that they were pro-life!
Being pro-life as young person is tough, believe me. I’ve been called disgusting and horrible for being outspoken about abortion, but what’s so bad and horrible about saving lives? Because that’s what’s going on here. Lives are being taken. People with disabilities are being discriminated against and it’s not acceptable. My generation will not take our foot off the pedal in campaigning for change.
I understand that there are difficult circumstances and people find themselves not knowing what to do. Their instinct is to turn to abortion. Why is it that people turn to abortion? It is a failure by our government and the governments before us because they have neglected the women of this country. Abortion is not healthcare.
We need to foster a culture of support and make resources and services available to women who are in a difficult situations. We need to create a pro-life culture in which women (and men) are supported all the way through their pregnancies.
I am so ashamed of Simon Harris and Leo Varadkar. They have focused so much of their attention on stripping unborn babies of their constitutional rights. Astonishingly, Minister Harris, during the campaign, even went so far as to say that “The Oireachtas can do nothing to help these women without constitutional change” – Minister for Health Simon Harris (36th Amendment to the Constitution Bill 2018, Second Stage, 27th March 2018).
This was untrue. The Eighth Amendment did not stand in the way of helping women. Where is his investment in perinatal hospice care? Where is his investment in counselling services for women who’ve suffered bereavements during pregnancy? The Eighth Amendment never prevented him from implementing these measures and the Pro Life Campaign was constantly campaigning for this.
Us pro-life students will never give up. Abortion discriminates, but Human Rights don’t change – they don’t go away, and we will not go away either. We will forever campaign for Ireland to once again recognise, in our constitution, the Right to Life, Article Three of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.