DUBLIN, Ireland (CNA) — Thousands of people attended a large pro-life rally in Dublin to oppose attempts to force abortion on Ireland by changing its laws.
Organizers said the July 2 “All Ireland Rally for Life” was “hugely successful” and serves as a warning to the political party Fine Gael that the Labour Party’s plans to legalize abortion in Ireland are “unacceptable to the majority of Irish people.”
Speakers called on Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to keep his promise that his party would be opposed to the legalization of abortion, according to rally co-sponsor Youth Defence.
The European Court of Human Rights in December ruled that Ireland’s abortion ban breached the rights of a woman who had to leave the country in order to procure an abortion. Fine Gael has set up an expert group to examine the judgment.
The “rush” by Ireland’s Labour Party to call for abortion legislation after the ruling hurt their performance in the 2011 elections, Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute told the crowd.
She said that pro-lifers will not accept a review committee that is “stacked against the unborn child” or ignores “the evidence that clearly shows that abortion is never medically necessary.”
Carolyn Johnston of Youth Defence said Irish pro-lifers demand that the government “listen to the pro-life majority who say ‘Yes to life’ and ‘No to abortion.’”
“Enda Kenny needs to tell the European Court not to interfere in the right of the sovereign people to decide Ireland’s pro-life laws,” Johnston said.
Bernadette Smyth, the director of rally co-host Precious Life, said that Ireland’s protection of life was a light to the world and that pro-life people had united to ensure that politicians opposed the legalization of abortion.
Dana Rosemary Scallon, the singer and former member of Parliment, also addressed the crowd.
“Our Constitution belongs to the people. It does not belong to the Dáil — the majority of people in this country do not want legalized abortion in Ireland,” she said, according to the Irish Times.
“Europe has no right to force abortion on the people of this country.”
Participants in the rally, including Bishop Séamus Hegarty of Derry, began their march from the Garden of Remembrance and ended at the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish Parliament. They carried signs saying “Keep Ireland Abortion Free” and “Protect Life.” Some signs of babies were captioned “Abortion? We can live without it.”
Official police figures said about 8,000 people attended the rally, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children reports. Several hundred counterdemonstrators who support abortion protested the event.