A huge pro-life crowd at the Rally for Life in Belfast Oct. 18 [Photo by Eric Scheidler]
On Saturday October 18, members of the Pro-Life Action League joined thousands of pro-lifers in Belfast, Northern Ireland for a Rally for Life, calling on the Parliament in Westminster not to impose abortion on the province.
The Rally at the beautiful Stormont building, seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly, was organized by Bernie Smyth of Precious Life, Northern Ireland’s most active and effective pro-life group. Buses came from all across Northern Ireland, plus several from the Republic of Ireland.
Speakers Call for Northern Ireland To Remain Abortion Free
“Pastor to the Unborn” Ed Martin, a pro-life activist from Jacksonville, Florida with close ties to the pro-life movement in Ireland, offered the opening prayer. Representatives from all the major parties of Northern Ireland spoke next, with the exception of Sinn Fein, which indicated its support in a letter to Precious Life.
Bernie Smyth introduces Pastor Ed Martin [Photo by Eric Scheidler]
Joe (left) and Eric Scheidler speak at the Rally [Photo by April Scheidler]
The highlight of the politicians’ talks was that by the Right Honorable Jeffrey Donaldson, a member of both Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly, who declared that he’s “pro-choice”—he favors the choice of the people of Northern Ireland not to allow abortion in their land.
Other notable speakers included John Smeaton of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, based in London, and Lynn Coles of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, as well as the League’s own Joe and Eric Scheidler. A Christian band provided interludes of live pro-life music throughout the program.
Joe thanked the pro-lifers of Northern Ireland for being a beacon of hope for pro-lifers in America, while offering warnings of the devastation that comes with legal abortion. Eric compared Parliament’s effort to impose abortion on Northern Ireland with Planned Parenthood’s effort to impose abortion on the people of the Fox Valley of Illinois in disregard of the will of the people, the law and the truth.
The large pro-life crowd, which included Joe’s wife Ann and Eric’s wife April, remained upbeat despite intermittent, sometimes heavy rain. Umbrellas were raised and lowered throughout the crowd several times during the mid-afternoon Rally.
Critical Vote in Parliament Comes Wednesday
On Wednesday, October 22, Parliament will consider an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 1990 which would extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. The move is opposed not only by all the major political parties and churches of Northern Ireland, but by the vast majority of the people. Some fear its passage would threaten the fragile peace process that has ended sectarian violence in recent years.
Pro-lifers of Northern Ireland listen to Rally speakers [Photo by Eric Scheidler]
For years pro-abortion activists in both Belfast and London have tried to force abortion on the people of Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (U.K.). Abortion has been legal elsewhere in the U.K. since Parliament passed the Abortion Act of 1967, which does not apply to Northern Ireland, which has its own criminal justice laws.
Several efforts to change the abortion law within Northern Ireland have failed in recent years, thanks to the efforts of Precious Life in mobilizing opposition from the overwhelmingly pro-life majority there, using methods learned from Joe Scheidler and his book, CLOSED.
Wednesday’s vote is critical, and Smyth has asked pro-lifers the world over to pray for a pro-life victory that will keep abortion out of Northern Ireland.
Links and Related Pages
- “Move to extend abortion to North may fail”—Irish Times, 10/20/2008
- “Campaigners at abortion rallies”—BBC News, 10/18/2008
- “Attempts to Impose Legal Abortion on Northern Ireland will Trigger Constitutional Crisis say MLAs”—LifeSite News, 10/8/2008
- “‘Last chance’ to legalise abortions in Northern Ireland”—The Observer, 10/19/2008
- Precious Life—Northern Ireland’s most active pro-life group
- “National Director Warns Ulster Activists: ‘Keep Abortion out of Ireland'”—Action News article on Joe Scheidler’s 2002 visit to Belfast