Following Ireland’s abortion ban repeal, will Northern Ireland follow?

By June 1, 2018

Ireland (MNN) — It’s been a week since Ireland voted to overturn the nation’s abortion ban. The results were surprisingly overwhelming for the majority-Catholic population, with 66.4 percent voting to repeal the abortion ban.

For those committed to pro-life ethics in Ireland, it was a sad day as women and men celebrated their “right” to kill unwanted, unborn babies.

Tom Lothamer with Life Matters Worldwide says, “I think the thing that struck me the most…was the fact that these people, as I might have mentioned earlier, it was like they won the lottery and they were so excited and happy. I’m thinking about that, watching these people celebrate, and they’re celebrating the fact that now they can kill babies and still be within the law.”

Now, the world is waiting to see how this ruling in Ireland could potentially affect Northern Ireland’s abortion ban in most cases, which is still in place.

“One of the things that has actually been spoken about was the pressure that will be on the British Prime Minister to allow this same type of ruling to happen in Northern Ireland,” Lothamer explains. “So our prayer is that the Prime Minister will have the courage and the conviction…not to let that happen.”

Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. While the UK allows abortions within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, Belfast has maintained its own tight restrictions on abortions similar to Dublin pre-referendum.

According to Bloomberg, the UK Supreme Court will rule next week on whether or not Northern Ireland should be brought in-line with the rest of the UK and lift its strict abortion bans. The Supreme Court’s decision will reportedly come down to whether or not Northern Ireland’s abortion law is a violation of human rights.

In a nation where 78 percent of the population claims to be Catholic Christian, how could 66 percent of voters push for abortion? While there are many factors that played into last Friday’s vote in Ireland, one factor could be a lack in the Church — both Catholic and Evangelical — to discuss pro-life issues and why God values all human life.

Lothamer says this should be a wake-up call to the global Body of Christ. “We cannot, in a sense, curse the darkness. Those of us who are on the pro-life side in Ireland and around the world, we’ve just got to step up our game. We have to become more convicted about the saving of babies and developing pregnancy ministries. The Church [needs] to really get involved in this, in standing for life.”

At the same time, Lothamer emphasizes it is important to “show our convictions with mercy and compassion and kindness just like the Lord would do.”

So how can we as believers stand for life in practical ways?

“First of all, we have to speak life into other people all around us. It could be the clerk at the grocery store, your neighbor, and so forth. Have a deep conviction that all people are made in the image of God and because of that, God expects us to uphold the sanctity of life and to help those who have great needs — whether it be in pregnancy or any other particular issues related to life.

“Then also, [we can be] supporting to the people of Ireland in prayer, that they will have wisdom on how to respond to this in a very positive way, actually reaching out to help more and more women who are facing unplanned pregnancies and, of course, men as well.”

Lothamer also encourages Christians to remember that while this recent news in the pro-life world is distressing, there are also many positive steps being taken to protect the lives of unborn babies.

“The pro-life movement is not dead. The pro-life movement is very active. We are seeing many, many wonderful things happening in this country, and maybe even not too much around the corner, the overturning of Roe vs Wade. So we should not be all sad. We should be thanking God for what is happening.”

Ultimately, if the Church is not speaking life into the culture through a holistic presentation of the Gospel, the culture is never going to change.

“The main thing that is going to change anyone’s life is the Gospel…. In our pregnancy centers and of course through our churches, to our neighborhoods, to our community, to those that we come across, to our families, [we can] really be sharing the Gospel, helping people to know that true life comes not only in being alive, but knowing Jesus as Savior. I think that the Gospel is a very important part of the pro-life movement.”

Click here to get pro-life resources with Life Matters Worldwide and learn more about their ministry!

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