All fifteen politicians who voted against legalising abortion in the Republic of Ireland, in 2018, have kept their seats in the country’s general election.
In contrast, many of the country’s strident pro-abortion members of Ireland’s lower house, Dáil Éireann, lost their seats.
Pro-life candidates overcame redrawn constituency maps and, according to Gript, targeted abuse on social media to defy the predictions of pollsters, who forecast their seats would be in trouble over their views.
On Monday, it was confirmed that all fifteen had been reelected as Teachta Dála (TDs) with six candidates topping the polls for their constituencies.
Ahead of the election, Sinn Féin poured huge resources into an attempt to oust two pro-life candidates who resigned after the party adopted a pro-abortion stance, 2018 – after the two were reelected in 2016.
Carol Nolan and Peadar Tóibín resigned from the party after initially being suspended for voting against legislation that saw the introduction of abortion, up to 12 weeks, to the Republic of Ireland.
At the time of her resignation Carol said: “I do not want to have any hand, act or part in bringing about the end to the life of an unborn child, the most vulnerable in our society… Every life is precious and every child deserves the chance to live.”
Announcing his own resignation, Peadar said he had been sidelined and blocked from “fully representing” his constituents over his pro-life views.
Despite Sinn Féin’s best attempts to unseat Carol and Peadar, both have been reelected again and have subsequently announced they will not help their previous party form a new Government.
Meanwhile, a number of outspoken pro-abortion TDs, from across the political spectrum, have lost their seats.
Deputy Kate O’Connell lost her Dublin Bay South seat after jeering pro-life TDs when amendments to the Abortion Bill were rejected, saying “We won, ye lost. Ye must be hurting”.
O’Connell has also claimed that the existence of abortion survivors were “fairytales,” prompting Melissa Ohden, who survived a saline abortion in 1977, to make a personal video for Kate asking her to apologise. She did not.
The former Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty, who abandoned her pro-life stance to become a leading government campaigner for repeal, lost her Meath East seat after describing the pro-life position as “born out of ignorance”.
The former Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor, who voted for the abortion bill in 2018, lost her seat to pro-life TD Cormac Devlin.
Fianna Fáil’s Lisa Chambers Fianna who claimed that abortion regret was a “makey-uppy thing” lost her seat in Mayo.
Fianna Fáil also lost Timmy Dooley in Clare. Dooley supported repeal of the 8th and voted against giving pain relief to babies in late-term abortion, despite new evidence showing babies may experience pain as early as 13 weeks.
The Socialist Party’s Ruth Coppinger, who is strongly opposed to help being offered outside abortion clinics and led an “abortion pill bus” around the country in 2015 and 2017, lost her Leinster House seat.
The results of the election has been a boost to pro-life campaigners in the country. A spokesperson for the Pro-Life Campaign, Denise Kelly welcomed the news as “truly uplifting”
She told the Iona Institute: “Some had their chances of re-election completely written off by the media, others had to overcome huge opposition within their parties because of their pro-life stance – all of them deserve our heartiest congratulations for standing up for life and prevailing.
“It is important to mention that other candidates were also elected who are solidly pro-life. Together, they have shown the leadership of the main political parties that the electorate appreciate people who stick to their principles and don’t waver under pressure”.
The results in Ireland mirror those seen in the UK, where Right To Life UK’s analysis revealed that, following the December 2019 election, the number of pro-life MPs has increased while the pro-abortion lobby has lost a large number of MPs.
The fifteen reelected pro-life TDs are:
- Mary Butler
- Seán Canney
- Michael Collins
- Michael Fitzmaurice
- Peter Fitzpatrick
- Noel Grealish
- Danny Healy-Rae
- Michael Healy-Rae
- Michael Lowry
- Marc Mac Sharry
- Mattie McGrath
- John McGuinness
- Carol Nolan
- Eamon O’Cuiv
- Peadar Tóibín